General book blog.

Echo's Bones by Samuel Beckett. New York. 2014. Grove Press. 121 pages. July 2014. hardcover. 9780802120458. Jacket design by Charles Rue Woods. Edited by Mark Nixon. 


9780802120458FROM THE PUBLISHER -



   In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to publish Samuel Beckett's More Pricks Than Kicks, a collection of ten interrelated stories—his first published work of fiction. At his editor's request, Beckett penned an additional story, ‘Echo's Bones’, to serve as the final piece. However, he’d already killed off several of the characters—including the protagonist, Belacqua—throughout the book, and had to resurrect them from the dead. The story was politely rejected by his editor, as it was considered too imaginatively playful, too allusive, and too undisciplined—qualities now recognized as quintessentially Beckett. As a result, ‘Echo's Bones’ (not to be confused with the poem and collection of poems of the same title) remained unpublished—until now, nearly eight decades later. This little-known text is introduced by the preeminent Beckett scholar, Dr. Mark Nixon, who situates the work in terms of its biographical context and textual references, examining how it is a vital link in the evolution of Beckett's early work. Beckett confessed that he included ‘all I knew’ in the story. It harnesses an immense range of subjects: science, philosophy, religion, literature; combining fairy tales, gothic dreams, and classical myth. This posthumous publication marks the unexpected and highly exciting return of a literary legend.



Beckett SamuelSamuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour. Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce, he is considered one of the last modernists. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called the ‘Theatre of the Absurd‘. His work became increasingly minimalist in his later career. Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation’. He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.






Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. Roseanna. New York. 1967. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Swedish by Lois Roth. 212 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.




One July day, a naked woman was dredged up from the bottom of Sweden's beautiful Lake Vattern. Who was she? Where had she come from? How had she got there? And why? Never before in all his experience as a policeman had Martin Beck been given a case to investigate where there was so little information to work on, but through all the empty days that followed, his determination to find the person who had committed this ugly crime never wavered. For weeks nothing happened and the chances of bringing the murderer to book seemed more and more remote. The Stockholm Homicide Squad had not even been able to find out the girl's identity. Then, out of the blue, they received one vital fragment of information and slowly the pieces began to fall into place. The lines of enquiry stretched from Stockholm to Turkey, to South Africa and to the United States, and bit by bit Martin Beck and his colleagues began to build up a picture of the girl and the person they suspected of being her killer. The hazardous but ingenious trap they lay for the suspect brings the story to a dramatic conclusion. ROSEANNA introduces Martin Beck to the American public for the first time. Tough, intelligent, sensitive and dedicated to his job, Martin Beck is a far cry from the slick, smart-alecky private eyes and detectives we have come to know so well. A chain smoker with a graveyard cough and an abused stomach; a ‘weekend' sailor who likes to spend what time he has making model ships, living in a gray suburban apartment with his once pretty wife and two children with whom he has few points of contact and little in common - that is Martin Beck. His adventures and the background of present-day Sweden combine to make an unusually vivid and exciting mystery story.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke. New York. 1969. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Swedish by Joan Tate. 183 pages. hardcover.


man who went up in smoke pantheon 1969FROM THE PUBLISHER –


This new adventure of the dedicated Swedish policeman Martin Beck begins as a long, leisurely summer holiday is cut off by the top brass at the Foreign Office who decide to pack him off to Budapest. The mission turns out to be one of the most exasperating assignments of Beck's entire career: the search for Alf Matsson, a well-known journalist who has vanished without a trace. On the trail of this hard-drinking Swedish newsman, Martin Beck investigates some curious East European underworld characters and  - at the risk of his life  - stumbles upon a flourishing international racket in which Matsson was involved. Yet even after an exhaustive search along the banks of the Danube, Martin Beck still cannot produce the missing man. Gradually some remarkably efficient policemen in Budapest  - and his own hard-working colleagues at home in Stockholm  - help Martin Beck convert this wild-goose chase into a coolly systematic manhunt. Finally, by relentlessly cross-examining Matsson's bohemian drinking companions, he deduces the unexpected nature of the crimes that have taken place. With steady suspense and a vivid international background, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö have again created a forcefully realistic portrait of modern police  - men stuck with the thankless, nearly dehumanizing tasks entailed in achieving even a semblance of justice in our cruel contemporary world.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Man On the Balcony. New York. 1968. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Swedish by Alan Blair. 180 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.


man on the balconyFROM THE PUBLISHER –


Martin Beck, a superintendent now, a little grayer, but still the dedicated and ruthless policeman, is a worried man. What gave every indication of being a warm and peaceful summer, suddenly develops into a nightmare for the members of the Stockholm Homicide Squad when the city becomes the scene of a rash of brutal muggings and child sex-murders. The people of Stockholm are tense and fearful; the police are worried and seemingly helpless as their appeals bring forth little useful information and their inquiries lead nowhere; the men are tired and despairing, harried alike by the press and their own superior officers. As so often happens in a case like this, one almost insignificant clue starts to unravel a complex thread. The chance testimony of a jealous girl, striking back at her unfaithful lover, leads to the arrest of the elusive mugger and the dawning realization that he is perhaps the only person in Stockholm to have seen the murderer. He is able to give the police a description - a description that reminds Martin Beck of someone, or maybe something he overheard. As we follow Martin Beck and his colleagues in their relentless and meticulous investigation, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö once again demonstrate their mastery of this fascinating form of reportage, describing the methods, inspirations and problems of the police in a large city, which showed to such stunning effect in ROSEANNA.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Laughing Policeman. New York. 1970. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Swedish by Alan Blair. Hardcover.


laughing policeman pantheon 1970FROM THE PUBLISHER –


The night eight people were shot to death in a Stockholm bus, police detective Martin Beck seriously wondered what makes anyone want to be a cop. One of the dead was a colleague of Beck's, an ambitious young detective whose private life was both perverse and mysterious. There were no clues. Working on a hunch, Beck and a team of experts set out on the largest manhunt Sweden has ever seen. Indiscreet revelations of the dead detective's girlfriend help Beck reconstruct the steps that led to his death. Then with painstaking thoroughness, Beck and the Swedish police comb the country for missing clues and find the killer, in the process solving a murder case that has been on the books for years. 






Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Fire Engine That Disappeared. New York. 1970. Pantheon Books. 0394412087. Translated from the Swedish by Joan Tate. 213 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.




