Related to: 'Coming of age classics'

Virago

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her . . .When sixteen-year-old Janie is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before she finally meets the man of her dreams - who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds.'Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' - Zadie Smith Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

Fire from Heaven

Mary Renault
Authors:
Mary Renault

'The Alexander Trilogy contains some of Renault's finest writing. Lyrical, wise, compelling: the novels are a wonderful imaginative feat - Sarah WatersAlexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three, leaving behind an empire that stretched from Greece to India. Fire From Heaven tells the story of the years that shaped him. His mother, Olympias, and his father, King Philip of Macedon, fought each other for their son's loyalty, teaching Alexander politics and vengeance. His love for the youth Hephaistion taught him trust, while Aristotle's tutoring provoked his mind and fuelled his aspirations. Killing his first man in battle at the age of twelve and commanding Macedon's cavalry at eighteen, by the time his father is murdered, Alexander's skills have grown to match his fiery ambition.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West

'Spellbinding . . . Probably her best fiction' - Sunday TimesThe soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper's daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice - to leave him where he wishes to be, or to 'cure' him. It is Margaret who reveals a love so great that she can make the final sacrifice.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

Writers as Readers

Margaret Drabble | Beryl Bainbridge | Angela Carter | Maggie O'Farrell | Elizabeth Jane Howard | A. S. Byatt | Penelope Lively | Sarah Waters | Jonathan Coe | Diana Souhami | Jilly Cooper | Elizabeth Bowen | Mark Bostridge | Alexander McCall Smith | Sarah Dunant | Rachel Cooke | Zadie Smith | Anita Desai | Sophie Dahl | Clare Boylan | Paula McLain | Diana Athill | Marina Lewycka | Claire Messud | Michèle Roberts | Simon Russell Beale | Amanda Craig | Hilary Mantel | Elizabeth Taylor | Ali Smith | Linda Grant | Jane Gardam | Julie Burchill | Carmen Callil | Helen Oyeyemi | Marian Keyes | Nora Ephron | Sandi Toksvig | Kate SaundersWriters as Readers is a celebration of forty years of the Virago Modern Classics list. Started in 1978, Virago Modern Classics is dedicated to the rediscovery and championing of women writers, challenging the often narrow definition of 'classic'. In this collection, forty of the most significant writers of the past century tell us about one of their favourite writers by introducing books from the Virago Modern Classics collection, offering a glimpse at the treasures that have been published over the past four decades: they may be great works of literature; they may be wonderful period pieces; they may reveal particular aspects of women's lives; they may be classics of comedy, storytelling, diary-writing or autobiography.

Virago

The Collected Stories of Grace Paley

Grace Paley
Authors:
Grace Paley

'This is a collection full of energy and stunning, quiet innovation ... it spills over with contempt, raucous humour, sadness and generosity. In it, life and language are synonymous, and there is no higher praise. What a wonderful book' Ali SmithHere are all Grace Paley's classic stories in one volume. Paley's quirky, boisterous characters and rich use of language won her readers' hearts and secured her place as one of America's most accomplished short-story writers. Her stories are united by her signature interweaving of personal and political truths, her extraordinary capacity for empathy and her pointed depiction of the small and large events that make up daily life.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'If I really don't like somebody, I kill him . . . You remember Malcolm McRae, don't you?'Melinda Van Allen is beautiful, headstrong and sexy. Unfortunately for Vic Van Allen, she is his wife. Their love has soured, and Melinda takes pleasure in flaunting her many affairs to her husband. When one of her lovers is murdered, Vic hints to her latest conquest that he was responsible. As rumours spread about Vic's vicious streak, fiction and reality start to converge. It's only a matter of time before Vic really does have blood on his hands.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

Memento Mori

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Remember you must die.Dame Lettie Colston is the first of her circle to receive insinuating anonymous phone calls. Neither she, nor her friends, wish to be reminded of their mortality, and their geriatric feathers are thoroughly ruffled. As the caller's activities become more widespread, old secrets are dusted off, exposing post and present duplicities, self-deception and blackmail. Nobody is above suspicion.Witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Weather In The Streets

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

'A truly great book. It is beautifully written, shrewdly observed and deftly crafted, but the novel's real concern is what it means for a woman to live an authentic life' Elizabeth DayA chance encounter with the man who enchanted her as a teenager leads Olivia Curtis into to a forbidden love affair. He is now married, and Olivia's life changes to one of secret meetings, brief phone calls and snatched liaisons in anonymous hotel rooms.Years ahead of its time when first published in 1936, this subtle and powerful novel shocked it readers with its searing honesty and passionate portrayal of clandestine love.* Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Hachette Audio

Slammerkin

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue
Virago

Invitation To The Waltz

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

On her seventeenth birthday, Olivia Curtis receives: a diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first ball dress. She anticipates the dance, the greatest and most terrifying event of her life so far, with uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty sister Kate, it is sure to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?Rosamond Lehmann, one of the best-loved writers of the twentieth century, perfectly captures the emotions of a girl poised on the threshold of womanhood.

Virago

The River

Rumer Godden
Authors:
Rumer Godden

Harriet is caught between two worlds: her older sister is no longer a playmate, her brother is still a little boy. And the comforting rhythm of her Indian childhood - the sounds of the jute factory, the colourful festivals that accompany each season and the eternal ebb and flow of the river on its journey to the Bay of Bengal - is about to be shattered by a tragic event. Intense, vivid, and with a dark undertow, The River is a poignant portrait of the loss of a young girl's innocence.

Virago

Tipping The Velvet

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters

'Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.' A saucy, sensuous and multi-layered historical romance set in the 'roaring' 1890s, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King on her journey from Whitstable oyster-girl to music-hall star to cross-dressing rentboy to East End 'tom'.

Virago

My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin
Authors:
Miles Franklin
Virago

Complete Short Stories

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

A View Of The Harbour

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 In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for - and in on - each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory's best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

Frost In May

Antonia White
Authors:
Antonia White

'Frost in May is the unsurpassed novel of convent school life. This story of a clash between a determined young girl and an authoritarian regime is both perceptive and painfully emotional, convincing in every detail' - Hermione Lee, ObserverWith a new introduction by Tessa HadleyNanda Gray, the daughter of a Catholic convert, is nine when she is sent to the Convent of Five Wounds. Quick-witted, resilient and eager to please, she accepts this closed world where, with all the enthusiasm of the outsider, her desires and passions become only those the school permits. Her only deviation from total obedience is the passionate friendships she makes.Convent life is perfectly captured - the smell of beeswax and incense; the petty cruelties of the nuns; the eccentricities of Nanda's school friends.Books in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Magic Toyshop

Angela Carter
Authors:
Angela Carter

Cover design by Jacqueline Groag'This crazy world whirled about her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds were mechanical and the few human figures went masked . . . She was in the night again, and the doll was herself'One night Melanie walks through the garden in her mother's wedding dress. The next morning her world is shattered. Forced to leave her rural home, she is sent to London to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie, whose graceful music belies his clumsy nature, and the volatile Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the puppets he creates in his workshop, which are life-sized - and uncannily life-like.

Virago

Heartburn

Nora Ephron
Authors:
Nora Ephron

'I have bought more copies of this book to give to people, in a frenzy of enthusiasm, than any other . . . Heartburn is the perfect, bittersweet, sobbingly funny, all-too-true confessional novel' Nigella Lawson *Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel discovers that her husband is in love with another woman. The fact that this woman has a 'neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb' is no consolation. Food sometimes is, though, since Rachel is a cookery writer, and between trying to win Mark back and wishing him dead, she offers us some of her favourite recipes. Heartburn is a roller coaster of love, betrayal, loss and - most satisfyingly - revenge.This is Nora Ephron's (screenwriter of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle) roman a clef: 'I always thought during the pain of the marriage that one day it would make a funny book,' she once said - And it is!*PraiseI am not a great reader of comic novels, but Ephron's hilarious, recipe-strewn, semi-autobiographical account of a heavily pregnant woman whose husband has left her for a woman with a 'neck as long as an arm' is a treat. A perfect example of Ephron's gift for turning tragedy into comedy, Heartburn is evidence that revenge is indeed a dish best served cold - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the TrainHeartburn took the most miserable personal situation and made it hysterically funny, inspiring and utterly relatable to women of all ages. I became obsessed with its author and thinly disguised heroine. - Sali Hughes, Stylist'Nora Ephron's first novel is warm, witty and wise.' - Harper's Bazaar

Virago

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue

A love story. A gamble. A battle. Let the games begin.It's an era of looming war, and the erosion of freedom in the name of national security. A time of high art and big business, trashy spectacles and financial disasters. Celebrities are hounded by journalists, who serve up private passions alongside public crises. Marriages stretch or break, and so do friendships; political liaisons prove as dangerous as erotic ones. In Parliament, on stage, in the bedroom, at the race track, round the dinner table, old loyalties are wrenched by the winds of change. The World - as elite calls itself - is fighting to survive these chaotic times.

Virago

The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy
Authors:
Elaine Dundy