John Kennedy Toole—who won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his best-selling comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces—wroteThe 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.
John Kennedy Toole's hilarious satire, A Confederacy of Dunces is a Don Quixote for the modern age, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a foreword by Walker Percy. Never published during his lifetime, John Kennedy Toole's masterful comic novel takes its title, as well asfrom Jonathan Swift A monument to sloth, rant and contempt, a behemoth of fat, flatulence and furious suspicion of anything modern - this is Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, noble crusader against a world of dunces. The ordinary folk of New Orleans seem to think he is unhinged. Ignatius ignores them, heaving his vast bulk through the city's fleshpots in a noble crusade against vice, modernity and ignorance. But his momma has a nasty surprise in store for him: Ignatius must get a job. Undaunted, he uses his new-found employment to further his mission - and now he has a pirate costume and a hot-dog cart to do it with... John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969) was born in New Orleans. He received a master's degree in English from Columbia University and taught at Hunter College and at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He wrote A Confederacy of Dunces in the early sixties and tried unsuccessfully to get the novel published; depressed, at least in part by his failure to place the book, he committed suicide in 1969. It was only through the tenacity of his mother that her son's book was eventually published and found the audience it deserved, winning the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His long-suppressed novel The Neon Bible, written when he was only sixteen, was eventually published as well. If you enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces, you might like Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities ... it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue'The New York Times
Regarded by many as the finest, and funniest, comic novel of the twentieth century, Lucky Jim remains as trenchant, withering, and eloquently misanthropic as when it first scandalized readers in 1954. This is the story of Jim Dixon, a hapless lecturer in medieval history at a provincial university who knows better than most that “there was no end to the ways in which nice things are nicer than nasty ones.” Amis’s scabrous debut leads the reader through a gallery of emphatically English bores, cranks, frauds, and neurotics, with each of whom Dixon must contend in one way or another in order to hold on to his cushy academic perch and win the girl of his fancy. More than just a merciless satire of cloistered college life and stuffy post-war manners, Lucky Jim is an attack on the forces of boredom, whatever form they may take, and a work of art that at once distills and extends an entire tradition of English comic writing, from Fielding and Dickens through Wodehouse and Waugh. As Christopher Hitchens has written, “if you can picture Bertie or Jeeves being capable of actual malice, and simultaneously imagine Evelyn Waugh forgetting about original sin, you have the combination of innocence and experience that makes this short romp so imperishable.”
Traces the life and early death of the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces, recounting Toole's upbringing in New Orleans, the crushing difficulties he faced while trying to publish his posthumously acclaimed novel and his untimely suicide.
Alfred White, a London park keeper, rules his home with a mixture of ferocity and tenderness that has estranged his three children. But family ties are strong, and when Alfred collapses on duty one day, they rush to be with him. His daughter's partner, Elroy, a black social worker, is brought face to face with Alfred's younger son Dirk, who hates and fears all black people, and the scene is set for violence, forcing Alfred's wife May to choose between justice and kinship. This groundbreaking novel takes on the taboo subject of racial hatred as it looks at love, hatred, sex, comedy and death in an ordinary British family. The White Family points to new directions in British writing. Full of power and passion, as well as somte timely warnings, this is one of the year's finest novels, and it deserves the widest possible readership.' Literary Review Intensely touching, full of ironies, situational and verbal, [and] brilliantly connected with contemporary society.' Financial Times The White Family tackles an unspeakable subject with quiet courage. Beautifully written, it tells the complex story of racism from the point of view of the perpetrators. The result is an astonishing examination of the changes, complexities and difficulties at the heart of a multi-ethnic suburban community.' The Big Issue A transcendent work, splitting open a family to bare the rough edges of prejudice, self-righteousness and petulant self-justification that we all recognise. The words of James Baldwin resonate throughout: “Books taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the things that connected me to everyone who was alive and who had ever been alive.' Daily Telegraph Gee's book is bold because of her willingness to write about the living, shifting present. An unashamedly contemporary novel - a millennium novel, if you like - that embraces the ideological and emotional chaos of our times. The Independent Skilful structure and tender, precise prose.' The Observer Picking up where Toni Morrison leaves off, Gee reminds us that racism not only devastates the lives of its victims, but also those of its perpetrators. Like Eugene O'Neill, Maggie Gee moves skilfully between compassion and disgust.' TLS Elegant style and an expert ear for dialogue ... courageous, honest, powerfully real and not a little disturbing.' The Times Full of good writing.' The Spectator Maggie Gee is one of our most ambitious and challenging novelists.' The Spectator The White Family is an audacious, groundbreaking conditionof- England novel which tilts expertly at a middle class fallacy that racism is something “out there”, in the football terraces or the sink estates ... Finely judged and compulsively readable.' The Guardian Outstanding ... tender, sexy and alarming.' Jim Crace A brilliant depiction of British society.' Bernardine Evaristo
Universally and repeatedly praised ever since it first appeared in 1983, Modern Baptists is the book that launched novelist James Wilcox's career and debuted the endearingly daft community of Tula Springs, Louisiana. It's the tale of Bobby Pickens, assistant manager of Sonny Boy Bargain Store, who gains a new lease on life, though he almost comes to regret it. Bobby's handsome half brother F.X. -- ex-con, ex-actor, and ex-husband three times over -- moves in, and things go awry all over town. Mistaken identities; entangled romances with Burma, Toinette, and Donna Lee; assault and battery; charges of degeneracy; a nervous breakdown -- it all comes to a head at a Christmas Eve party in a cabin on a poisoned swamp. This is sly, madcap romp that offers readers the gift of abundant laughter. Modern Baptists was included in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon, in GQ magazine's forty-fifth anniversary issue as one of the best works of fiction in the past forty-five years, and among Toni Morrison's "favorite works by unsung writers" in U.S. News and World Report.
