The Seventh Cross
By 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of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document.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.
The Secret Garden
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
'She put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key, and found it fitted the keyhole . . . she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly. Then she slipped through it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement and wonder and delight. She was standing inside the secret garden'Everybody at Misselthwaite Manor agrees that Mary Lennox is the most disagreeable child they have ever met. Pale, selfish and spoilt, the ten-year-old orphan has been sent from India to her uncle's estate and she is determined to hate everything about it. But the isolated house on the Yorkshire moors holds secrets that Mary cannot resist exploring: pitiful crying that echoes down the corridors at night and a hidden walled garden. When a robin leads Mary to the buried key, not only is the garden unlocked, but also her heart. And as the garden blooms, for the first time in her life, Mary discovers friendship. This is where the magic begins...'The mystery element kept me turning the pages but it was the superb characterisation that made the story stay with me. It taught me that it's never too late to remake yourself into someone better' Malorie Blackman'There is an old-fashioned tenderness and joy to it; the sense that magic happens if you are observant and quiet and know it will' Sophie DahlA collection that will be coveted by children and adults alike, this list is the best in children's literature, curated by Virago. 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), L. M. Montgomery (The Anne of Green Gables series) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.
The Story of the Amulet
By E. Nesbit, H. R. Millar
THE THIRD BOOK IN THE PSAMMEAD TRILOGY, FOLLOWING FIVE CHILDREN AND IT AND THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET'I love her books, particularly the Five Children and It sequence' Neil GaimanAt a pet shop near the British Museum, the children discover their old friend the Psammead, caged and miserable. The children pool their pocket money together to rescue it, and in gratitude, the Psammead tells them to buy an amulet - or rather, half an amulet. Incomplete, the magic charm can take them to any place and time to search for its other half; but when the amulet is whole, it will have the power to give the children their hearts' desire. In their quest, the children visit ancient Egypt, Atlantis and Babylon - they even meet Julius Caesar. But their adventures are not without danger: if they lose the amulet on their travels they will be lost in time, unable to ever return home.'Endlessly surprising and inventive ... Edith Nesbit opened the door in the magic wardrobe, pointed the way to platform nine and three quarters. She even had a hand in building the Tardis. And these are among her minor achievements. She is also simply the funniest writer we have ever had' Frank Cottrell-BoyceWith all the original illustrations by H. R. Millar, beautifully reproduced.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.
The Story of the Treasure Seekers
By E. Nesbit, Gordon Browne
When their widowed father's business fails, the Bastable children decide to restore the family fortunes themselves. No longer able to afford school, the children have all the time in the world to devise ingenious money-making schemes: from digging for treasure in their Lewisham garden to becoming highwaymen on Blackheath Common. All too often their efforts lead to trouble rather than treasure, until one adventure finally pays off...Published with illustrations by Gordon Browne, newly scanned from the original edition.The Story of the Treasure Seekers is the first book in the Bastable trilogy, which continues with The Wouldbegoods and New Treasure Seekers.'She's the children's writer with whom I most identify. [Nesbit] said, "By some lucky chance, I remember exactly how I felt and thought at 11." That struck a chord with me. The Story of the Treasure Seekers was a breakthrough children's book. Oswald is such a very real narrator, at a time when most people were writing morality plays for children' J. K. Rowling'I loved the direct first-person narrative in the clear, forthright tones of Oswald Bastable' Jacqueline Wilson'Endlessly surprising and inventive. But she is more than that ... She is also simply the funniest writer we have ever had, while being the one who could most easily and sweetly break your heart with a phrase. Just try saying "Daddy oh my Daddy" without catching your breath. She made the magic worlds feel as near as the Lewisham Road and she bathed the Lewisham Road in magic' Frank Cottrell-Boyce A collection that will be coveted by children and adults alike, this list is the best in children's literature, curated by Virago. 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), L. M. Montgomery (The Anne of Green Gables series) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.