The cunning incendiary device that blew the roof off a Stockholm apartment house one cold winter night not only interrupted the small, peaceful orgy underway inside, it nearly took the lives of the building's eleven occupants. And if one of police commissioner Martin Beck's colleagues hadn't been on the scene, the explosion would have led to a major catastrophe since - for reasons nobody could satisfactorily explain - the fire department didn't arrive until too late. How could a regulation-sized ladder truck vanish in the center of Stockholm? What, if anything, did the explosion have to do with the peculiar death earlier that day of a 46-year-old bachelor whose cryptic suicide note consisted of only two words: ‘Martin Beck'? Once again Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö bring to life the familiar team of grudgingly dedicated policemen who assist Martin Beck (now head of Sweden's homicide bureau) in picking a trail through the intricate underground that connects Stockholm criminals to those on the Continent. No heroes. Beck's men work hard just getting from one day to the next in a big-city world of evil on every scale. Beck himself, by this book, is a little more accustomed to the intolerable existence he faces: the ashes in his akvavit have settled a bit as his appreciation for the mysteries in his own life heightens, slightly.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. Murder at the Savoy. New York. 1971. Pantheon Books. 0394470818. Translated from the Swedish by Amy & Ken Knoespel. 216 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.




Accustomed as he was to public speaking, powerful Swedish industrialist Viktor Palmgren had no idea that his after-dinner speech in elegant Hotel Savoy would be so rudely interrupted that warm summer evening. Suddenly, in the midst of Palmgren's entertaining remarks, an uninvited guest strolled in, pulled a blue-steel object from his pocket, shot the speaker in the head, and disappeared through an open window. No one in the restaurant was able to identify the gunman, and local police were sheepishly baffled. Enter: Chief Inspector Martin Beck, of the National Homicide Squad. And so we are off on another precision-timed, beautifully constructed tale of police work and further absorbing adventures of Martin Beck and his dogged fellow detectives of Sweden's National Police. Old friends of Beck and his colleagues will relish the special atmospheric setting and human interest in this latest installment, and may be relieved to note that Beck's appetite (which failed him regularly in the dyspeptic days before the idea of divorce had ever crossed his mind) has actually begun to improve.




Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Abominable Man. New York. 1972. Pantheon Books. 0394471660. Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal. 215 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.


abominable manFROM THE PUBLISHER –


The bloody murder of a police captain in his hospital room exposes the particularly unsavory history of a man who spent forty years practicing brutality and force. As this story unfolds, Martin Beck and his colleagues scour Stockholm for the murderer, a demented and deadly rifleman, who finally stages a terrifying scene of chaos and revenge against the police. As the tension builds and a feeling of impending danger and doom settles on Martin Beck, an even stronger sense of responsibility and something like shame urge him into taking drastic steps on his own which lead to shocking disaster. In their newest episode in the lives of Martin Beck and the Stockholm police, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö go to the heart of modern police practices, laying bare the workings of an organization and its various personalities which can so deeply affect society at large. An extremely taut and exciting novel, THE ABOMINABLE MAN once again proves Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö to be ‘the reigning king and queen of mystery fiction.'. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the Swedish husband-and-wife writing team who created Martin Beck, are regarded by mystery lovers with a very special affection. THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN, an earlier volume, won the Edgar Award (from Mystery Writers of America) as the mystery novel of 1970, and the entire series, also including ROSEANNA, THE MAN ON THE BALCONY, THE MAN WHO WENT IN SMOKE, THE FIRE ENGINE THAT DISAPPEARED, and MURDER AT THE SAVOY, has won praise from critics everywhere.


Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Locked Room. New York. 1973. Pantheon Books. 0394485335. Translated from the Swedish by Paul Briiten Austin. 313 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.




A decayed corpse with a bullet through its head is found inside a locked room. Suicide? Perhaps - but inside the locked room there is no gun. A young blonde in sunglasses holds up a bank and shoots the hapless citizen who moves to stop her. Martin Beck, slowly recovering from a near-fatal bullet wound (THE ABOMINABLE MAN), is assigned to investigate the mysterious death the in the locked room, and we are off with him, carefully examining the evidence and pursuing the clues - including the young and attractive landlady of the dead man - ruminating on life and crime and the police in contemporary Sweden as Martin Beck works his precise way toward solving both mysteries. This latest episode in the of Martin Beck and the Stockholm police has been greeted with overwhelming praise by the Swedish press and public, and has been called the best book so far by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the Swedish husband-and-wife team who created Martin Beck, have been called ‘the reigning king and queen of mystery fiction' by the National Observer. In 1970 they received the Edgar Award for the best mystery novel from the Mystery Writers of America, and a movie of their LAUGHING POLICEMAN, starring Walter Matthau, was released in November 1973. The entire Martin Beck series, including ROSEANNA, THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE, THE FIRE ENGINE THAT DISAPPEARED, MURDER AT THE SAVOY and THE ABOMINABLE MAN, has been enthusiastically received by mystery lovers everywhere.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. Cop Killer. New York. 1975. Pantheon Books. 0394485319. Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal. 297 pages. hardcover. Cover: illustration by James Barkely.




In a small Swedish town a blond woman in her middle thirties is brutally murdered and left buried in a swamp. Some weeks later her decomposing body is found accidentally by a group of hikers. Prime suspects are the convicted sex murderer who was her only neighbor on a lonely country road, and her former husband - a rough, drunken retired sailor. Meanwhile, on a quiet suburban street in another part of Sweden, a midnight shootout take place between three cops and two teenage boys. Dead: one cop and two teenage boys. Wounded: two cops. Escaped: one kid. Those are the facts. And Martin beck, Chief of Sweden's National Homicide Squad, is called in with his partner, Lennart Kollberg. In this unfamiliar small-town setting they encounter figures from their earlier cases (ROSEANNA, THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE). We learn a great deal about crime, contemporary Sweden, and police work as Beck and Kollberg move thoughtfully toward the solution of both crimes. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö have been called ‘the reigning king and queen of mystery fiction' by The National Observer. COP KILLER is the ninth in their well-known Martin Beck series, which includes the book from which the recent film THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN was made.



Sjöwall, Maj and Wahlöö, Per. The Terrorists. New York. 1976. Pantheon Books. 0394485327. Translated from the Swedish by Joan Tate. 281 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by James Barkley.