Agastya Sen, the hero of English, August, is a child of the Indian elite. His father is the governor of Bengal. His friends go to Yale and Harvard. He himself has secured a position in the most prestigious and exclusive of Indian government agencies, the IAS. Agastya's first assignment is to the town of Madna, buried deep in the provinces. There he meets a range of eccentrics worthy of a novel by Evelyn Waugh. Agastya himself smokes a lot of pot and drinks a lot of beer, finds ingenious excuses to shirk work, loses himself in sexual fantasies about his boss's wife, and makes caustic asides to coworkers and friends. And yet he is as impatient with his own restlessness as he is with anything else. Agastya's effort to figure out a place in the world is faltering and fraught with comic missteps. Chatterjee's novel, an Indian Catcher in the Rye with a wild humor and lyricism that are all its own, is at once spiritual quest and a comic revue. It offers a glimpse an Indian reality that proves no less compelling than the magic realism of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy.
How do we see the world around us? The Penguin on Design series includes the works of creative thinkers whose writings on art, design and the media have changed our vision forever. Bruno Munari was among the most inspirational designers of all time, described by Picasso as ‘the new Leonardo’. Munari insisted that design be beautiful, functional and accessible, and this enlightening and highly entertaining book sets out his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design and the role it plays in the objects we use everyday. Lamps, road signs, typography, posters, children’s books, advertising, cars and chairs – these are just some of the subjects to which he turns his illuminating gaze.
When Dr Philip Raven, an intellectual working for the League of Nations, dies in 1930 he leaves behind a powerful legacy - an unpublished 'dream book'. Inspired by visions he has experienced for many years, it appears to be a book written far into the future: a history of humanity from the date of his death up to 2105. The Shape of Things to Come provides this 'history of the future', an account that was in some ways remarkably prescient - predicting climatic disaster and sweeping cultural changes, including a Second World War, the rise of chemical warfare, and political instabilities in the Middle East.
In this National Book Award­–winning novel, a young man, torn between the forces of tradition and change, searches for meaning in postwar America. On the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is a lost soul. A stockbroker and member of an established New Orleans family, Binx’s one escape is the movie theater that transports him from the falseness of his life. With Mardi Gras in full swing, Binx, along with his cousin Kate, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him. Buoyant yet powerful, The Moviegoer is a poignant indictment of modern values, and an unforgettable story of a week that will change two lives forever. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Walker Percy including rare photos from the author’s estate.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED TO IGNATIUS J. REILLY? In this parody of A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole, John Kennedy Toole Jr. plunges Ignatius J. Reilly into a New York City winter wonderland, where our Falstaffian hero inadvertently becomes vice president of the Charlie Chan Chinese Fortune Cookie Company, and where he finds a recently unearthed slip of paper that contains an occult secret for overthrowing the governments of the world (in a most unusual way, of course). Ignatius's parodic adventures would not be complete without his nemesis-friend, Myrna Minkoff. Add to the mix her parents, Mr. Minkoff and Mrs. Minkoff, two inept government agents (is there a redundancy here?), Ignatius's mother, his mother's fiance, a virago or two, John Kennedy Toole, Ed Sullivan, and Myrna's concupiscent grandmother, Grandmother Horowitz, and you have the ingredients for a parody unlike any other ever written. With a foreword by Franz-Heinrich Katecki."