The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington
By Joanna Moorhead
In 2006 journalist Joanna Moorhead discovered that her father's cousin, Prim, who had disappeared many decades earlier, was now a famous artist in Mexico. Although rarely spoken of in her own family (regarded as a black sheep, a wild child; someone they were better off without) in the meantime Leonora Carrington had become a national treasure in Mexico, where she now lived, while her paintings are fetching ever-higher prices at auction today.Intrigued by her story, Joanna set off to Mexico City to find her lost relation. Later she was to return to Mexico ten times more between then and Leonora's death in 2011, sometimes staying for months at a time and subsequently travelling around Britain and through Europe in search of the loose ends of her tale. They spent days talking and reading together, drinking tea and tequila, going for walks and to parties and eating take away pizzas or dining out in her local restaurants as Leonora told Joanna the wild and amazing truth about a life that had taken her from the suffocating existence of a debutante in London via war-torn France with her lover, Max Ernst, to incarceration in an asylum and finally to the life of a recluse in Mexico City.Leonora was one of the last surviving participants in the Surrealist movement of the 1930s, a founding member of the Women's Liberation Movement in Mexico during the 1970s and a woman whose reputation will survive not only as a muse but as a novelist and a great artist. This book is the extraordinary story of Leonora Carrington's life, and of the friendship between two women, related by blood but previously unknown to one another, whose encounters were to change both their lives.
Stop the Clocks
By Joan Bakewell
Joan Bakewell has led a varied, sometimes breathless life: she has been a teacher, copywriter, studio manager, broadcaster, journalist, the government's Voice of Older People and chair of the theatre company Shared Experience. She has written four radio plays, two novels and an autobiography - The Centre of The Bed. Now in her 80s, she is still broadcasting. Though it may look as though she is now part of the establishment - a Dame, President of Birkbeck College, a Member of the House of Lords as Baroness Bakewell of Stockport - she's anything but and remains outspoken and courageous. In Stop the Clocks, she muses on all she has lived through, how the world has changed and considers the things and values she will be leaving behind.Stop the Clocks is a book of musings, a look back at what she was given by her family, at the times in which she grew up - ranging from the minutiae of life such as the knowledge of how to darn and how to make a bed properly with hospital corners, to the bigger lessons of politics, of lovers, of betrayal. She talks of the present, of her family, of friends and literature - and talks too of what she will leave behind. This is a thoughtful, moving and spirited book as only could be expected from this extraordinary woman.
Strangers on a Train
By Patricia Highsmith
The classic thriller behind the Hitchcock film, and Highsmith's first novel - soon to be remade by David Fincher, director of Gone Girl, with a screenplay by Gillian Flynn.The psychologists would call it folie a deux . . .'Bruno slammed his palms together. "Hey! Cheeses, what an idea! I kill your wife and you kill my father! We meet on a train, see, and nobody knows we know each other! Perfect alibis! Catch?'''From this moment, almost against his conscious will, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of personalities.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times
By Waris Dirie
Waris Dirie, the Somalia nomad who became a supermodel, and an anti-FGM activist, first came to the world's attention with the publication of her autobiography, Desert Flower. The book was subsequently made into a film and little Safa Nour, from one of the slums of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, was chosen to play the young Waris. The book and the film record many extraordinary things - from facing down a tiger, to being discovered by a famous photographer in London - but it also tells the grim story of female circumcision, an ordeal that the young Waris had to endure. Saving Safa opens with a letter from Safa, now aged seven, who explains that she is worried that she will undergo FGM in spite of the contract her parents have signed with Dirie's Desert Flower Foundation stating that they will never have their daughter cut. Waris drops everything and flies to Djibouti where she meets Safa's father and mother who thinks her daughter should be cut to stop the community ostracising them. As Safa was saved from FGM through a contract with her parents, the Foundation believes a thousand other girls can be saved through providing their families with aid in return for a promise not to mutilate their daughters
Small g: A Summer Idyll
By 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.'
