Chasm: A Weekend
By Dorothea Tanning
'Tanning's fictional debut unquestionably deserves to be recognised as a complete artistic success . . . Tanning has assembled all the ingredients necessary for an extraordinary drama of love and betrayal, jealousy and regret . . . told in confident, fluid prose highlighted by passages of hallucinatory beauty' GuardianIn the stark beauty of the desert, a mansion built by a madman rears its impudent architecture like an insult.The estate is called Windcote, 'its very name a masquerade', and its master, the odious Raoul Meridian, has invited a group of guests to spend a weekend, during the course of which they will find themselves driven by obsessions and confusions unlike any they've experienced before. Untouched by the fevers and failures around her is the indomitable child Destina, who will lead them into the heart of a mysterious canyon, where desire and cruelty forge an implacable truth.'It seems hardly fair that Dorothea Tanning, in a long, passionately inventive career as a painter, should have acquired as well the other harmony of prose, and that her passionate inventions as a writer should be so lovingly, so wisely resolved' Richard Howard
By Gayl Jones
'Corregidora is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women' JAMES BALDWIN'No novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this' TONI MORRISONUpon publication in 1975, Corregidora was hailed as a masterpiece, winning acclaim from writers including James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and John Updike. Exploring themes such as race, sexuality and the long repercussions of slavery, this powerful novel paved the way for Beloved and The Colour Purple. Now, this lost classic is published for a new generation of readers.Blues singer Ursa is consumed by her hatred of Corregidora, a nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her mother and grandmother. Charged with 'making generations' to bear witness to the abuse embodied in the family name, Ursa Corregidora finds herself unable to keep alive this legacy when she is made sterile in a violent fight with her husband. Haunted by the ghosts of a Brazilian plantation, pained by a present of lovelessness and despair, Ursa slowly and firmly strikes her own terms with womanhood.AS HEARD ON THE BACKLISTED PODCASTAlso new to the VMC list: Eva's Man and The Healing by Gayl Jones.'An American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the blood' JOHN UPDIKE'Gayl Jones's first novel, Corregidora (1975), was both shocking and ground-breaking in its probing of the psychological legacy of slavery and sexual ownership through the life of a Kentucky blues singer ... it predated Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Toni Morrison's Beloved, revealing an unfinished emancipation and the power of historical memory to shape lives. It also marked a shift in African-American literature that made women, and relationships between black people, central' MAYA JAGGI, Guardian'Corregidora's survey of trauma and overcoming has become even better and more relevant with the passage of time. It remains an indispensable point of entry into the tradition of African American writing that Gayl Jones reshaped and enriched' PAUL GILROY
By Niviaq Korneliussen
Named by the Guardian as one of the top ten modern Nordic fiction books'An edgy and unputdownable work of modern literature' Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti 'Ferocious, inventive and unlike anything I've read in a long time' Sophie Mackintosh, author of The Water Cure'A brave novel reminiscent of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting' Laline Paull, author of The Bees'A fizzing read about sex and identity set in Greenland' The Economist'A work of a strikingly modern sensibility' New Yorker'Transports us to a cold homeland where the blood runs hot' Guardian 'Tells stories as old as time, of who loves who and why, but the way of telling is as new as fresh snow, or daybreak after an all-night party' Stylist___________________________________________________________The island has run out of oxygen. The island is swollen. The island is rotten. The island has taken my beloved from me. The island is a Greenlander. It's the fault of the Greenlander.In Nuuk, Greenland . . .Fia breaks up with her long-term boyfriend and falls for Sara.Sara is in love with Ivik who holds a deep secret and is about to break promises. Ivik struggles with gender dysphoria as their friends become addicted to social media, listen to American pop music and get blind drunk in downtown bars and uptown house parties. Then there is Inuk, who also has something to hide - it will take him beyond his limits to madness, and question what it means to be a Greenlander, while Arnaq, the party queen, pulls the strings of manipulation, bringing a web of relationships to a shocking crescendo. Crimson weaves through restlessness, depression, love and queer experiences to tell the story of Greenlanders through a unique and challenging form. The original text was written and published in the Greenlandic language.
Can We All Be Feminists?
