Thursday, May 6, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Fiction


Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart Of A Dog

This hilarious, brilliantly inventive novel by the author of The Master and Margarita tells the story of a scroungy Moscow mongrel named Sharik. Thanks to the skills of a renowned Soviet scientist and the transplanted pituitary gland and testes of a petty criminal, Sharik is transformed into a lecherous , vulgar man who spouts Engels and inevitably finds his niche in the bureaucracy as the government official in charge of purging the city of cats.

Heart of a Dog, written in 1925, remained unpublished in the Soviet Union until 1987. Its satire is as ferocious and timely now as when it was written.






Iceberg Slim, Doom Fox

Doom Fox is the last in Iceberg Slim's legendary series of underground novels. Written in 1978 and unpublished until now, Doom Fox is a tale of the Los Angeles ghetto that begins just after World War II and spans the next thirty years. In the no-holds-barred tradition of Chester Himes, Doom Fox captures a violent, vivid world of low-riding chippie-catchers, prizefighters, prostitutes, and smooth-talking preachers.






J.P. Donleavy, The Ginger Man

First published in Paris in 1955, and originally banned in the United States, J. P. Donleavy’s first novel is now recognized the world over as a masterpiece and a modern classic of the highest order.

Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy’s wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne’er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin. He barely has time for his studies and avoids bill collectors, makes love to almost anything in a skirt, and tries to survive without having to descend into the bottomless pit of steady work. Dangerfield’s appetite for women, liquor, and general roguishness is insatiable—and he satisfies it with endless charm.





Hubert Selby Jr., Last Exit To Brooklyn

Last Exit to Brooklyn remains undiminished in its awesome power and magnitude as the novel that first showed us the fierce, primal rage seething in America’s cities. Selby brings out the dope addicts, hoodlums, prostitutes, workers, and thieves brawling in the back alleys of Brooklyn. This explosive best-seller has come to be regarded as a classic of modern American writing.






Alain Robbe-Grillet, Maison de Rendez-vous and The Djinn

La Maison de Rendez-vous
With Hong Kong as the setting, the master of the “new novel” creates a world of crime, intrigue, and passion dominated by Lady Ava’s mysterious Blue Villa. The novella unfolds over the course of only one evening, but the events of that night recur repeatedly, and the same moments are described from the perspectives of different characters. Robbe-Grillet creates an unsettling work that challenges his readers’ ideas about subjectivity and objectivity, fiction and fact, and the entire process of story-telling.
Djinn
A haunting, disorienting, brilliantly constructed novel, Djinn is the story of a young man who joins a clandestine organization under the command of an alluring, androgynous American girl, Djinn. Having agreed to wear dark glasses and carry a cane like a blind man, he comes to realize, through bizarre encounters, recurring visual images, and fractured time sequences he experiences as part of his undisclosed mission, that he is, in a sense, helplessly blind. His search for the meaning of his mission and for possible clues to the identity of the mysterious Djinn, becomes a quest for his own identity in an ever-shifting time-space continuum. His growing obsession with solving the mystery becomes the reader’s own until, through a surprising shift in narrative perspective, the reader too becomes lost in the dimension between past and future.





William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (Hardcover with slipcase)

A commemorative republication of one of the most important and influential novels of the 20th century. This special slipcased hardcover edition features a restored text that is faithful to Burroughs’s original composition, an introduction by David Ulin, as well as reproductions of original manuscript pages and drawings.





John Kennedy Toole, The Neon Bible

John Kennedy Toole—who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces—wrote The Neon Bible for a literary contest at the age of sixteen. The manuscript languished in a drawer and became the subject of a legal battle among Toole’s heirs. It was only in 1989, thirty-five years after it was written and twenty years after Toole’s suicide at thirty-one, that this amazingly accomplished and evocative novel was freed for publication.

The Neon Bible tells the story of David, a young boy growing up in a small Southern town in the 1940s. David’s voice is perfectly calibrated, disarmingly funny, sad, shrewd, gathering force from page to page with an emotional directness that never lapses into sentimentality. Through it we share his awkward, painful, universally recognizable encounter with first love, we participate in boy evangelist Bobbie Lee Taylor’s revival, we meet the pious, bigoted townspeople. From the opening lines of The Neon Bible, David is fully alive, naive yet sharply observant, drawing us into his world through the sure artistry of John Kennedy Toole.





Alfred Jarry: The Man With The Axe (Out of print)

Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) lived fast, died young, and refused to accept objective reality. He was a major influence on later artistic movements such as Dada and Surrealism, and his nihilistic 1896 play, "Ubu Roi," is acknowledged as the turning point in modern drama. In this first English-language biography --illustrated by Bill Griffith--Nigey Lennon presents a vivid, stylish, and empathetic portrait of the man behind Jarry's mytho-absurdist persona, as well as a clear, insightful overview of his writing.





Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives (Hardcover)

"...an extremely unpleasant man...Death does not make you a nicer person.” (Isabel Allende on the death of Roberto Bolano)







Jack Kerouac & William Burroughs, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks

On August 14, 1944, Lucien Carr, a friend of William S. Burroughs from St. Louis, stabbed a man named David Kammerer with a Boy Scout knife and dropped the body into the Hudson River. Kammerer had long fawned over the younger Carr, making romantic advances that, for a time, it seemed Carr didn’t mind. But after six years as the older man’s protégé, either Carr had had enough or he was forced to defend himself. The next day, his clothes stained with blood, he went to his friends Bill Burroughs and Jack Kerouac for help. Doing so, he caught them up in the crime. The two were arrested for failing to inform the police, and a few months later, they were drawn to the crime in a different way.

Something about the murder, with its echoes of Verlaine and Rimbaud, captivated the Beats. Burroughs and Kerouac decided to collaborate on a fictionalization of the events of the summer of 1944, a crime novel in the style of Dashiell Hammett or James M. Cain. They alternated chapters, Burroughs writing as Will Dennison, a bartender steeped in the criminal underworld and Kerouac as Mike Ryko, a hard-drinking merchant marine in dirty chinos. For the title, they settled on a line from a news report they had heard one night while sitting in a bar near Columbus Circle. A circus in Hartford, Connecticut, had caught fire and the radio announcer ended his piece by stating “and the hippos were boiled in their tanks.”

At this point, the writers were far from famous. Burroughs had written next to nothing, and Kerouac, though he had churned out hundreds of thousands of words, had met with little success—it would be five years before his first novel was published. When they submitted the novel to publishers, it was rejected by all, and sat unpublished for decades.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks is an incomparable artifact from the early days of the Beats, a fascinating piece of American literary history, and a remarkable window into the personal lives of two hugely influential writers at the very beginning of their careers. It is also an engaging novel, a hypnotic descent into lust and obsession, drugs and alcohol, art and outsized dreams.






Contemporary Austrian Writing (Hardcover)

Includes poetry, prose, and drama of the modern Austrian period primarily drawn from the magazine Dimension2, as well as Clara S. by Nobel Laureate Elfriede Jelinek, a 60-page play. Other authors represented are Thomas Bernhard, H.C. Artmann, Ernst Jandl, and Friederike Mayrocker.





German Writings Before and After 1945: E. Junger, W. Koeppen, I. Keun, A. Lernet-Holenia, G. Von Rezzori, E. Von Salomon, A. Schmidt(Hardcover)

Includes portions of Ernst Junger's The First Paris Diaries and The Second Paris Diaries; a part of Mars in Aries by Alexander Lernet-Holenia; a selection from The Questionnaire by Ernst von Salomon; a portion from After Midnight by Irmgard Keun; a selection from Wolfgang Koeppen's Death in Rome; Scenes from the Life of a Faun by Arno Schmidt; and Lowinger's Rooming House by Gregor von Rezzori.





Kenzaburo Oe, editor, Crazy Iris, And Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath

Edited by one of Japan’s leading and internationally acclaimed writers, this collection of short stories was compiled to mark the fortieth anniversary of the August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here some of Japan’s best and most representative writers chronicle and re-create the impact of this tragedy on the daily lives of peasants, city professionals, artists, children, and families. From the “crazy” iris that grows out of season to the artist who no longer paints in color, the simple details described in these superbly crafted stories testify to the enormity of change in Japanese life, as well as in the future of our civilization. Included are “The Crazy Iris” by Masuji Ibuse, “Summer Flower” by Tamiki Hara, “The Land of Heart’s Desire” by Tamiki Hara, “Human Ashes” by Katsuzo Oda, “Fireflies” by Yoka Ota, “The Colorless Paintings” by Ineko Sata, “The Empty Can” by Kyoko Hayashi, “The House of Hands” by Mitsuharu Inoue, and “The Rite” by Hiroko Takenishi.





Kenzaburo Oe, Nip The Buds, Shoot The Kids

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids recounts the exploits of fifteen teenage reformatory boys evacuated to a remote mountain village in wartime, where they are feared and detested by the local peasants. When plague breaks out, the villagers flee, blockading the boys inside the deserted town. Their brief attempt to build autonomous lives of self-respect, love, and tribal valor is doomed in the face of death and the adult nightmare of war.



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