THE TERRORISTS is the last Martin Beck mystery, tragically finished just a few weeks before Per Wahlöö's death. The book is, in effect, a marvelous summing up. The story centers on the visit of an American senator to Stockholm. Martin Beck tries to protect him from an international gang of terrorists, while they decide that Beck too should be removed from the scene. Interwoven with this basic story are two fascinating subplots. One, a classic mini-mystery, is the story of a millionaire pornographer bludgeoned to death in his own bathtub. The other is the story of a young girl, a Swedish hippie, caught up unexpectedly in the maze of police bureaucracy. As in other Martin Beck books, the plot comes together in a totally unexpected climax. Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö met as journalists working on different magazines. Over lunch one day they shared what turned out to be a common interest and the beginning of a literary collaboration and a marriage - the concept of the crime novel as a mirror to society. Together they planned a series, to consist of ten books, which they said would trace ‘a man's [Martin Beck's] personality changing over the years, as the milieu and the atmosphere, the political climate, the economic climate, and the crime rate change. . . . ‘ Begun in 1965 with ROSEANNA and ending in 1975 with Per Wahlöö's death and the completion of the tenth book, THE TERRORISTS, the Martin Beck series has come to represent a unique achievement in the field of mystery fiction. The books, originally written in Swedish, have been published in every major country and have won many awards, including the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar for the best mystery novel of 1970 (THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN). The Wahlöös have been hailed as ‘the reigning king and queen of mystery fiction.'




Sjowall Maj and Wahloo PerAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Together with Maj Sjowall, he has written several Martin Beck books, including ROSEANNA and THE MAN ON THE BALCONY, which were each acclaimed the best mystery of the year upon being published in the United States. Born in 1926, Mr. Wahloo was a reporter for several Swedish newspapers and magazines and has written numerous radio, television and film scripts, novels and short stories. He and his wife and co-author, the poet Maj Sjowall, also edited Peripeo, a magazine of literature and poetry.








Cortazar, Julio. Hopscotch. New York. 1966. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa. 564 pages. hardcover. Cover: George Salter.




By any measure, this is an extraordinary novel. In Hopscotch, one man's exasperated search for what his life is about takes the reader on a series of adventures so extravagant, yet so immediate, that the line between literature and the daily realities of life itself seems often to disappear. Such a response is intended; it is partly what Julio Cortázar's novel is about. Opening in Paris, with a love affair that never really ends throughout its almost six hundred pages, the novel moves gradually to Buenos Aires, where Oliveira is employed first as a salesman, then as the keeper of a calculating circus cat which can truly count, and finally as an attendant in a mental asylum owned by his friends. But the episodes that lie between these shifts of scene are the heart of Hopscotch. They range from. bizarre sexual encounters to absurdly long intellectual discussions of life and art, or the death of a child recounted with a brutal reality, all the more poignant for its unrelenting lack of compassion. All are blocks torn from the enormous structure that Oliveira is systematically demolishing behind him as he moves toward its original blueprint. What emerges is a book that will be compared to the classics of our time - books that shocked, amused, provoked, and opened new horizons.



Cortazar JulioAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Julio Cortázar (August 26, 1914 - February 12, 1984) was a Belgian-born Argentine intellectual and author of experimental novels and short stories. He was married three times, to Aurora Bernárdez, UgnE Karvelis and Carol Dunlop. Most of his work was written in Paris, France from 1951 until his demise. Hopscotch is Julio's magnum opus. Julio Cortázar was born to Argentine parents on August 26, 1914, in Brussels, Belgium, where his father was involved in a commercial venture as part of Argentina's diplomatic presence. Many years later, Cortázar would say ‘my birth was a product of tourism and diplomacy.' Because the Cortázar family were nationals of a neutral country not involved in World War I, they were able to pass through Switzerland and later reach Barcelona, where they lived for a year and a half. Cortázar regularly played at the Park Güell and its colourful ceramics would remain vivid in his memory for many years. When Cortázar was four years old, his family returned to Argentina. He spent the rest of his childhood in Banfield, near Buenos Aires, together with his mother and his only sister, who was one year his junior. During his childhood, Cortázar's father abandoned the family; Cortázar would never see him again. In Banfield Cortázar lived in a house with a yard out back from which he obtained inspiration for future stories. His time in Banfield, however, was not happy; he would later describe it, in a letter to Graciela M. de Solá (December 4, 1963) as ‘full of servitude, excessive touchiness, terrible and frequent sadness.' Cortázar was a sickly child and spent much of his childhood in bed reading. His mother selected the books for him to read, introducing her son most notably to the works of Jules Verne, whom Cortázar admired for the rest of his life. He was to say later, in the magazine Plural (issue 44, Mexico City, 5/1975) ‘I spent my childhood in a haze full of goblins and elfs, with a sense of space and time that was different to everybody else's.' Although he never completed his studies at the University of Buenos Aires where he studied Philosophy and Languages, he taught in several provincial secondary schools. In 1938 he published a volume of sonnets under the pseudonym Julio Denis. He would later disparage this volume. In 1944, he became professor of French literature at the National University of Cuyo. In 1949, he published a play, Los Reyes (The Kings), based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. In 1951, in opposition to the government of Juan Domingo Peron, Cortázar emigrated to France, where he lived and worked until his demise. From 1952, he worked for UNESCO as a translator. His translation projects included Spanish renderings of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Marguerite Yourcenar's MEmoires d'Hadrien and the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Alfred Jarry and Comte de LautrEamont were other decisive influences. Julio Cortázar wrote most of his major works in Paris. In later years he underwent a political transformation, becoming actively engaged with human rights causes in Latin America and openly supporting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. He died reportedly of leukemia in Paris in 1984 and was interred there in the Cimetière de Montparnasse with Carol Dunlop. Some people have stated that he died from AIDS contracted via a blood transfusion; sources close to Cortázar have denied this. He did suffer from melomania. Julio Cortázar is highly regarded as a master of short story narrations. Collections like Bestiario (1951), Final del juego (1956) and Las armas secretas (1959) contain many of the best examples of surrealist writing in postmodern literature. Selections from those volumes were published in 1967 in English translations by Paul Blackburn under the title Blow-Up and Other Stories in deference to the English title of Michelangelo Antonioni's celebrated film noir of 1966 (Blowup) inspired by Julio Cortázar's story Las Babas del Diablo. Cortázar also influenced Jean-Luc Godard to write Week End with La Autopista del Sur. One of his most notable short fictions is El Perseguidor (The Pursuer), based on the life of jazz musician Charlie Parker. He also published several novels, including Los Premios (The Winners - 1960), Hopscotch (Rayuela -1963), 62: A Model Kit (62 Modelo para Armar - 1968) and Libro de Manuel (A Manual for Manuel - 1973). They were later translated by Gregory Rabassa. Julio Cortázar's masterpiece, Hopscotch, has been praised by other Latin American writers including JosE Lezama Lima, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. The novel has an open-ended structure that invites the reader to choose between a linear and a non-linear mode of reading. Cortázar's employment of interior monologue and stream of consciousness is reminiscent of modernists like James Joyce, but his main influences were Surrealism, the French Nouveau roman and the improvisatory aesthetic of jazz. He also published poetry, drama and various works of non-fiction. One of his last works was a collaboration with his third wife, Carol Dunlop, entitled The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute; it related, partly in mock-heroic style, the couple's extended expedition along the autoroute from Paris to Marseille in a Volkswagen camper nicknamed Fafner.