By June Eric-Udorie
"The intersectional feminist anthology we all need to read" (Bustle), edited by a remarkable and inspiring twenty-year-old activist who the BBC named one of 100 "inspirational and influential women" of 2016.'Not just a key read but a mandatory one' Stylist September Top Ten BooksWhy is it difficult for so many women to fully identify with the word "feminist"? How do our personal histories and identities affect our relationship to feminism? Why is intersectionality so important? Can a feminist movement that doesn't take other identities like race, religion, or socioeconomic class into account even be considered feminism? How can we make feminism more inclusive?In Can We All Be Feminists?, seventeen established and emerging writers from diverse backgrounds wrestle with these questions, exploring what feminism means to them in the context of their other identities-from a hijab-wearing Muslim to a disability rights activist to a body-positive performance artist to a transgender journalist. Edited by the brilliant, galvanizing, and dazzlingly precocious nineteen-year-old feminist activist and writer June Eric-Udorie, this impassioned, thought-provoking collection showcases the marginalized women whose voices are so often drowned out and offers a vision for a new, comprehensive feminism that is truly for all.Including essays by: Soofiya Andry, Gabrielle Bellot, Caitlin Cruz, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Brit Bennett, Evette Dionne, Aisha Gani, Afua Hirsch, Juliet Jacques, Wei Ming Kam, Mariya Karimjee, Eishar Kaur, Emer O'Toole, Frances Ryan, Zoé Samudzi, Charlotte Shane, and Selina Thompson.'Amid debates about the direction of the modern feminist movement, Can We All Be Feminists?, edited by June Eric-Udorie, presents new writing from 17 women on finding the right way forward, taking into account the intersections between different forms of prejudice.' Laura Bates, Guardian
By Noel Streatfeild
When their father is injured in an accident, life changes for the Johnstone family. Unable to afford their home, they have to move to a small London flat. Carol can no longer go to ballet school and Tim is heartbroken as he must leave his beloved dog, Jelly, behind. Then, it seems, their wishes are granted: in an extraordinary twist of fate, Tim inherits a dilapidated country house, Caldicott Place, where the family - including Jelly - can live together. But the house is badly in need of repair and they have no money, so a solution is found - the family start to look after wealthy children in the school holidays. Although they dread the prospect of sharing their newly found home with rich spoiled children, perhaps friendships can be found in the unlikeliest places.
The Collected Stories of Grace Paley
By 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.'A writer like Paley comes along and brightens up language again, takes it aside and gives it a pep talk, sends it back renewed, so it can do its job, which is to wake us up' George Saunders'Grace Paley makes me weep and laugh - and admire. She is that rare kind of writer, a natural, with a voice like no one else's: funny, sad, lean, modest, energetic, acute' Susan Sontag'Grace Paley is the most intelligent, generous, incorruptible writer I ever knew' Ursula K. Le Guin
By Rose Macaulay
Denham Dobie has been brought up in Andorra by her father, a retired clergyman. On his death, she is snatched from this reclusive life and thrown into the social whirl of London by her sophisticated relatives. Denham, however, provides a candid response to the niceties of 'civilised' behaviour. CREWE TRAIN is one of Macaulay's wittiest satires. The reactions of Denham to the manners and modes of the highbrow circle in which she finds herself provide a devastating - and very funny - social commentary as well as a moving story.This bitingly funny, elegantly written comedy of manners is as absorbing and entertaining today as on the book's first publication in 1967.
By Nina Bawden, Alan Marks
One of the most loved and enduring wartime novels, Carrie's War is a modern classic. WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY MICHAEL MORPURGO AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALAN MARKS'A touching, utterly convincing book' Jacqueline Wilson'Poignant and realistic . . . Carrie's War captures the true reality of war for a child, and it doesn't sentimentalise war' Shirley Hughes, Guardian'I did a dreadful thing, the worst thing of my life, when I was twelve and a half years old, and nothing can change it'It is wartime and Carrie and her little brother Nick have been evacuated from their London home to the Welsh hills. In an unfamiliar place, among strangers, the children feel alone and find little comfort with the family they are billeted with: Mr Evans, a bullying shopkeeper and Auntie Lou, his kind but timid sister. When Carrie and Nick visit Albert, another evacuee, they are welcomed into Hepzibah Green's warm kitchen. Hepzibah is rumoured to be a witch, but her cooking is delicious, her stories are enthralling and the children cannot keep away. With Albert, Hepzibah and Mister Johnny, they begin to settle into their new surroundings. But before long, their loyalties are tested: will they be persuaded to betray their new friends?This collection of the best children's literature, curated by Virago, will be coveted by children and adults alike. These are timeless tales with beautiful covers, that will be treasured and shared across the generations. Some titles you will already know; some will be new to you, but there are stories for everyone to love, whatever your age. Our list includes Nina Bawden (Carrie's War, The Peppermint Pig), Rumer Godden (The Dark Horse, An Episode of Sparrows), Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden, The Gift Giving) E. Nesbit (The Psammead Trilogy, The Bastable Trilogy, The Railway Children), Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Little Princess,The Secret Garden) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.
