In this sparkling collection of nineteen stories, the bestselling author of Slammerkin returns to contemporary affairs, exposing the private dilemmas that result from some of our most public controversies. A man finds God and finally wants to father a child-only his wife is now forty-two years old. A coach's son discovers his sexuality on the football field. A roommate's bizarre secret liberates a repressed young woman. From the unforeseen consequences of a polite social lie to the turmoil caused by the hair on a woman's chin, Donoghue dramatizes the seemingly small acts upon which our lives often turn. Many of these stories involve animals and what they mean to us, or babies and whether to have them; some replay biblical plots in modern contexts. With characters old, young, straight, gay, and simply confused, Donoghue dazzles with her range and her ability to touch lightly but delve deeply into the human condition.
Emma Donoghue vividly brings to life stories inspired by her discoveries of fascinating, hidden scraps of the past. Here an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, a plague ballad, surgical case notes, theological pamphlets, and an articulated skeleton are ingeniously fleshed out into rollicking, full-bodied fictions.
Whether she's spinning the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon's attempts to "improve" women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an "undead" murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her tales a colorful, elegant prose filled with the sights and smells and sounds of the period. She summons the ghosts of those men and women who counted for nothing in their own day and brings them to unforgettable life in fiction.
When Abigail Thomas's husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his brain shattered. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he must live the rest of his life in an institution. He has no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and great change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude. It is also about her relationship with Rich, a man who lives in the eternal present, and the eerie poetry of his often uncanny perceptions. This wise, plainspoken, beautiful book enacts the truth Abigail discovered in the five years since the accident: You might not find meaning in disaster, but you might, with effort, make something useful of it.
Through aWindow is the dramatic saga of thirty years in the life of an intimately intertwined community one that reads like a novel, but is one of the most important scientific works ever published.The community is Gombe, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where the principal residents are chimpanzees and one extraordinary woman who is their student, protector, and historian. In her classic In the Shadow of Man, Jane Goodall wrote of her first ten years at Gombe. In Through a Window she brings the story up to the present, painting a more complete and vivid portrait of our closest relatives.We watch young Figan's relentless rise to power and old Mike's crushing defeat. We learn how one mother rears her children to succeed and another dooms hers to failure.We witness horrifying murders, touching moments of affection, joyous births, and wrenching deaths. In short, we see every emotion known to humans stripped to its essence. In the mirror of chimpanzee life, we see ourselves reflected.
"At a time when most 20th-century science fiction writers seem hopelessly dated, Dick gives us a vision of the future that captures the feel of our time."--WiredIn the future, most of humanity lives in massive underground bunkers, producing weapons for the nuclear war they've fled. Constantly bombarded by patriotic propaganda, the citizens of these industrial anthills believe they are waiting for the day when the war will be over and they can return aboveground. But when Nick St. James, president of one anthill, makes an unauthorized trip to the surface, what he finds is more shocking than anything he could imagine.
Throughout her years as schoolmistress, Miss Read has gathered excellent accounts of the rich and varied history of her beloved country village, often through neighborly conversation over the gate. Fairacre has garnered its share of odd incidents, entertaining episodes, and village folklore, from an unusual recipe for weight loss found in an old notebook -- and used with alarming consequences -- to the tragic story of the village ghost. With characteristic grace and vigor, Miss Read retells many treasured stories of Fairacre past and present.
Feelings are running high in the Cotswold village of Thrush Green. The rector's plan for the neglected churchyard doesn't meet with universal approval; there is a clash of personalities at the local school; and someone has returned to the village after an absence of fifty years.
A statue of Thrush Green's famous son Nathaniel Patten has graced the village green for years, but little is actually known of him among present-day residents until an unexpected letter arrives.
Open the gate to Fairacre, America's favorite English village.
The two-hundred-year-old cottages known as Tyler's Row, with charming leaded-glass windows and an arched thorn hedge over the gateway, are supposed to provide a haven of peace for their new owners, Peter and Diana Hale. They plan to convert the middle two cottages into one, to create their own rural refuge. But beset by carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and bills, as well as their neighboring tenants, the redoubtable Sergeant Barnaby and the sour Mrs. Fowler, both longtime residents of Tyler's Row, the couple soon have cause to ponder their decision. Fairacre is not the utopia they expect, and the Hales must adapt to ordinary life in a village full of extraordinary quirks.
The first novel in the beloved Fairacre series, VILLAGE SCHOOL introduces the remarkable schoolmistress Miss Read and her lovable group of children, who, with a mixture of skinned knees and smiles, are just as likely to lose themselves as their mittens. This is the English village of Fairacre: a handful of thatch-roofed cottages, a church, the school, the promise of fair weather, friendly faces, and good cheer -- at least most of the time. Here everyone knows everyone else's business, and the villagers like each other anyway (even Miss Pringle, the irascible, gloomy cleaner of Fairacre School). With a wise heart and a discerning eye, Miss Read guides us through one crisp, glistening autumn in her village and introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters and a world of drama, romance, and humor, all within a stone's throw of the school. By the time winter comes, you'll be nestled snugly into the warmth and wit of Fairacre and won't want to leave.
A sci-fi murder mystery set on a mysterious planet, with a twist ending that leaves the reader wondering just what they've been witnessing the whole time. Delmak-O is a dangerous planet. Though there are only fourteen citizens, no one can trust anyone else and death can strike at any moment. The planet is vast and largely unexplored, populated mostly by gelatinous cube-shaped beings that give cryptic advice in the form of anagrams. Deities can be spoken to directly via a series of prayer amplifiers and transmitters, but they may not be happy about it. And the mysterious building in the distance draws all the colonists to it, but when they get there each sees a different motto on the front. The mystery of this structure and the secrets contained within drive this mind-bending novel.
Times are changing in the charming downland village of Fairacre, and Miss Read isn't certain that it's all for the best. The new commuter lifestyle has caused a drop in attendance at the local school, and officials are threatening closure. Miss Read worries about the failing health of Dolly Clare. Vegetable gardens have given way to trips to the Caxley markets, and the traditional village fete now includes a prize for best quiche. With her trademark patience and good humor, Miss Read hopes for the best and plans for the worst as the village grows increasingly modern. Despite all the innovations, Fairacre still retains its essential elements: gentle wit, good manners, and the comfort of caring neighbors.
The enchanting follow-up to Village School, Miss Read's beloved first novel, Village Diary once again transports us to the picturesque English village of Fairacre. Each chapter describes a month in the life of the village school's headmistress, Miss Read. As the villagers prepare for their country pageant, Fairacre welcomes many newcomers, such as the headstrong Amy, Mr. Mawne (whom the villagers would like to see the reluctant Miss Read marry), and the earnest new infants' teacher, Miss Jackson.
This satirical adventure from Philip K. Dick deals with issues of power, class, and politics, set in a world ruled by big-brained elites. In Our Friends from Frolix 8, the world is run by an elite few. And what determines whether one is part of the elite isn't wealth or privilege, but brains. As children, every citizen of Earth is tested; some are found to be super-smart New Men and some are Unusuals, with various psychic powers. The vast majority are Undermen, performing menial jobs in an overpopulated world. Nick Appleton is an Underman, content to go with the flow and eke out an existence as a tire regroover. But after his son is classified as an Underman, Appleton begins to question the hierarchy. Strengthening his resolve, and energizing the resistance movement, is news that the great resistance leader Thors Provoni is returning from a trip to the furthest reaches of space. And he's brought help: a giant, indestructible alien.
"A funny, horribly accurate portrait of a life in California in the Fifties."--Rolling Stone Jack Isidore doesn't see the world like most people. According to his brother-in-law Charlie, hes a crap artist, obsessed with his own bizarre theories and ideas, which he fanatically records in his many notebooks. He is so grossly unequipped for real life that his sister and brother-in-law feel compelled to rescue him from it. But while Fay and Charlie Hume put on a happy face for the world, they prove to be just as sealed off from reality, in thrall to obsessions that are slightly more acceptable than Jack's but a great deal uglier. Their constant fighting and betrayals threaten their own marriage and the relationships of everyone around them. When they bring Jack into their home, he finds himself in the middle of a maelstrom of suburban angst from which he might not be able to escape. Confessions of a Crap Artist is one of Philip K. Dick's most accomplished novels, and the only nonscience fiction novel published in his lifetime.
Miss Read's charming Thrush Green series continues with Friends at Thrush Green. There had been general dismay when Miss Watson and Miss Fogerty retired to Barton-on-the-Sea after many years of devoted service teaching the children of Thrush Green, so their visit to see old friends in the village brings great pleasure. The new headmaster, Alan Lester, is cautiously accepted, but rumor is rife about his wife's health.