Orwell, George. Burmese Days. New York. 1934. Harpers. 369 pages. hardcover.

burmese days harpers no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -


The product of intimate personal knowledge, Burmese Days, George Orwell's first novel, offers a scathing indictment of British Imperial rule. Against a brilliantly rendered exotic background, the author presents a bitter and satiric picture of the corruption spawned by absolute power, a corruption all - pervading and inescapable, infecting white man and native alike. His theme is given sharp focus in the struggle of. John Flory, the novel's English hero, to maintain some measure of integrity in a debilitating moral climate. As Flory is inexorably driven to final tragic defeat, the reader encounters a vividly delineated cross section of Anglo - Indian society and was an unsurpassed portrayal of an era of history whose effects still profoundly trouble the modern world. Burmese Days is a superb example of Orwell's literary skill and of the fierce and uncompromising vision that made him, in the words of V. S. Pritchett, 'the conscience of his generation.'



Orwell GeorgeAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. There, Blair's father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (born Limouzin), brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family's background as ‘lower-upper-middle class'. At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian's School, in Eastbourne, Sussex. Blair attended St Cyprian's by a private financial arrangement that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. At the school, he formed a lifelong friendship with Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine Horizon, in which many of his most famous essays were originally published. Many years later, Blair would recall his time at St Cyprian's with biting resentment in the essay ‘Such, Such Were the Joys'. However, in his time at St. Cyprian's, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton. After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King's Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been ‘relatively happy' at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and his father felt that he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and in such essays as ‘A Hanging' (1931) and ‘Shooting an Elephant' (1936). Back in England he wrote to Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, and she and a friend found him a room in London, on the Portobello Road (a blue plaque is now on the outside of this house), where he started to write. It was from here that he sallied out one evening to Limehouse Causeway - following in the footsteps of Jack London - and spent his first night in a common lodging house, probably George Levy's ‘kip'. For a while he ‘went native' in his own country, dressing like other tramps and making no concessions, and recording his experiences of low life in his first published essay, ‘The Spike', and the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where his Aunt Nellie lived and died, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. In the autumn of 1929, his lack of success reduced Blair to taking menial jobs as a dishwasher for a few weeks, principally in a fashionable hotel (the Hotel X) on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, although there is no indication that he had the book in mind at the time. Ill and penniless, he moved back to England in 1929, using his parents' house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became Burmese Days, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the poorest people in society. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry's New Adelphi magazine. Blair completed Down and Out in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school called Frays College near Hayes, Middlesex. He took the job as an escape from dire poverty and it was during this period that he managed to obtain a literary agent called Leonard Moore. Blair also adopted the pen name George Orwell just before Down and Out was published. In a November 15 letter to Leonard Moore, his agent, he left the choice of a pseudonym to Moore and to Victor Gollancz, the publisher. Four days later, Blair wrote Moore and suggested P. S. Burton, a name he used ‘when tramping,' adding three other possibilities: Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. Orwell drew on his work as a teacher and on his life in Southwold for the novel A Clergyman's Daughter (1935), which he wrote at his parents' house in 1934 after ill-health - and the urgings of his parents - forced him to give up teaching. From late 1934 to early 1936 he worked part-time as an assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover's Corner, in Hampstead. Having led a lonely and very solitary existence, he wanted to enjoy the company of other young writers, and Hampstead was a place for intellectuals, as well as having many houses with cheap bedsitters. He worked his experiences into the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). In early 1936, Orwell was commissioned by Victor Gollancz of the Left Book Club to write an account of poverty among the working class in the depressed areas of northern England, which appeared in 1937 as The Road to Wigan Pier. He was taken into many houses, simply saying that he wanted to see how people lived. He made systematic notes on housing conditions and wages and spent several days in the local public library consulting reports on public health and conditions in the mines. He did his homework as a social investigator. The first half of the book is a social documentary of his investigative touring in Lancashire and Yorkshire, beginning with an evocative description of work in the coal mines. The second half of the book, a long essay in which Orwell recounts his personal upbringing and development of political conscience, includes a very strong denunciation of what he saw as irresponsible elements of the left. Gollancz feared that the second half would offend Left Book Club readers, and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy. In December 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain primarily to fight, not to write, for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's Fascist uprising. In a conversation with Philip Mairet, the editor of the New English Weekly, Orwell said: ‘This fascism. somebody's got to stop it.' To Orwell, liberty and democracy went together and, among other things, guaranteed the freedom of the artist; the present capitalist civilization was corrupt, but fascism would be morally calamitous. John McNair (1887-1968) is also quoted as saying in a conversation with Orwell: ‘He then said that this (writing a book) was quite secondary and his main reason for coming was to fight against Fascism.' He went alone, and his wife joined him later. He joined the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some twenty-five Britons who joined the militia of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM - Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista), a revolutionary Spanish communist political party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (the dominant force on the left in Catalonia), believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism - a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which (backed by Soviet arms and aid) argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong. Orwell sympathetically describes the egalitarian spirit of revolutionary Barcelona when he arrived in Homage to Catalonia. According to his own account, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the Communist-run International Brigades by chance - but his experiences, in particular his and his wife's narrow escape from the Communist purges in Barcelona in June 1937, greatly increased his sympathy for POUM and made him a life-long anti-Stalinist and a firm believer in what he termed Democratic Socialism, that is to say, in socialism combined with free debate and free elections. During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. At first it was feared that his voice would be permanently reduced to nothing more than a painful whisper. This wasn't so, although the injury did affect his voice, giving it what was described as, ‘a strange, compelling quietness.' He wrote in Homage to Catalonia that people frequently told him he was lucky to survive, but that he personally thought ‘it would be even luckier not to be hit at all.' The Orwells then spent six months in Morocco in order to recover from his wound, and during this period, he wrote his last pre-World War II novel, Coming Up For Air. As the most English of all his novels, the alarms of war mingle with idyllic images of a Thames-side Edwardian childhood enjoyed by its protagonist, George Bowling. Much of the novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of old England. There were also massive new external threats and George Bowling puts the totalitarian hypothesis of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler in homely terms: ‘Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it. They're something quite new - something that's never been heard of before.' After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell's formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, in the genteel neighbourhood of Marylebone, very close to Regent's Park in central London. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began (and was later awarded the ‘British Campaign Medals/Defence Medal'). In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India's doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like ‘an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot'. The wartime Ministry of Information, which was based at Senate House, University of London, was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson. Orwell's decision to resign from the BBC followed a report confirming his fears about the broadcasts: very few Indians were listening. He wanted to become a war correspondent and also seems to have been impatient to begin work on Animal Farm. Despite the good salary, he resigned in September 1943 and in November became the literary editor of Tribune, the left-wing weekly then edited by Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche (it was Kimche who had been Box to Orwell's Cox when they both worked as half-time assistants in the Hampstead bookshop in 1934-35). Orwell was on the staff until early 1945, contributing a regular column titled ‘As I Please.' Anthony Powell and Malcolm Muggeridge had returned from overseas to finish the war in London. All three took to lunching regularly, usually at the Bodega just off the Strand or the Bourgogne in Soho, sometimes joined by Julian Symons (who seemed at the time to be Orwell's true disciple), and David Astor, editor/owner of The Observer. In 1944, Orwell finished his anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm, which was first published in Britain on 17 August 1945 and in the U.S.A on the 26 August 1946 with great critical and popular success. Frank Morley, an editor Harcourt Brace, had come to Britain as soon as he could at the end of the War to see what readers were currently interested in. He asked to serve a week or so in Bowes and Bowes, a Cambridge bookshop. On his first day there customers kept asking for a book that had sold out - the second impression of Animal Farm. He left the counter, read the single copy left in the postal order department, went to London and bought the American rights. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, and with the end of the War in sight, Orwell felt his old desire growing to be somehow in the thick of the action. David Astor asked him to act as a war correspondent for the Observer to cover the liberation of France and the early occupation of Germany, so Orwell left Tribune to do so. He was a close friend of Astor (some say the model for the wealthy publisher in Keep the Aspidistra Flying), and his ideas had a strong influence on Astor's editorial policies. Astor, who died in 2001, is buried in the grave next to Orwell. Orwell and his wife adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, born in May 1944. Orwell was taken ill again in Cologne in spring 1945. While he was sick there, his wife died during an operation in Newcastle to remove a tumour. She had not told him about this operation due to concerns about the cost and the fact that she thought she would make a speedy recovery. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work - mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines - with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Originally, Orwell was undecided between titling the book The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four but his publisher, Fredric Warburg, helped him choose. The title was not the year Orwell had initially intended. He first set his story in 1980, but, as the time taken to write the book dragged on (partly because of his illness), that was changed to 1982 and, later, to 1984. He wrote much of the novel while living at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, which lies in the Gulf stream off the west coast of Scotland. It was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near to the northern end of the island, lying at the end of a five-mile (8 km) heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the laird or landowner, Margaret Fletcher, lived and where the paved road, the only road on the island, came to an end. In 1948, he co-edited a collection entitled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In 1949, Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which the Labour government had set up to publish anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until 2003, consists mainly of journalists (among them the editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin) but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin. Orwell's motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping a friend in a cause - anti-Stalinism - that they both supported. There is no indication that Orwell abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings - or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell's list was also accurate: the people on it had all made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In fact, one of the people on the list, Peter Smollett, the head of the Soviet section in the Ministry of Information, was later (after the opening of KGB archives) proven to be a Soviet agent, recruited by Kim Philby, and ‘almost certainly the person on whose advice the publisher Jonathan Cape turned down Animal Farm as an unhealthily anti-Soviet text', although Orwell was unaware of this. In October 1949, shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis. He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints' Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: ‘Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903, died January 21, 1950'; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. He had wanted to be buried in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die, but the graveyards in central London had no space. Fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see if any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. Orwell's friend David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be buried there, although he had no connection with the village. Orwell's son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.







Woodson, Carter G. and Wesley, Charles H.. The Negro in Our History. Washington DC. 1966. Associated Publishers. 11th Edition. 863 pages. hardcover. 


negro in our history 11th editionFROM THE PUBLISHER -


The purpose in writing this book was to present to the average reader in succinct form the history of the United States as it has been influenced by the presence of the Negro in this country. The aim here is to supply also the need of schools long since desiring such a work in handy form with adequate references for those stimulated to more advanced study. In this condensed form certain situations and questions could not be adequately discussed, and in endeavoring thus to tell the story the author may have left unsaid what others consider more important. Practically all phases of Negro life and history have been treated in their various ramifications, however, to demonstrate how the Negro has been influenced by contact with the Caucasian and to emphasize what the former has contributed to civilization. The author is indebted to Mr. David A. Lane, Jr., who kindly assisted him in reading the entire proof. - CARTER G. WOODSON, WASHINGTON, D. C. April, 1922.



Woodson Carter G and Wesley Charles HAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Carter Godwin Woodson (December 19, 1875 - April 3, 1950) was an African-American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Woodson was one of the first scholars to study African-American history. A founder of The Journal of Negro History in 1915, Woodson has been cited as the "father of black history". In February 1926 he launched the celebration of "Negro History Week", the precursor of Black History Month. Charles Harris Wesley (December 2, 1891 - August 16, 1987) was an American historian, educator, minister, and author. He published more than 15 books on African-American history, served as president of Wilberforce University, and founding president of Central State University, both in Ohio.











Hooker, Juliet. Black Grief/White Grievance: The Politics of Loss. Princeton. 2023. Princeton University Press. 9780691243030.  341 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Heather Hansen.

9780691243030FROM THE PUBLISHER -


In democracies, citizens must accept loss; we can’t always be on the winning side. But in the United States, the fundamental civic capacity of being able to lose is not distributed equally. Propped up by white supremacy, whites (as a group) are accustomed to winning; they have generally been able to exercise political rule without having to accept sharing it. Black citizens, on the other hand, are expected to be political heroes whose civic suffering enables progress toward racial justice. In this book, Juliet Hooker, a leading thinker on democracy and race, argues that the two most important forces driving racial politics in the United States today are Black grief and white grievance. Black grief is exemplified by current protests against police violence—the latest in a tradition of violent death and subsequent public mourning spurring Black political mobilization. The potent politics of white grievance, meanwhile, which is also not new, imagines the United States as a white country under siege. Drawing on African American political thought, Hooker examines key moments in US racial politics that illuminate the problem of loss in democracy. She connects today’s Black Lives Matter protests to the use of lynching photographs to arouse public outrage over post–Reconstruction era racial terror, and she discusses Emmett Till’s funeral as a catalyst for the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. She also traces the political weaponization of white victimhood during the Obama and Trump presidencies. Calling for an expansion of Black and white political imaginations, Hooker argues that both must learn to sit with loss, for different reasons and to different ends.

Hooker JulietAUTHOR BIOGRAPHY - Juliet Hooker is the Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Political Science at Brown University. She is the author of Race and the Politics of Solidarity and Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos, which was awarded the American Political Science Association’s 2018 Ralph Bunche Book Award for the best work in ethnic and cultural pluralism and the 2018 Best Book Award of the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.
















Kavan, Anna. I Am Lazarus. London. 1945. Jonathan Cape. 146 pages. hardcover.  


i am lazarus jonathan cape 1945 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -


Short stories addressing the surreal realities of mental illness, from an incredible cult writer often compared to Kafka and Woolf. The tortured life of Anna Kavan brought her some reward in terms of great pieces of art. Her drug addiction bore fruit in the Julia and the Bazooka collection of stories; while this companion volume recalls her experience of the asylum—powerful, haunting works which can be harrowing but are full of sympathy too.




Kavan AnnaAnna Kavan (1901–1968) was a novelist, short story writer, and painter. Her works include Asylum Piece, Ice, and Sleep Has His House. She has been often compared to Djuna Barnes, Franz Kafka, Anaïs Nin, and Virginia Woolf. She was a long-term heroin addict and suffered periodic bouts of mental illness, and these facets of her life feature prominently in her novels and short stories.








Chauvet, Marie. Dance On the Volcano. New York. 1959. William Sloane Associates. Translated from the French by Salvator Attanasio. 376 pages. hardcover.  Jacket design by Charles Walker.


dance on the volcanoFROM THE PUBLISHER -


18th-century Haiti: gaiety hid smouldering violence, the 'dance on the volcano.' Lovely young Minette sang her way to fame - to tragedy and great love. . . If you read for history, here are the political and emotional tides, the passionate men and women who brought about the Slave Rebellions of Haiti which were sparked by the French Revolution. If you read for drama, it is in every mood and movement of the story, Minette was the first colored person to entertain a white audience in Port-au-Prince, She became a great star. She also became passionately involved in the fight for freedom. The Comedie du Port-au-Prince was desperate for new talent when Minette made her appearance. The daughter of a freed slave and a white planter, she had a voice in a thousand. And she was lovely, with her creamy skin and great, slanted eyes. Excited crowds applauded her to fame. But she met the pain and humiliation of prejudice, too; met them with pride. She reached out for love - and thought she had found it in Jean Baptiste Papointe, a man of color who had risen to the status of a rich planter with slaves of his own. Warped by his struggle against bitter prejudice, he could be hard and cruel. But he needed Minette's love. These two and the people around them give the rich texture of living history to this exceptionally fine story. It is based on contemporary records, Through them Mme. Chauvet, Haitian herself, recaptures the vivid life of the island - the white creoles, the people of color, the French military - along with the tragedy and hopes and heroism of the time. Marie Chauvet lived with her husband and children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she was born. She was interested in writing all her life and was firmly launched on a literary career long before it was considered suitable for a girl. Her first love was the theatre, and as a child she wrote a number of plays performed in private by her young friends, with the author acting as director and stage manager. Mme. Chauvet's professional start came, however, with a prize-winning short story.


The 1st British edition:


dance on the volcano heinemannChauvet, Marie. Dance On the Volcano. London. 1959. Heinemann. Translated from the French by Salvator Attanasio. 329 pages. hardcover. Wrapper design by Peter Edwards.






And now in a new translation...










Chauvet, Marie. Dance On the Volcano. Brooklyn. 2016. Archipelago Books. Translated from the French by Kaiama L. Glover. 493 pages. paperback.






Vieux Chauvet MarieMarie Vieux Chauvet (1916–1973) was a Haitian novelist. Born and educated in Port-au-Prince, her most famous works were the novels Fille d'Haïti (1954), La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), Fonds des Nègres (1961), and Amour, Colère, Folie (1969). The trilogy Amour, Colère, Folie was published by Gallimard press in Paris with the support of Simone de Beauvoir. The trilogy was perceived as an attack on the Haitian despot François Duvalier. Fearing the dictator's legions of Tonton Macoutes, her husband bought all the copies of the book he could find in Haiti, and Chauvet's daughters bought the remaining copies from Gallimard in Paris a few years later. She died in the United States of America.





The three Commissioner Jan Argond mysteries of Julian Rathbone:


Rathbone, Julian. The Euro-Killers. New York. 1980. Pantheon Books. 0394509021. 256 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by Stanislaw Zagorski. 




Julian Rathbone, whose many detective stories have been highly praised, and whose historical novel, JOSEPH, has just been nominated for Britain’s prestigious Booker prize, turns in this book to a totally new genre. He has written a genuinely intriguing political thriller that deserves the comparisons to Sjowall and Wahloo that are bound to be made. Wolfgang Herm, wealthy and brilliant creator of multinational EUREAC, disappears on the eve of the fulfillment of a project that threatens one of the last patches of wilderness in the coastal fens of northern Europe. Argand, the honest police commissioner, investigates. Not one but two ransom demands are delivered; sudden death and assassination follow; and through the widening confusion that includes demonstrations, urban terrorism, and even a football riot, we glimpse, in the final denouement, an abyss of greed and corruption. With deadly conviction Julian Rathbone exposes some of the forces and contradictions which threaten Western society, and the puny resistance of the unorganized few who care—eco-freaks, drop-outs, and ordinary men and women of good will. The result is a taut, suspense-filled novel which will add to Rathbone’s reputation as a writer who produces splendid entertainment, yet who demands to be taken seriously.