Cheerfulness Breaks In
By Angela Thirkell
A portrait of middle-class England raising a wartime spirit. England is on the brink of war, but the people of rural Barsetshire are not downhearted. As the village rallies round to supply huge numbers of evacuated cockney children with rabbit stew, the locals are seen in their true colours.
By Sarah Churchwell
Since its publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby has become one of the world's best-loved books. Careless People tells the true story behind F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, exploring in newly rich detail its relation to the extravagant, scandalous, and chaotic world in which the author lived.With wit and insight, Sarah Churchwell traces the genesis of a masterpiece, mapping where fiction comes from, and how it takes shape in the mind of a genius. Careless People tells the extraordinary tale of how F. Scott Fitzgerald created a classic and in the process discovered modern America.
The Cry of the Owl
By Patricia Highsmith
Robert Forester, depressed after a painful divorce, begins to spy on Jenny, his pretty young neighbour. Watching her, bright and seemingly carefree, alleviates his loneliness and helps him escape the discontent of his life. Caught in the act, he is surprised when Jenny invites him in, but all is not what it seems. With striking clarity and horrible inevitability, Forester becomes caught up in a series of deaths in which he, although the innocent bystander, is presumed guilty.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times
By Patricia Highsmith
Now a hugely acclaimed, six-times Oscar-nominated film by Todd Haynes, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when an alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. She is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn't love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol's world, she soon realises how much they both stand to lose . . .First published pseudonymously in 1952 as The Price of Salt, Carol is a hauntingly atmospheric love story set against the backdrop of fifties New York.
Christmas at High Rising
By Angela Thirkell
Originally published in the 1930s and 1940s and never before collected, these stories by the incomparable Angela Thirkell relate merry scenes of a trip to the pantomime, escapades on ice, a Christmas Day gone awry, and an electrifying afternoon for Laura Morland and friends at Low Rising, not to mention the chatter of the arty set at a London private view. Charming, irreverent and full of mischievous humour, they offer the utmost entertainment in any season of the year.
By 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
Cromartie vs The God Shiva
By Rumer Godden
A revered effigy of the god Shiva is missing from the Patna Hall Hotel on south India's exquisite Coromandel coast. Was it stolen, and to whom does it belong? Young lawyer Michael Dean, sent from London to argue the case for the defence, falls under the spell of Artemis, a graceful archaeologist who is staying at the hotel; but she proves as elusive as the mystery of the theft he is working on. Rumer Godden's classic novel is a magical, evocative exploration of art, love, class and greed in her beloved India.
By Rumer Godden
Tracy Quinn, daughter of a screen star and raised on film sets around the world, returns to her adored family home, a country house named China Court. Her grandmother's recent death has set in motion events that threaten Tracy's future and the very existence of China Court. As Tracy fights to save the old house, inhabited by five generations of Quinns, the ancestors who created it are evoked: profligate, faithless Jared; Eliza, the embittered spinster; and Ripsie, an outcast orphan who rose to become the powerful matriarch.
The Complete Collected Poems
By Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou's poetry - lyrical and dramatic, exuberant and playful - speaks of love, longings, partings; of Saturday night partying and the smells and sounds of Southern cities; of freedom and shattered dreams. Of her poetry, Kirkus Reviews has written, 'It is just as much a part of her autobiography as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, and The Heart of a Woman'.
By Barbara Pym
Formidable Miss Doggett fills her life by giving tea parties to young academics and acting as watchdog of the morals of North Oxford. Anthea, her great-niece, is in love with a dashing upper-class undergraduate with political ambitions. Of this, Miss Doggett thoroughly approves. Anthea's father, however, an Oxford don, is tired of his marriage and carrying on in the most unseemly fashion with his student Barbara Bird - they have been spotted together at the British Museum! Miss Doggett isn't aware, though, that under her very own roof the lodging curate has proposed to her paid companion Miss Morrow. She wouldn't approve of that at all.
By 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.
Complete Short Stories
By 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