- To the Scaffold
One of history's most misunderstood figures, Marie Antoinette represents the extravagance and the decadence of pre-Revolution France. Yet there was an innocence about Antoinette, thrust as a child into the chillingly formal French court.
Married to the maladroit, ill-mannered Dauphin, Antoinette found pleasure in costly entertainments and garments. She spent lavishly while her overtaxed and increasingly hostile subjects blamed her for France's plight. In time Antoinette matured into a courageous Queen, and when their enemies finally closed in, Antoinette followed her inept husband to the guillotine in one last act of bravery.
In To the Scaffold, Carolly Erickson provides an estimation of a lost Queen that is psychologically acute, richly detailed, and deeply moving.
- The Sex Life of Food: When Body And Soul Meet To Eat
"The Sex Life Of Food" is a delightful panorama about how our two strongest urges, food and sex, work with one another in surprising ways. Facts and ideas, lavishly flavoured with humour, lead from one observation to another. "Food is Love," writes Crumpacker. "If cooking is foreplay, eating is making love, and doing the dishes is the morning after." A few of the topics that will make readers hunger for "The Sex Life of Food" are: A Freudian look at flour; Food and gender - subconscious symbolism; Hitler the vegetarian; and Cannibalism.
- Small Island
Small Island is an international bestseller. It won the Orange Prize for Fiction, The Orange Prize for Fiction: Best of the Best, The Whitbread Novel Award, The Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It has now been adapted for the screen as a coproduction of the BBC and Masterpiece/WGBH Boston.
Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be received as a hero, but finds his status as a black man in Britain to be second class. His white landlady, Queenie, raised as a farmer's daughter, befriends Gilbert, and later Hortense, with innocence and courage, until the unexpected arrival of her husband, Bernard, who returns from combat with issues of his own to resolve.
Told in these four voices, Small Island is a courageous novel of tender emotion and sparkling wit, of crossings taken and passages lost, of shattering compassion and of reckless optimism in the face of insurmountable barriers---in short, an encapsulation of that most American of experiences: the immigrant's life.
- Letters to a Young Novelist
Mario Vargas Llosa condenses a lifetime of writing, reading, and thought into an essential manual for aspiring writers. Drawing on the stories and novels of writers from around the globe-Borges, Bierce, Celine, Cortazar, Faulkner, Kafka, Robbe-Grillet-he lays bare the inner workings of fiction, all the while urging young novelists not to lose touch with the elemental urge to create. Conversational, eloquent, and effortlessly erudite, this little book is destined to be read and re-read by young writers, old writers, would-be writers, and all those with a stake in the world of letters.
- The Janissary Tree
WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
This first book in the Investigator Yashim series is a richly entertaining tale, full of exotic history and intrigue, introduces Investigator Yashim: In 1830s Istanbul, an extra-ordinary hero tackles an extraordinary plot that threatens to topple the Ottoman Empire
It is 1836. Europe is modernizing, and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the Sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim Lastname, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world. You see, Yashim is a eunuch.
He leads us into the palace's luxurious seraglios and Istanbul's teeming streets, and leans on the wisdom of a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, and a Creole-born queen mother. And he introduces us to the Janissaries. For 400 years, they were the empire's elite soldiers, but they grew too powerful, and ten years ago, the Sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback?