Related to: 'Coming of age classics'

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

Virago

The Dud Avocado

Elaine Dundy
Authors:
Elaine Dundy

'One of the funniest books I've ever read' - Gore Vidal*The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status on first publication and remains a timeless portrait of a woman hellbent on living. It is, as the Guardian observes, 'one of the best novels about growing up fast'.Sally Jay Gorce is a woman with a mission. It's the 1950s, she's young, and she's in Paris. Having dyed her hair pink, she wears evening dresses in the daytime and vows to go native in a way not even the natives can manage. Embarking on an educational programme that includes an affair with a married man (which fizzles out when she realises he's single and wants to marry her); nights in cabarets and jazz clubs in the company of assorted "citizens of the world"; an entanglement with a charming psychopath; and a bit part in a film financed by a famous matador. But an education like this doesn't come cheap. Will our heroine be forced back to the States to fulfill her destiny as a librarian, or can she keep up her whirlwind Parisian existence?*A champagne cocktail ... Rich, invigorating, and deceptively simple to the taste ... One falls for Sally Jay Gorce from a great height from the first sentence - ObserverAs delightful and delicate an examination of how it is to be twenty and in love and in Paris as I've ever read - Sunday TimesI had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm). - Groucho MarxBooks 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; 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

This crazy world whirled around her, men and women dwarfed by toys and puppets, where even the birds are mechanical and the few human figures went masked . . . She was in the night once 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 the home of her childhood, she is sent to live with relatives she has never met: gentle Aunt Margaret, mute since her wedding day; and her brothers, Francie and Finn. Brooding over all is Uncle Philip, who loves only the toys he makes in his workshop: clockwork roses and puppets that are life-size - and uncannily life-like.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

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

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
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

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!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 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

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

My Brilliant Career

Miles Franklin
Authors:
Miles Franklin

Trapped on her parents' farm in the hardscrabble Australian outback, sixteen-year-old Sybylla Melvyn loves the bush but not the toil it brings. She longs for refinement, and most of all she longs to achieve great things.Suddenly she falls under the gaze of wealthy, handsome Harry Beecham . . . and finds herself choosing between the conventional path of marriage and her plans for a 'brilliant career'.

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, Tipping the Velvet follows the glittering career of Nan King - oyster girl turned music-hall star turned rent boy turned East End 'tom'.

Virago

Complete Short Stories

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is finally being recognised as an important British author: one of great subtlety, great compassion and great depth - Sarah WatersElizabeth Taylor, highly acclaimed author of classic novels such as Angel, A Game of Hide and Seek and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, is also renowned for her powerful, acutely observed stories. Here for the first time, the stories - including some only recently rediscovered - are collected in one volume. From the awkward passions of lonely holiday-makers to the anticipation of three school friends preparing for their first dance, from the minor jealousies and triumphs of marriage to tales of outsiders struggling to adapt to the genteel English countryside, with a delicate, witty touch Elizabeth Taylor illuminates the nuances of ordinary lives.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

Slammerkin

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue
Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West

The 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.

Virago

Faces In The Water

Janet Frame
Authors:
Janet Frame

I was now an established citizen with little hope of returning across the frontier; I was in the crazy world, separated now by more than locked doors and barred windows from the people who called themselves sane.'When Janet Frame's doctor suggested that she write about her traumatic experiences in mental institutions in order to free herself from them, the result was Faces in the Water, a powerful and poignant novel. Istina Mavet descends through increasingly desolate wards, with the threat of leucotomy ever present. As she observes her fellow patients, long dismissed by hospital staff, with humour and compassion, she reveals her original and questing mind. This riveting novel became an international classic, translated into nine languages, and has also been used as a medical school text.

Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor
Virago

Invitation To The Waltz

Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

A diary for her innermost thoughts, a china ornament, a ten-shilling note, and a roll of flame-coloured silk for her first evening dress: these are the gifts Olivia Curtis receives for her seventeenth birthday. She anticipates her first dance, the greatest yet most terrifying event of her restricted social life, with tremulous uncertainty and excitement. For her pretty, charming elder sister Kate, the dance is certain to be a triumph, but what will it be for shy, awkward Olivia?Exploring the daydreams and miseries attendant upon even the most innocent of social events, Rosamond Lehmann perfectly captures the emotions of a girl standing poised on the threshold of womanhood.

Virago

Life Mask

Emma Donoghue
Authors:
Emma Donoghue
Virago

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston