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    • ISBN:9780349008639
    • Publication date:03 May 2018
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Writers as Readers

A Celebration of Virago Modern Classics

  • Hardback
  • £14.99

A celebration of the Virago Modern Classics

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 Saunders

Writers 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.

Biographical Notes

Since Virago began in 1973, its mission has been to champion women's voices and bring them to the widest possible readership around the world. From fiction and politics to history and classic children's stories, our writers continue to win acclaim, break new ground and enrich the lives of readers.

The Virago Modern Classics list was launched in 1978 with Antonia White's Frost in May, and celebrates its fortieth birthday in 2018 with the publication of Writers as Readers and beautifully designed reissues of books including 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; Faces in the Water by Janet Frame.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349008622
  • Publication date: 03 May 2018
  • Page count: 432
  • Imprint: Virago
If you can't think of anything better than reading Angela Carter's writing on reading Charlotte Brontë, this book is for you. It's a complete delight - I couldn't put it down. You can devour it cover-to-cover or dip into it every now and then, when you need some inspiration. Luckily, it has it in abundance — The Pool
Abacus

Impromptu in Moribundia

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 HornbyImpromptu in Moribundia is a satirical fable about one (nameless) man's trespass (through a fantastical machine called the 'Asteradio') into a parallel universe on a far-off planet where the 'miserably dull affairs of England' are mirrored and transformed into an apparent idyll of bourgeois English imagination.Moribundia is the 'physical enactment of the stereotypes and myths of English middle-class culture and consciousness.' Yet the narrator comes to discover that he has stumbled among a people characterised by 'cupidity, ignorance, complacence, meanness, ugliness, short-sightedness, cowardice, credulity, hysteria and, when the occasion called for it . . . cruelty and blood-thirstiness.

Fleet

The Bus on Thursday

Shirley Barrett
Authors:
Shirley Barrett
Abacus

Gaslight

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

This classic Victorian thriller was first produced in 1935. Jack Manningham is slowly, deliberately driving his wife, Bella, insane. He has almost succeeded when help arrives in the form of a former detective, Rough, who believes Manningham to be a thief and murderer. Aided by Bella, Rough proves Manningham's true identity and finally Bella achieves a few moments of sweet revenge for the suffering inflicted on her.

Little, Brown US

The Traveling Feast

Rick Bass
Authors:
Rick Bass

On the Road meets Tuesdays with Morrie in this pilgrimage by "an American classic" (Newsweek) to thank his most important mentors through memorable meals and conversations"Some years later, George Plimpton offered to punch me in the nose," recounts Rick Bass, remembering fondly a conversation with the famed Paris Review editor in his office, in which Plimpton, who had been slugged by Archie Moore, offered to connect Bass to a "hoary genealogy" that would include Ali and Frazier. Lineage has always been important to Bass. Before the punch-that-could-have-been, there was his failed bid to become Eudora Welty's lawn boy, and his first meal with Jim Harrison, during which he could barely bring himself to speak. That supper would eventually inspire this book, Rick's years-long pilgrimage to thank his heroes, and to pass on their legacy of mentorship to the next generation.The poignancy of this journey of thanksgiving is intensified by the place in life at which Bass finds himself. He is nearing sixty, his daughters are now grown, and his wife of more than two decades, who accompanied him on that long-ago dinner with Jim Harrison, has called an end to their marriage. In the wake of this loss, Bass sets out, accompanied by two young writers, to recapture the fire, the hunger, that has faded from his life.The Traveling Feast is a book about meeting one's debts in two directions--sending gratitude to the old exemplars, and a few contemporaries, from Peter Matthiessen to David Sedaris and John Berger to Lorrie Moore, while paying it forward to the next generation of writers, believing in and supporting them as Bass was by his own heroes. Each chapter in this fruitful journey recalls the meeting, the meal, and the history--the writer of the past and of the now. From the disastrous pecan tart to the illegally transported elk meat to the photo op gone awry are many resonant moments. What emerges is a guide not only to writing well but to living well, to sucking out all the marrow of life, in Thoreau's immortal phrase. The Traveling Feast is a chronicling of the old ways, a cross-continent pilgrimage to show gratitude for a legacy of American literature and the writers who made it.

Virago

Promising Young Women

Caroline O'Donoghue
Authors:
Caroline O'Donoghue

SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS - NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR'So brilliant ... I highly recommend it' Dolly Alderton'I loved it. The writing is whipsmart and so witty' Marian KeyesJane Peters is an adrift twenty-something by day, and a world-weary agony aunt by night. But when an office party goes too far, Jane dissolves into the high-stakes world of being the Other Woman: a role she has the right advice for, but not the smarts to follow through on. What starts out as a drunken mistake quickly unravels as Jane discovers that sex and power go hand-in-hand, and that it's hard to keep your head when you've become someone else's dirty little secret. And soon, her friendships, her sanity and even her life are put into jeopardy... 'A future classic.' Jane Casey'Sharp, pithy and engaging' Irish Times'Brilliant' Elle'Deeply relatable and darkly comic ... It'll have you nodding with familiarity, thinking, laughing - and crying - as you race towards the end' Grazia'I loved Promising Young Women. It's like Bluebeard crossed with The Yellow Wallpaper neck-deep in zeitgeist. If Angela Carter was stuck in a soulless corporate job this would be the dark, delicious result' Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti

Constable

The Blood

E. S. Thomson
Authors:
E. S. Thomson

'Love evocative descriptions of Victorian London and brilliant plotting? Then grab a copy of this!' Rebecca Griffiths, author of The Primrose Pathx x xA world of secrets, murder and betrayal lie behind the London waterfront . . . Summoned to the riverside by the desperate, scribbled note of an old friend, Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain find themselves on board the seamen's floating hospital, an old hulk known only as The Blood, where prejudice, ambition and murder seethe beneath a veneer of medical respectability. On shore, a young woman, a known prostitute, is found drowned in a derelict boatyard. A man leaps to his death into the Thames, driven mad by poison and fear. The events are linked - but how? Courting danger in the opium dens and brothels of the waterfront, certain that the Blood lies at the heart of the puzzle, Jem and Will embark on a quest to uncover the truth. In a hunt that takes them from the dissecting tables of a private anatomy school to the squalor of the dock-side mortuary, they find themselves involved in a dark and terrible mystery. x x xPraise for E.S. Thomson'Meticulously researched and masterfully plotted, E.S. Thomson has written a complex, harrowing and highly enjoyable tale' Daily Express'Here's a tale of Victorian London to freeze your blood on a cold winter's night' Evening Telegraph'Jem Flockhart's London is vivid, pungent and perilous. The Blood takes you to places you will love to picture but be grateful you can't smell' Chris Brookmyre'E. S. Thompson's Jem Flockhart books are the best I've read in years. Jem is just my kind of heroine: scarred, smart, complex, and unapologetically queer' Kirsty Logan, author of The Gracekeepers'It's rare that a book is Gothic enough for me, but Beloved Poison is killing it. The blood, the bones, the crumbling hospital . . .' Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions'Jem Flockhart is a marvel . . . This vivid journey into the dark side of the human soul is a thoroughly engrossing tale' Mary Paulson Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker'Deliciously dark and vividly atmospheric, menace oozes from every page. Terrific for lovers of historical noir' Saga'A first class piece of historical crime writing' Big IssueA marvellous, vivid book ... immaculately researched and breathtakingly dark' Janet Ellis, author of The Butcher's Hook'[E.S. Thomson] absorbed us totally in the grimly fascinating world of floating hospital ship 'The Blood' moored downstream from London docks. Meticulously researched, you're guaranteed the 'feel' - if not the smell - of Victorian London' Roving Reviewer in the Nairnshire Telegraph

Hachette Books

I'll Have What She's Having

Erin Carlson
Authors:
Erin Carlson

In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron's New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron--who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it--ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members. Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron's fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail's Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless' Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing ... in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America's most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I'll Have What She's Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

Abacus

The Gorse Trilogy

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

Ernest Ralph Gorse's heartlessness and lack of scruple are matched only by the inventiveness and panache with which he swindles his victims. With great deftness and precision Hamilton exposes how his dupes' own naivete, snobbery or greed make them perfect targets. These three novels are shot through with the brooding menace and sense of bleak inevitability so characteristic of the author. There is also vivid satire and caustic humour. Gorse is thought to be based on the real-life murderer Neville Heath, hanged in 1946.

Abacus

Craven House

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Constable

Dark Asylum

E. S. Thomson
Authors:
E. S. Thomson

The lips had been darned closed with six long, black, stitches. Clumsily executed, they gave the face a crude deaths-head appearance, like a child's drawing scrawled upon a wall . . .1851, Angel Meadow Asylum. Dr Rutherford, principal physician to the insane, is found dead, his head bashed in, his ears cut off, his lips and eyes stitched closed. The police direct their attention towards Angel Meadow's inmates, but to Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain the crime is an act of calculated retribution, rather than of madness. To discover the truth Jem and Will must pursue the story through the darkest corners of the city - from the depths of a notorious rookery, to the sordid rooms of London's brothels, the gallows, the graveyard, the convict fleet and then back to the asylum. In a world where guilt and innocence, crime and atonement, madness and reason, are bounded by hypocrisy, ambition and betrayal, Jem and Will soon find themselves caught up in a web of dark secrets and hidden identities.

Orbit

The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Claire North
Authors:
Claire North

***WINNER OF THE WORLD FANTASY AWARD 2017******CLAIRE NORTH IS SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES / PFD YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD***My name is Hope Arden. I am the girl the world forgets.It started when I was sixteen years old. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit - you will never remember who I am.That makes my life tricky. It also makes me dangerous . . .The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of a girl no one remembers, yet her story will stay with you for ever.Praise for Claire North:'North's talent shines out' Sunday Times'Little short of a masterpiece' Independent'Poignant and intensely gripping' Guardian'Well-paced, brilliant and balanced' New York Times'Extraordinary . . . wildly impressive' Lucy Hughes-Hallett, BBC Radio 4'Terrific, smart and entertaining' Patrick Ness'Utterly readable, utterly believable and compelling . . . one of the fiction highlights of the decade' Judy Finnigan, Richard and Judy Book Club

Abacus

Hangover Square

Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton
Virago

The Birds And Other Stories

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

'How long he fought with them in the darkness he could not tell, but at last the beating of the wings about him lessened and then withdrew . . . 'A classic of alienation and horror, 'The Birds' was immortalised by Hitchcock in his celebrated film. The five other chilling stories in this collection echo a sense of dislocation and mock man's sense of dominance over the natural world. The mountain paradise of 'Monte Verità' promises immortality, but at a terrible price; a neglected wife haunts her husband in the form of an apple tree; a professional photographer steps out from behind the camera and into his subject's life; a date with a cinema usherette leads to a walk in the cemetery; and a jealous father finds a remedy when three's a crowd . . .

Virago

Don't Look Now And Other Stories

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

John and Laura have come to Venice to try and escape the pain of their young daughter's death. But when they encounter two old women who claim to have second sight, they find that instead of laying their ghosts to rest they become caught up in a train of increasingly strange and violent events.The four other haunting, evocative stories in this volume also explore deep fears and longings, secrets and desires: a lonely teacher who investigates a mysterious American couple, a young woman confronting her father's past, a party of pilgrims who meet disaster in Jerusalem and a scientist who harnesses the power of the mind to chilling effect.

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

Hachette Audio

The Man In The Wooden Hat

Jane Gardam
Authors:
Jane Gardam

'It's a cliche to compare novelists to Jane Austen, but in the case of Jane Gardam it happens to be true. Her diamond-like prose, her understanding of the human heart, her formal inventiveness and her sense of what it is to be alive - young, old, lonely, in love - never fades' Amanda Craig'Her work, like Sylvia Townsend Warner's, has that appealing combination of elegance, erudition and flinty wit' Patrick GaleFilth (Failed In London, Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions. But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering. Veneering has a Chinese wife and an adored son - and no difficulty whatsoever in demonstrating his emotions . . . How Elisabeth turns into Betty and whether she remains loyal to stolid Filth or is swept up by caddish Veneering, makes for a page-turning plot in a perfect novel which is full of surprises and revelations, as well as the humour and eccentricites for which Jane Gardam's writing is famous.

Virago

The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters

'There came the splash of water and the rub of heels as Mrs Barber stepped into the tub. After that there was a silence, broken only by the occasional echoey plink of drips from the tap... 'Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.'It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.

Abacus

Last Friends

Jane Gardam
Authors:
Jane Gardam

'It's a cliche to compare novelists to Jane Austen, but in the case of Jane Gardam it happens to be true. Her diamond-like prose, her understanding of the human heart, her formal inventiveness and her sense of what it is to be alive - young, old, lonely, in love - never fades' Amanda Craig'Her work, like Sylvia Townsend Warner's, has that appealing combination of elegance, erudition and flinty wit' Patrick Gale'Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers' Hilary MantelShortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize.Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat told with bristling tenderness and black humour the stories of that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Old Filth QC, and his clever, misunderstood wife Betty. Last Friends, the final volume of this trilogy, picks up with Terence Veneering, Filth's great rival in work and - though it was never spoken of - in love. Veneering's were not the usual beginnings of an establishment silk: the son of a Russian acrobat marooned in northeast England and a devoted local girl, he escapes the war to emerge in the Far East as a man of panache, success and fame. But, always, at the stuffy English Bar he is treated with suspicion: where did this blond, louche, brilliant Slav come from? Veneering, Filth and their friends tell a tale of love, friendship, grace, the bittersweet experiences of a now-forgotten Empire and the disappointments and consolations of age.

Virago

Rebecca

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .'Working as a lady's companion, our heroine's outlook is bleak until, on a trip to the south of France, she meets a handsome widower whose proposal takes her by surprise. She accepts but, whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is for ever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper Mrs Danvers . . . An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young woman consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

Virago

Frenchman's Creek

Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

The 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.