Vita Sackville-West - No Signposts In The Sea - Little, Brown Book Group

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No Signposts In The Sea

By Vita Sackville-West

  • Paperback
  • £9.99

* A haunting, elegiac tale of mature love and the complexities and compromises of intimate relationships.

Edmund Carr is at sea in more ways than one. An eminent journalist and self-made man, he has recently discovered that he has only a short time to live. Leaving his job on a Fleet Street paper, he takes a passage on a cruise ship where he knows that Laura, a beautiful and intelligent widow whom he secretly admires, will be a fellow passenger. Exhilarated by the distant vista of exotic islands never to be visited and his conversations with Laura, Edmund finds himself rethinking all his values.

A voyage on many levels, those long purposeless days at sea find Edumnd relinquishing the past as he discovers the joys and the pain of a love he is simultaneously determined to conceal.

Biographical Notes

Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962) was born and educated at Knole. She and her husband Harold Nicolson created the famous garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780860685784
  • Publication date: 31 Dec 1985
  • Page count: 160
  • Imprint: Virago
A moving and original book ... her fictional testament — Victoria Glendinning
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.

Abacus

Twopence Coloured

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyWest Kensington - grey area of rot, and caretaking, and cat-slinking basements. West Kensington - drab asylum for the driven and cast-off genteel!' Patrick Hamilton was acutely conscious that his third novel (first published in 1928) was longer and 'much grimmer' than his previous and well-received productions. Twopence Coloured is the story of nineteen-year-old Jackie Mortimer, who leaves Hove in search of a life on the London stage, only to become entangled in 'provincial theatre' and complex affairs of the heart with two brothers, Richard and Charles Gissing. The novel, unavailable for many years, is a gimlet-eyed portrait of the theatrical vocation, and fully exhibits Hamilton's celebrated gift for conjuring London - the 'vast, thronged, unknown, hooting, electric-lit, dark-rumbling metropolis.

Virago

The Seventh Cross

Anna Seghers
Authors:
Anna Seghers

A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, never before published in the UK, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance. 'At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event' JOSEPH KANON, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin'A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight' Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in WinterSeven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.'A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties' Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room'It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision' - Gunter GrassThe Seventh Cross was written by one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Her aim was to write, 'A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.' She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Virago

Marling Hall

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

'You read her, laughing, and want to do your best to protect her characters from any reality but their own' New York TimesMr Marling, of Marling Hall, has begun to accept - albeit reluctantly - that he will probably never be able to pass his wonderful old estate on to his children. The Second World War is bringing an end to so many things, but the Marlings carry on as best they can in the face of rationing and a shortage of domestic help. Into their world arrive Geoffrey Harvey and his sister Frances, who have been bombed out of their London home. Bohemian and sophisticated, they rent a local house, and it is not long before they begin to have an effect on their neighbours. Geoffrey begins to court Lettice, the Marlings' widowed daughter, but he finds he has rivals for her affections in dashing David Leslie and Captain Barclay. Observing everything and quietly keeping events on an even keel is the Marlings' sage old governess, Miss Bunting.'The novels are a delight, with touches of E. F. Benson, E. M. Delafield and P. G. Wodehouse' Independent on Sunday

Virago

Before Lunch

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.When Jack's widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond's son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man? First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell's much-loved classic series.

Virago

Northbridge Rectory

Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
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 Praise Singer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'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 MILLERMary 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 MANTELIn the story of the great lyric poet Simonides, Mary Renault brings alive a time in Greece when tyrants kept an unsteady rule and poetry, music, and royal patronage combined to produce a flowering of the arts. Born into a stern farming family on the island of Keos, Simonides escapes his harsh childhood through a lucky apprenticeship with a renowned Ionian singer. As they travel through 5th century B.C. Greece, Simonides learns not only how to play the kithara and compose poetry, but also how to navigate the shifting alliances surrounding his rich patrons. He is witness to the Persian invasion of Ionia, to the decadent reign of the Samian pirate king Polykrates, and to the fall of the Pisistratids in the Athenian court. Along the way, he encounters artists, statesmen, athletes, thinkers, and lovers, including the likes of Pythagoras and Aischylos. Using the singer's unique perspective, Renault combines her vibrant imagination and her formidable knowledge of history to establish a sweeping, resilient vision of a golden century.'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 Last of the Wine

