Rebecca West - The Thinking Reed - Little, Brown Book Group

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The Thinking Reed

By Rebecca West

  • Paperback
  • £6.99

With a new introduction by Victoria Glendinning, this is Rebecca West's most popular work of fiction

Isabelle is beautiful, immensely rich and a widow at the age of twenty-six. In 1928 she leaves America for Cannes and Paris in search of high society - and love. For though outwardly she has everything women dream of, inside she craves the peace of a lasting marriage. To find the kind of love she needs Isabelle must choose between three men: her violent, fascinating lover, the aristocrat Andre de Verviers; a reserved plantation owner from the Deep South, Laurence Vernon; and the eccentric millionaire Marc Sellafranque...

First published in 1936, this is Rebecca West's most popular work of fiction: at once a masterful portrayal of the brilliance and decadence of high society in the 1920s, and a poignant and compassionate portrait of one woman's life and loves.

Biographical Notes

Rebecca West (1892-1983) was born Cicily Isabel Fairfield, taking her pen name from an Ibsen play. A feminist and social reformer, she was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1959. Her only son, Anthony West, is the son of author H.G. Wells.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780860684985
  • Publication date: 24 May 1984
  • Page count: 448
  • Imprint: Virago
Virago

Jonah's Gourd Vine

Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston

With a new introduction by JESMYN WARD Born on the wrong side of the creek, John Buddy Pearson, the son of a slave, has come a long way since his shoeless days. With some schooling, a job and marriage to clever Lucy Potts, his fortunes are looking up. But, unable to resist the lure of women or a fight, he's forced to flee town or face life on the chain gang.John finds himself in Sanford, Florida, and sends for Lucy and the children. There, he discovers a talent for preaching, and, with the support of his wife, becomes pastor of Zion Hope Church, rousing his congregation with his fervent sermons. He is now a pillar of the community, respected and popular. Before long, though, he is praying for his own sins - for his powers of persuasion aren't limited to the pulpit - and the town won't stand for his philandering ways.Originally published in 1934, this is Zora Neale Hurston's first novel.

Virago

Small g: A Summer Idyll

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Completed just months before Patricia Highsmith's death in 1995, Small g explores the labyrinthine intricacies of passion, sexuality, and jealousy in a charming tale of love misdirected.'What is most remarkable in this novel is the empathy . . . with which Highsmith writes about gay men . . . one can imagine the small g existing, a piquant mixture of bohemianism and respectability, exactly as Highsmith describes it' Francis King, SpectatorAt the 'small g', a Zurich bar known for its not exclusively gay clientele, the lives of a small community are played out one summer.Rickie Markwalder is a designer whose lover Petey was brutally murdered. Rickie and his performing dog Lulu are regulars at the bar, as are vindictive Renate, a seamstress, and her teenage apprentice Luisa. Into their lives comes Teddie, impressionable and beautiful, and a catalyst for the series of events that will change everything.Patricia Highsmith's final novel is an intricate exploration of love and sexuality, the depths of spite and the triumph of human kindness. It is a work that, in the tradition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, shows us how bizarre and unpredictable love can be. Small g, in the words of her biographer Andrew Wilson, is an 'extended fairy tale suggesting that...happiness is precarious and...romance should be embraced.'

Virago

The Fox at the Manger

P. L. Travers
Authors:
P. L. Travers

For the first time since the war, the Christmas peal is ringing at St Paul's Cathedral. There is joy. There is new hope. It is Christmas Eve, the carol service has ended, and a woman with three small boys leaves the cathedral, the children swooping like pigeons. 'Why weren't there any wild animals at the crib? Haven't they got something to give?' asked one of the children.And I heard myself say, 'Yes, they have.'Was it true, what I told them? Did I dream it? Where it came from I do not know but I seemed to remember every word, just as if I had heard it . . .Outside the cathedral, the children are told the nativity story from a unique perspective: that of a fox. Despite the scorn of the other animals, he enters the stable to offer the child a gift that only he can give.

Virago

The Praise Singer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

The Bull from the Sea

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTEL'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERThe sequel to The King Must Die. The Bull from the Sea continues the story of the hero Theseus after his return from Crete.Having freed the city of Athens from the onerous tribute demanded by the ruler of Knossos - the sacrifice of noble youths and maidens to the appetite of the Labyrinth's monster - Theseus has returned home to find his father dead and himself the new king. But his adventures have only just begun: he still must confront the Amazons, capture their queen, Hippolyta, and face the tragic results of Phaedra's jealous rage. Piecing together the fragments of myth and using her deep understanding of the cultures reflected in these legends, Mary Renault has constructed an enthralling narrative of a time when heroes battled monsters and gods strode the earth.'There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' Sam Jordison, Guardian

Virago

The King Must Die

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

Virago

August Folly

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

It's August in the Barsetshire village of Worsted, and Richard Tebben, just down from Oxford, is contemplating the gloomy prospect of a long summer in the parental home. But the numerous and impossibly glamorous Dean family - exquisite Rachel, her capable husband and six of their nine brilliant children - have come for the holidays, and their hostess Mrs Palmer plans to rope everyone into performing in her disastrous annual play. Surrounded by the irrepressible Deans, Richard and his sister Margaret cannot help but have their minds broadened, spirits raised and hearts smitten.

Virago

The Charioteer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

Poor Cow

Nell Dunn
Authors:
Nell Dunn

Joy - also called Blossom, Sunshine and Blondie by the men in her life - walks down Fulham Broadway carrying her week-old baby, Jonny. She is twenty-one, with bleached hair, high suede shoes, and a head full of dreams. Her husband Tom is a thief and on the proceeds of a job they move to a luxury flat - 'the world was our oyster and we chose Ruislip'. Then Tom is sent to prison, leaving Joy and Jonny to move in with Auntie Emm. This is Joy's story: an exuberant, pink-lipsticked, tale of London life, love and young motherhood in the sixties...

Virago

The True Heart

Sylvia Townsend Warner
Authors:
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Virago

The Fountain Overflows

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West

Rose Aubrey is one of a family of four children. Their father, Piers, is the disgraced son of an Irish landowning family, a violent, noble and quite unscrupulous leader of popular causes. His Scottish wife, Clare, is an artist, a tower of strength, fanatically devoted to a musical future for her daughters. This is the story of their life in south London, a life threatened by Piers's streak of tragic folly which keeps them on the verge of financial ruin and social disgrace . . .'A book bursting with love and vitality' DAILY EXPRESS

Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West
Hachette Audio

Of Mice And Men

John Steinbeck
Authors:
John Steinbeck
Virago

The Wedding Group

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

First published in 1968, this quietly ironic exploration of the ways in which the parental mould is not easily broken, is one of Elizabeth Taylor's most ambitious novels.You know,' Midge began, and paused. She was rather taken aback, and could not at once think of anything to say. 'Perhaps there's nothing so dangerous as having led a sheltered life.'Cressy has grown up in a world of women, presided over by her eccentric, artistic grandfather Harry Bretton. Rebelling against the wholesome, organic values of her home life, Cressy decides to leave home in search of more ephemeral pleasures. Taking a job in an antiques shop, she meets David, a self-satisfied journalist, also looking for means of fleeing the family nest. But as Cressy cannot fend for herself and David is securely tied to his mother's apron strings, this act of escape for both of them proves a powerful form of bondage.

Virago

Memento Mori

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Unforgettably astounding and a joy to read, Memento Mori is considered by many to be the greatest novel by the wizardly Dame Muriel Spark. In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, "Remember you must die." Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.

Virago

A Game Of Hide And Seek

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

Nightingale Wood

Stella Gibbons
Authors:
Stella Gibbons
Virago

The Yellow Wallpaper And Selected Writings

Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Authors:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It is stripped off - the paper - in great patches . . . The colour is repellent . . . In the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so - I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about . . .'Based on the author's own experiences, 'The Yellow Wallpaper' is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the 'rest cure' prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind.Charlotte Perkins Gilman was America's leading feminist intellectual of the early twentieth century. In addition to her masterpiece 'The Yellow Wallpaper', this new edition includes a selection of her best short fiction and extracts from her autobiography.

Virago

The Birds And Other Stories

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier
Virago

Frenchman's Creek

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

A tale of love and adventure on the high seas from the internationally bestselling author of RebeccaThe Restoration Court knows Lady Dona St Columb to be ripe for any folly, any outrage that will alter the tedium of her days. But there is another, secret Dona who longs for freedom, honest love - and sweetness, even if it is spiced with danger. To escape the shallowness of court life, Dona retreats to Navron, her husband's remote Cornish estate. There, she seeks peace in its solitary woods and hidden creeks. But she finds instead a daring pirate, hunted by all Cornwall, a Frenchman who, like Dona, would gamble his life for a moment's joy. Together, they embark upon a quest rife with danger and glory, one which bestows upon Dona the ultimate choice: sacrifice her lover to certain death or risk her own life to save him.