By Margaret Atwood
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE HANDMAID'S TALE AND ALIAS GRACEA recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite.In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle - and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.*Praise for Stone Mattress 'Dark and witty tales from the gleefully inventive Margaret Atwood. Witty verve, imaginative inventiveness and verbal sizzle vivify every page' -SUNDAY TIMES'Atwood has characters here close to death, dead already, unwittingly doomed or - in one memorable case - freeze-dried; but her own curiosity, enthusiasm and sheer storytelling panache remain alive and kicking. Anyone keen to consign literary fiction to an early grave will have to deal with her first' -INDEPENDENT'Atwood's prose is so sharp and sly that the effect is bracing rather than bleak' -GUARDIAN
By Joyce Marlow
Queen Victoria is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad wicked folly of women's rights, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor sex is bent' - 1870It was a bloody and dangerous war lasting several decades, won finally by sheer will and determination in 1928. Drawing on extracts from diaries, newspapers, letters, journals and books, Joyce Marlow has pieced together this inspiring, poignant and exciting history using the voices of the women themselves. Some of the people and events are well-known, but Marlow has gone beyond the obvious, particularly beyond London, to show us the ordinary women - middle and working-class, who had the breathtaking courage to stand up and be counted - or just as likely hectored, or pelted with eggs. These women were clever and determined, knew the power of humour and surprise and exhibited 'unladylike' passion and bravery.Joyce Marlow's anthology is lively, comprehensive, surprising and triumphant.
The Serial Garden
By Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
'I wish we'll have two children called Mark and Harriet. And I hope lots of interesting and unusual things will happen to them. It would be nice if they had a fairy godmother, for instance. And a phoenix or something out of the ordinary for a pet. We could have a special day for interesting and unusual things to happen - say, Mondays. But not always Mondays, and not only Mondays, or that would get a bit dull'As a result of their mother's honeymoon wish, Mark and Harriet Armitage have a fairy godmother, a pet unicorn, and are prepared for anything life can throw at them (especially, but not always, on a Monday): hatching griffins in the airing cupboard, Latin lessons with a ghost, furious Furies on the doorstep, and an enchanted garden locked inside a cereal packet. Life with the Armitages can be magical, funny, terrifying - but never, ever dull.
By Lisa St. Aubin De Teran
Venezuela and Italy, villages and prisons, forests and whore houses are the backdrops to these short stories which reflect the people and the places that have informed this wonderful writer's work. Antonio Mezzano in Umbria, the blind man who gathers village gossip in his one good hand; La Rusa who runs her Rainbow brothel in the Andes; Eladio 'the mad man' who searches with his mute son for the eagle they stubbornly believe will restore them to health; Otto, the political prisoner called Proff who shares his cell with a killer; tiny Silvio the poet on Buona Vita Street; Nanzia, the family cook whose heart was chopped like parsley on marble when love came her way. In many senses, these are the dispossessed, the southpaws - prostitutes, peasants, shopkeepers, mothers among them.
A Suspension of Mercy
By Patricia Highsmith
'Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing . . . bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night' New YorkerSydney Bartleby has killed his wife. At least, he has thought about it, compulsively, repeatedly, plotting schemes, designing escapes, forging alibis. Of course he has; he's a thriller writer. He even knows how to dispose of her body. But when Alicia takes a long, unannounced holiday, Sydney descends into the treacherous world of his own fantasy.A masterpiece of noir fantasy in which Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life.