0394509110Rathbone, Julian. Base Case. New York. 1981. Pantheon Books. 0394509110. 189 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by Amy Rowen. 


Still convalescent from mental illness induced by his last assignment, Jan Argand, the ‘Honest Commissioner’ from Brabt, is sent to the Virtue Islands to advise on security for IBOBRAS, a Spanish-based construction firm contracted by the Americans to build a nuclear base there. A device explodes uncomfortably near him at Madrid airport, and on reaching Santa Caridad, Argand discovers that his document case has been switched for one containing six kilos of heroin. Convinced that he is to be killed, or at least framed, he sets out to track down his enemies and unwittingly stumbles into a web of intrigue and corruption, involving local government officials, wealthy industrialists, a highly successful gem dealer and even a couple of participants in a literary congress, whose events curiously overlap with Argand’s activities. In this sequel to THE EURO-KILLERS, which was acclaimed by Professor Winks of Yale as one of the most historically important thrillers ever written, Julian Rathbone excels again at combining a taut, exciting plot with serious topical issues, not the least of which are those that arise when a community is asked to support the nuclear weapons of a superpower. In the age of the cruise missile, BASE CASE may prove closer to home than the exotic Virtue Islands where it is set.



0394532813Rathbone, Julian. Watching the Detectives. New York. 1984. Pantheon Books. 0394532813. 232 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration by Susannah Kelly. 


Commissioner Jan Argond of Brabt, whose integrity has so often embarrassed his superiors, now heads the Bureau of Advice and Investigation, set up to handle complaints against the police themselves. His initial inquiries uncover a series of disturbing cases of police brutality, racism, and harassment of homosexuals. Mysteriously though, many of the complaints are withdrawn, and Argand gradually realizes that suspicions he had originally dismissed as products of his own paranoia point to a depth of governmental deception almost too bitter for him to accept. The plot widens to include an extreme left-wing group that may harbor terrorists; a vast antinuclear demonstration that turns into a near massacre when State Troopers move in; the murder of one of Argand’s own team; and an attempt on the life of Argand himself. WATCHING THE DETECTIVES is a highly topical and possibly prophetic novel. Interweaving the most urgent political concerns of Europe and the United States with his usual skill and convincing subtlety, Rathbone has written a gripping story of a nation’s, and an individual’s, response to a potently unexpected threat. This is a distinguished successor to Rathbone’s two previous Argand novels, the EURO-KILLERS and BASE CASE.



Rathbone JulianJulian Christopher Rathbone (10 February 1935 – 28 February 2008) was an English novelist. Various threads run through Rathbone's novels over their forty-year span. Standing firmly in the 19th Century tradition with its belief in the primacy of the writer's imagination and its consequent freedom to explore human life in all its aspects, Rathbone always refused to be tied to a single genre, time or place or character in undertaking this exploration.









Pick up Slow Horses and you will not want to stop until you have read all of the Slough House novels. I frequently found myself  laughing out loud while reading these books, and even emitting the occasional gasp. Haven't read a series this good in a long time.


Herron, Mick. Slow Horses: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2020. Soho Press. . With a new preface and an exclusive short story. 334 pages. Paperback. Front cover design by David Litman. Cover photo by Steven Granville. 


9781641292979FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Welcome to the thrilling and unnervingly prescient world of the slow horses. This team of MI5 agents is united by one common bond: They've screwed up royally and will do anything to redeem themselves. This special tenth-anniversary deluxe edition of a modern classic includes a foreword by the author, discussion questions for book clubs, and an exclusive short story featuring the slow horses. London, England: Slough House is where washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what's left of their failed careers. The slow horses, as they're called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated there. Maybe they botched an Op so badly they can't be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle--not unusual in this line of work. One thing they have in common, though, is they want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there - even if it means having to collaborate with one another. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, the slow horses see an opportunity to redeem themselves. But is the victim really who he appears to be?



Herron, Mick. Dead Lions: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2013. Soho Press. 9781616952259. 347 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by James Jacobelli. Jacket photograph: Lorna Clark/Getty Images. 

9781616952259FROM THE PUBLISHER –


The CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning British espionage novel about disgraced MI5 agents who inadvertently uncover a deadly Cold War-era legacy of sleeper cells and mythic super spies. The disgruntled agents of Slough House, the MI5 branch where washed-up spies are sent to finish their failed careers on desk duty, are called into action to protect a visiting Russian oligarch whom MI5 hopes to recruit to British intelligence. While two agents are dispatched on that babysitting job, though, an old Cold War-era spy named Dickie Bow is found dead, ostensibly of a heart attack, on a bus outside of Oxford, far from his usual haunts.  But the head of Slough House, the irascible Jackson Lamb, is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade's circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?



Herron, Mick. Real Tigers: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2016. Soho Press. 9781616956127. 327 pages. hardcover.  


9781616956127FROM THE PUBLISHER –


When one of their own is kidnapped, the washed-up MI5 operatives of Slough House--the Slow Horses, as they're known--outwit rogue agents at the very highest levels of British Intelligence, and even to Downing Street itself. London: Slough House is the MI5 branch where disgraced operatives are reassigned after they've messed up too badly to be trusted with real intelligence work. The Slow Horses, as the failed spies of Slough House are called, are doomed to spend the rest of their careers pushing paper, but they all want back in on the action. When one of their own is kidnapped and held for ransom, the agents of Slough House must defeat the odds, overturning all expectations of their competence, to breach the top-notch security of MI5's intelligence headquarters, Regent's Park, and steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade's safety. The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however--the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries but the highest authorities in the Secret Service. After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the Slow Horses suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself.



Herron, Mick. Spook Street: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2017. Soho Press. 9781616956479. 310 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by James Iacobelli. Jacket photo: Robert Evans/Getty Images. 

