By Patrick Hamilton
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.
The Company She Keeps
By Mary McCarthy
These six brilliantly written episodes, brought together in Mary McCarthy's first novel, create a fascinating portrait of a 1930s New York social circle. Based loosely on the author's own life, the book follows a young bohemian woman, Margaret Sargent, through her experiences and lost loves in a time of coming war. On publication in 1942, its bold insight, sly wit and virtuoso style won Mary McCarthy immediate recogntion as one of the most accomplished, versatile and penetrating writers in America.
By John Steinbeck, Trevor White
In the din and stink that is Cannery Row a colourful blend of misfits - gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists - survive side by side in a jumble of adventure and mischief. Lee Chong, the astute owner of the well-stocked grocery store, is also the proprietor of the Palace Flophouse that Mack and his troupe of good-natured 'boys' call home. Dora runs the brothel with clockwork efficiency and a generous heart, and Doc is the fount of all wisdom. Packed with invention and joie de vivre CANNERY ROW is Steinbeck's high-spirited tribute to his native California.
By Joseph Heller, Trevor White
At the heart of Joseph Heller's bestselling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it. It is a tale of the dangerously sane Captain Yossarian, who spends his time in Italy plotting to survive.Yossarian is a bombardier in the 256th Squadron of the Army Air Forces during World War II, stationed on Pianosa, a fictionalised island in the Mediterranean between mainland Italy and Corsica. The squadron's assignment is to bomb enemy positions in Italy and eastern France. Yossarian's mission is simply to stay alive.
By Daphne Du Maurier
Christopher And Columbus
By Elizabeth von Arnim
As the First World War looms, Anna-Rose and Anna-Felicitas, seventeen-year-old orphan twins, are thrust upon relatives. But Uncle Arthur, a blustering patriot, is a reluctant guardian: the twins are half-German and, who knows, they could be spying from the nursery window... Packed off to America, they meet Mr Twist, a wealthy engineer with a tendency to motherliness, who befriends them on the voyage. However, he has failed to consider the pitfalls of taking such young and beautiful women under his wing, especially two who will continue to require this protection long after the ship has docked, and who are incapable of behaving with tact. Many adventures ensue (and befall them) in this sparklingly witty, romantic novel in which Elizabeth von Armin explores the suspicions cast upon the two Annas and Mr Twist in a country poised for war.
By Elizabeth von Arnim
Dear Husband, she said, actually imitating me. I know what you are going to say. I always know what you are going to say. I know all the things you ever can or ever do say. She paused for a moment, and then added in a firm voice, looking me straight in the eyes, By heart. ' For the Major and his wife Edelgard, the idea of a holiday touring Southern England in a horse-drawn gypsy caravan seems perfect. As they begin their leisurely progress through its green and verdant countryside, the holiday spirit sets in. But England presents more than a contrast of scenery to this German couple - amongst the company of their English companions Edelgard seems to undergo a change of terperament, rebealing herself to be far less biddable than the upright Major had believed. The blossoming of hedgerows is one thing, but the blossoming of his wife is quite another ...