Meanwhile, Farmer Percy Hodge is also the subject of local speculation: Is his strange behavior the result of an infatuation with the young Doreen Lilly? As for affairs at the Lovelocks' house, it is increasingly apparent that Bertha Lovelock is now in her dotage and a new and most unfortunate habit is the cause of considerable embarrassment to the good people of Lulling. All these matters and more are faced by our old friends against the familiar background and changing seasons of the English Cotswolds.
Following an inexplicable urge, Ted Barton returns to his idyllic Virginia hometown for a vacation, but when he gets there, he is shocked to discover that the town has utterly changed. The stores and houses are all different and he doesn't recognize anybody. The mystery deepens when he checks the town's historical records . . . and reads that he died nearly twenty years earlier. As he attempts to uncover the secrets of the town, Barton is drawn deeper into the puzzle, and into a supernatural battle that could decide the fate of the universe.
In 2203 anyone can become the ruler of the solar system. There are no elections, no interviews, no prerequisites whatsoever--it all comes down to the random turns of a giant wheel. But when a new Quizmaster takes over, the old one still keeps some rights, namely the right to hire an unending stream of assassins to attempt to kill the new leader. In the wake of the most recent change in leadership, employees of the former ruler scurry to find an assassin who can get past telepathic guards. But when one employee switches sides, troubling facts about the lottery system come to light, and it just might not be possible for anyone to win.
Precognition; a world ruled by Relativism; giant alien jellyfish. The World Jones Made is a classic Philip K. Dick mash-up, taking deep philosophical musings and infusing them with wild action. Floyd Jones has always been able to see exactly one year into his future, a gift and curse that began one year before he was even born. As a fortune-teller at a post-apocalyptic carnival, Jones is a powerful force, and may just be able to force society away from its paralyzing Relativism. If, that is, he can avoid the radioactively unstable government hitman on his tail.
"Marvelous, terrifying fun, especially if youve ever suspected that the world is an unreal construct built solely to keep you from knowing who you really are. Which it is, of course."--Rolling Stone Ragle Gumm has a unique job: every day he wins a newspaper contest. And when he isnt consulting his charts and tables, he enjoys his life in a small town in 1959. At least, thats what he thinks. But then strange things start happening. He finds a phone book where all the numbers have been disconnected, and a magazine article about a famous starlet hes never heard of named Marilyn Monroe. Plus, everyday objects are beginning to disappear and are replaced by strips of paper with words written on them like "bowl of flowers" and "soft drink stand." When Ragle skips town to try to find the cause of these bizarre occurrences, his discovery could make him question everything he has ever known.
On a ravaged Earth, fate and circumstances bring together a disparate group of characters, including a fascist with dreams of a coup, a composer who plays his instrument with his mind, a First Lady who calls all the shots, and the world's last practicing therapist. And they all must contend with an underclass that is beginning to ask a few too many questions, aided by a man called Loony Luke and his very persuasive pet alien. In classic Philip K. Dick fashion, The Simulacra combines time travel, psychotherapy, telekinesis, androids, and Neanderthal-like mutants to create a rousing, mind-bending story where there are conspiracies within conspiracies and nothing is ever what it seems.
A powerful and enigmatic alien recruits humans and aliens to help it restore a sunken cathedral in this touching and hilarious novel. Sometimes even gods need help. In Galactic Pot-Healer that god is an alien creature known as The Glimmung, which looks alternately like a flaming wheel, a teenage girl, and a swirling mass of ocean life. In order to raise a sunken city, he summons beings from across the galaxy to Plowman's Planet. Joe Fernwright is one of those summoned, needed for his skills at pot-healing--repairing broken ceramics. But from the moment Joe arrives on Plowman's Planet, things start to go awry. Told as only Philip K. Dick can, Galactic Pot-Healer is a wildly funny tale of aliens, gods, and ceramics.
In a richly imagined, beautiful new novel, an acclaimed writer gives an epic heroine her voice In The Aeneid, Vergils hero fights to claim the kings daughter, Lavinia, with whom he is destined to found an empire. Lavinia herself never speaks a word. Now, Ursula K. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy, when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.
Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom, until suitors come. Her mother wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreigner--that she will be the cause of a bitter war--and that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her destiny into her own hands. And so she tells us what Vergil did not: the story of her life, and of the love of her life.
Lavinia is a book of passion and war, generous and austerely beautiful, from a writer working at the height of her powers.