Julian Barnes's new selection of stories by Frank O'Connor displays to the fullest his versatility, humour and insight in tales about childhood and marriage, sex and religion, war and old age. Here, O'Connor depicts young boys convinced of their own genius or locked in hilarious rivalry with their fathers, and IRA soldiers who must make heartbreaking decisions in the midst of a baffling war. In other tales an old woman threatens to haunt her son if he fails to bury her at her old home, while a scandal threatens to ignite when a floral wreath is sent anonymously to a priest's funeral. In these beautiful evocations of ordinary life - both comic and tragic - O'Connor portrays small moments that take us to the psychological truth at the hart of his characters.
History was written nearly thirty years after Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia spent a year in hiding among remote farming villages in the mountains south of Rome. There she witnessed the full impact of the war and first formed the ambition to write an account of what history - the great political events driven by men of power, wealth, and ambition - does when it reaches the realm of ordinary people struggling for life and bread. The central character in this powerful and unforgiving novel is Ida Mancuso, a schoolteacher whose husband has died and whose feckless teenage son treats the war as his playground. A German soldier on his way to North Africa rapes her, falls in love with her, and leaves her pregnant with a boy whose survival becomes Ida's passion. Around these two other characters come and go, each caught up by the war which is like a river in flood. We catch glimpses of bombing raids, street crimes, a cattle car from which human cries emerge, an Italian soldier succumbing to frostbite on the Russian front, the dumb endurance of peasants who have lived their whole lives with nothing and now must get by with less than nothing.
"Teaches more than how to read a particular novel; it teaches us more profoundly how to read anything. This, I think, is the book's main virtue. It teaches us readers to transform the brute fact of our world."--Hugh Kenner
"Ken has a real gift for mimicry and a refined sense of the absurd . . . the English faculty . . .both fear and court Ken because of his biting comic talent." --from Joel L. Fletcher's journal John Kennedy Toole's first published novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, which Walker Percy called a"gargantuan tumultuous human tragi-comedy," became a publishing phenomenon, with almost two million copies in print worldwide in eighteen languages. The book's outrageous protagonist, Ignatius Reilly, is an icon of contemporary American fiction.Now Ken and Thelma sheds new light on the tragic life story of the author, known as 'Ken' to his friends. Drawing on his own journals and personal letters, Joel L. Fletcher recreates his friendship with Ken in the early 1960s and his long association with Ken's indomitable mother, Thelma Ducoing Toole, after the book's publication. Ken and Thelma features personal photographs, many never before published.
Includes "The Divine Comedy," "The New Life," and other selected poems, prose, and letters accompanied by biographical and introductory sections.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Darkmans is an exhilarating, extraordinary examination of the ways in which history can play jokes on us all... If History is just a sick joke which keeps on repeating itself, then who exactly might be telling it, and why? Could it be John Scogin, Edward IV's infamous court jester, whose favorite pastime was to burn people alive - for a laugh? Or could it be Andrew Boarde, Henry VIII's physician, who kindly wrote John Scogin's biography? Or could it be a tiny Kurd called Gaffar whose days are blighted by an unspeakable terror of - uh - salad? Or a beautiful, bulimic harpy with ridiculously weak bones? Or a man who guards Beckley Woods with a Samurai sword and a pregnant terrier? Darkmans is a very modern book, set in Ashford [a ridiculously modern town], about two very old-fashioned subjects: love and jealousy. It's also a book about invasion, obsession, displacement and possession, about comedy, art, prescription drugs and chiropody. And the main character? The past, which creeps up on the present and whispers something quite dark - quite unspeakable - into its ear. The third of Nicola Barker's narratives of the Thames Gateway, Darkmans is an epic novel of startling originality.
“What would happen if Harry met Sally in the age of Tinder and Snapchat? . . . A field guide to Millennial dating in New York City” (New York Daily News). When New York–based graphic designers and long-time friends Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh found themselves single at the same time, they decided to try an experiment. The old adage says that it takes 40 days to change a habit—could the same be said for love? So they agreed to date each other for 40 days, record their experiences in questionnaires, photographs, videos, texts, and artworks, and post the material on a website they would create for this purpose. What began as a small experiment between two friends became an Internet sensation, drawing 5 million unique (and obsessed) visitors from around the globe to their site and their story. 40 Days of Dating: An Experiment is a beautifully designed, expanded look at the experiment and the results, including a great deal of material that never made it onto the site, such as who they were as friends and individuals before the 40 days and who they have become since.
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.
Hoping to get out of Russia and return to his adopted home in the U.S., Misha Vainberg, the obese son of a wealthy Russian, makes his way to Absurdsvani, a small unstable country on the brink of civil war, where he becomes embroiled in the ridiculous conflict, risks his life, and falls in love, all the while plotting to somehow get to America. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.

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