9781616956479FROM THE PUBLISHER –


What happens when an old spook loses his mind? Does the Service have a retirement home for those who know too many secrets but don’t remember they’re secret? Or does someone take care of the senile spy for good? These are the paranoid concerns of David Cartwright, a Cold War–era operative and one-time head of MI5 who is sliding into dementia, and questions his grandson, River, must figure out answers to now that the spy who raised him has started to forget to wear pants. But River, himself an agent at Slough House, MI5’s outpost for disgraced spies, has other things to worry about. A bomb has detonated in the middle of a busy shopping center and killed forty innocent civilians. The slow horses of Slough House must figure out who is behind this act of terror before the situation escalates.




Herron, Mick. London Rules: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2018. Soho Press. 9781616959616. 327 pages. hardcover. Front cover art: BBA Travel/Alamy Stock Photo. Jacket design: Janine Agro. 


9781616959616FROM THE PUBLISHER –


Ian Fleming. John le Carre. Len Deighton. Mick Herron. The brilliant plotting of Herron's twice CWA Dagger Award-winning Slough House series of spy novels is matched only by his storytelling gift and an ear for viciously funny political satire. At MI5 headquarters Regent's Park, First Desk Claude Whelan is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; from the PM's favorite Muslim, who's about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands, despite the dark secret he's hiding; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble. Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by an apparently random string of terror attacks. Over at Slough House, the MI5 satellite office for outcast and demoted spies, the agents are struggling with personal problems: repressed grief, various addictions, retail paralysis, and the nagging suspicion that their newest colleague is a psychopath. Plus someone is trying to kill Roddy Ho. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength--that of making a bad situation much, much worse. It's a good thing Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves. Mick Herron is the John le Carre of our generation. --Val McDermid.



Herron, Mick. Joe Country: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2019. Soho Press. 9781641290555. 347 pages. hardcover. Cover art: Top - Sung Kuk Kim/123RF; Bottom - Crestock Royalty-Free/Masterfile. Jacket design: Janine Agro. 

9781641290555FROM THE PUBLISHER –


If Spook Street is where spies live, Joe Country is where they go to die. In Slough House, the London outpost for disgraced MI5 spies, memories are stirring, all of them bad. Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Louisa Guy is raking over the ashes of lost love, and new recruit Lech Wicinski, whose sins make him an outcast even among the slow horses, is determined to discover who destroyed his career, even if he tears his life apart in the process. Meanwhile, in Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil. And with winter taking its grip, Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible for killing a slow horse breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.



Herron, Mick. Slough House: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2021. Soho Press. 9781641292368. 303 pages. hardcover. Front cover design: David Litman, Cover art: Lamarr Golding/EyeEm/Getty. 


9781641292368FROM THE PUBLISHER –


Brexit is in full swing. And due to mysterious accidents, the Slough Houses ranks continue to thin. The seventh entry to the Slough House series is as thrilling and bleeding-edge relevant as ever. A year after a calamitous blunder by the Russian secret service left a British citizen dead from novichok poisoning, Diana Taverner is on the warpath. What seems a gutless response from the government has pushed the Service's First Desk into mounting her own counter-offensive--but she's had to make a deal with the devil first. And given that the devil in question is arch-manipulator Peter Judd, she could be about to lose control of everything she's fought for. Meanwhile, still reeling from recent losses, the slow horses are worried they've been pushed further into the cold. Slough House has been wiped from Service records, and fatal accidents keep happening. No wonder Jackson Lamb's crew are feeling paranoid. But have they actually been targeted? With a new populist movement taking a grip on London's streets, and the old order ensuring that everything's for sale to the highest bidder, the world's an uncomfortable place for those deemed surplus to requirements. The wise move would be to find a safe place and wait for the troubles to pass. But the slow horses aren't famed for making wise decisions. And with enemies on all sides, not even Jackson Lamb can keep his crew from harm.



Herron, Mick. Bad Actors: A Slough House Novel. New York. 2022. Soho Press. 9781641293372. 360 pages. hardcover. 


9781641293372FROM THE PUBLISHER –


Mick Herron, the le Carré of the future (BBC), expands his world of bad spies with an even shadier cast of characters: the politicians, lobbyists, and misinformation agents pulling the levers of government policy. Confirms Mick Herron as the best spy novelist now working.—NPR's Fresh Air. Now an Apple TV+ series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas. In London's MI5 headquarters a scandal is brewing that could disgrace the entire intelligence community. The Downing Street superforecaster—a specialist who advises the Prime Minister's office on how policy is likely to be received by the electorate—has disappeared without a trace. Claude Whelan, who was once head of MI5, has been tasked with tracking her down. But the trail leads him straight back to Regent's Park itself, with First Desk Diana Taverner as chief suspect. Has Taverner overplayed her hand at last? Meanwhile, her Russian counterpart, Moscow intelligence's First Desk, has cheekily showed up in London and shaken off his escort. Are the two unfortunate events connected? Over at Slough House, where Jackson Lamb presides over some of MI5's most embittered demoted agents, the slow horses are doing what they do best, and adding a little bit of chaos to an already unstable situation . . .  There are bad actors everywhere, and they usually get their comeuppance before the credits roll. But politics is a dirty business, and in a world where lying, cheating and backstabbing are the norm, sometimes the good guys can find themselves outgunned.




Herron Mick Mick Herron is a bestselling and award-winning novelist and short story writer, best known for his Slough House thrillers. The series has been adapted into a TV series starring Oscar-winning actor Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb. Raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, Herron studied English Literature at Oxford, where he continues to live. After some years writing poetry, he turned to fiction, and – despite a daily commute into London, where he worked as a sub editor – found time to write about 350 words a day. His first novel, Down Cemetery Road, was published in 2003. This was the start of Herron’s Zoë Boehm series, set in Oxford and featuring detective Zoë Boehm and civilian Sarah Tucker. The other books in the series are The Last Voice You Hear, Why We Die, and Smoke and Whispers, set in his native Newcastle. During the same period he wrote a number of short stories, many of which appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. In 2008, inspired by world events, Mick began writing the Slough House series, featuring MI5 agents who have been exiled from the mainstream for various offences. The first novel, Slow Horses, was published in 2010. Some years later, it was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the twenty greatest spy novels of all time. The Slough House novels have been published in 20 languages; have won both the CWA Steel and Gold daggers; have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year four times; and have won Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz prize. Mick is also the author of the highly acclaimed novels Reconstruction, This is What Happened and Nobody Walks.







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