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault
Virago

Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst

Vita Sackville-West, Sarah Raven
Authors:
Vita Sackville-West, Sarah Raven

From 1946 to 1957, Vita Sackville-West, the poet, bestselling author of All Passion Spent and maker of Sissinghurst, wrote a weekly column in the Observer describing her life at Sissinghurst, showing her to be one of the most visionary horticulturalists of the twentieth-century.With wonderful additions by Sarah Raven, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst draws on this extraordinary archive, revealing Vita's most loved flowers, as well as offering practical advice for gardeners. Often funny and completely accessibly written with colour and originality, it also describes details of the trials and tribulations of crafting a place of beauty and elegance.Sissinghurst has gone on to become one of the most visited and inspirational gardens in the world and this marvellous book, illustrated with drawings and original photographs throughout, shows us how it was created and how gardeners everywhere can use some of the ideas from both Sarah Raven and Vita Sackville-West.

Virago

The Charioteer

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'The Charioteer remains compelling both as a snapshot of a particular - and particularly fascinating - cultural moment, and as a deeply romantic story of love fulfilled against the odds. It has all those qualities that make Mary Renault so memorable as a novelist: craft, subtlety, intelligence, and a terrific natural sympathy with the intricacies of honour and desire' SARAH WATERS'An explosive and courageous book' SIMON RUSSELL BEALEFirst published in 1953, The Charioteer is a tender, intelligent coming-of-age novel and a bold, unapologetic portrayal of homosexuality that stands with Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar and James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room as a landmark work in gay literature.Injured at Dunkirk, Laurie Odell, a young corporal, is recovering at a rural veterans' hospital. There he meets Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly, and the men find solace in their covert friendship. Then Ralph Lanyon appears, a mentor from Laurie's schooldays. Through him, Laurie is drawn into a tight-knit circle of gay men for whom liaisons are fleeting and he is forced to choose between the ideals of a perfect friendship and the pleasures of experience.'Emotionally intelligent, beautifully written and deeply moving, it transcends categorisations' Telegraph

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

Challenge

Vita Sackville-West
Authors:
Vita Sackville-West

CHALLENGE was Vita Sackville-West's second novel. It was ready to go to print in 1920, but the aughor suddenly changed her mind. This was not because she lacked confidence in her work,but because of the scandal it would have caused. CHALLENGE remained unpublished for over fifty years.Vita's love affair with Violet Trefusis had reached its peak, and, eloping to France, they decided to abandon everything and everyone - children and husbands included - to spend the rest of their lives together. Although they returned to their families eventually, CHALLENGE remains a testament of their love, and was written during that period. The hero, Julian, might be a Byronic young Englishman, and Eve the woman he adores; it may be an adventure tale about a revolt on a Greek island. But really, this is a love story, written in the presence of the beloved, and inspired by her. And, as its title implies, the novel is a challenge to the society that condemned Vita and her lover.

Virago

The True Heart

Sylvia Townsend Warner
Authors:
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Hachette Audio

Of Mice And Men

John Steinbeck
Authors:
John Steinbeck

Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him ...

Virago

The Wedding Group

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
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

'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' - Elizabeth Bowen, author of The Heat of the DayIntelligent and haunting, with echoes of Brief Encounter, this is a love story by one of the best British writers of the 20th century.During summer games of hide and seek Harriet falls in love with Vesey and his elusive, teasing ways. When he goes to Oxford she cherishes his photograph and waits for a letter that never comes.Years pass and Harriet stifles her dreams; with a husband and daughter, she excels at respectability. But then Vesey reappears and her marriage seems to melt away. Harriet is older, it is much too late, but she is still in love with him.

Virago

Nightingale Wood

Stella Gibbons
Authors:
Stella Gibbons
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.