By Katharine Grant
Motherless Alathea Sawneyford, her charms grown disturbing as she rebels against her father, has made the city's streets her own, while Annie Cantabile is constrained, by her own disfigurement and her father, to his pianoforte workshop under the shadow of Tyburn gibbet. One afternoon the dusty workshop receives a visitor. A man, representing an unscrupulous band of City speculators, Alathea's father among them, require a pianoforte and its charming teacher to find titled husbands for all their daughters: sisters Evelina and Marianne; stolid Harriet and pale, pining Georgiana. It seems an innocent enough plan but these are subversive times and perhaps even a drawing-room piano lesson isn't exactly what it seems. All of which will suit Alathea perfectly.Fierce and bawdy, uproarious and exquisite, Sedition takes its plot at a racing gallop: bold, beautiful and captivating, it is a narrative masterpiece.
By Angela Thirkell
To his parents' dismay, Colin Keith - out of the noble but misplaced sense of duty peculiar to high-minded young university graduates - chooses to quit his training for the Bar and take a teaching job at Southbridge School. Little does Colin imagine that he will count among his pupils the demon in human form known as Tony Morland; or that the master's ravishing, feather-brained daughter Rose will, with her flights of fancy and many admirers, spread chaos throughout school and village. Humorous, high-spirited and cleverly observed, Summer Half is a comic delight.
By Helen Taylor
One of the most successful books ever published and the basis of one of the most popular and highly praised Hollywood films of all time, Gone With the Wind has entered world culture in a way that few other stories have.Seventy-five years on from the cinematic release of Gone with the Wind, Helen Taylor looks at the reasons why the book and film have had such an appeal, especially for women. Drawing on letters and questionnaires from female fans, she brings together material from southern history, literature, film and feminist theory and discusses the themes of the Civil War and issues of race. She has previously written Gender, Race and Region in the writings of Grace King, Ruth McEnery Stuart and Kate Chopin and The Daphne Du Maurier Companion.
Slowly, Slowly in the Wind
By Patricia Highsmith
'Highsmith neatly dismantles the American suburban idyll, subverting the cliches of domestic bliss - nice neighbours, a child's comforting glass of milk, and the dream of growing radishes - with macabre cruelty' Andrew Wilson, author of, Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia HighsmithSlowly, Slowly in the Wind brilliantly assembles many of Patricia Highsmith's most nuanced and psychologically suspenseful works. Each of these twelve pieces, like all great short fiction, is a crystal-clear snapshot of lives both static and full of chaos. In 'The Pond' Highsmith explores the unforeseen calamities that can unalterably shatter a single woman's life, while 'The Network' finds sinister loneliness and joy in the mundane yet engrossing friendships of a small community of urban dwellers. In this enduring and disturbing collection, Highsmith evokes the gravity and horror of her characters' surroundings with evenhanded prose and a detailed imagination.
By Frances Greenslade
Maggie's father is 'Mr Safety'. He knows the woods of Duchess Creek in Northern Canada like the back of his hand, and he has taught his daughter how to survive, how to find and make a shelter in all weathers, in any conditions. Along with her sister, Jenny, and their mother Irene, they are safe from the outside world. But when an accident at work goes fatally wrong, Irene struggles to look after her daughters alone. Wild, imaginative and unpredictable, she billets the two girls with a family, promising to return once the summer is over and she has earned more money. But the summer turns to winter, which rolls round again and again. When the letters stop, the two sisters realise that they can rely on no one but themselves - but what kind of shelter can two young girls make for themselves?
By Carol Anshaw
Christine Snow, a Chicago therapist, has at last returned from the margins of her past - a card-sharp father, too many wrong lovers - into comfortable urban domesticity with Taylor Hayes, a travel photographer. The two women share a house, a dog, a life. And then one morning after a minor argument, Taylor disappears, Chris's anger turns to alarm as time passes and still she hears nothing, until she falls across a clue as unsettling in itself as Taylor's disappearance. Following a trail that leads to Morocco and home again, Seven Moves tracks Chris's gradual realisation that one can never really know another person's soul.'One of the best and most invigorating writers we have, intelligent as well as clever, feeling, humane and with a wise ear for dialogue. Seven Moves fulfils every promise, it is excellent' - Shirley Hazzard