Library
Delicious Library
Collection Total:
2,848 Items
Last Updated:
Aug 8, 2019
We Think the World of You
J. R. AckerleyWe Think the World of You combines acute social realism and dark fantasy, and was described by J.R. Ackerley as “a fairy tale for adults.” Frank, the narrator, is a middle-aged civil servant, intelligent, acerbic, self-righteous, angry. He is in love with Johnny, a young, married, working-class man with a sweetly easygoing nature. When Johnny is sent to prison for committing a petty theft, Frank gets caught up in a struggle with Johnny’s wife and parents for access to him. Their struggle finds a strange focus in Johnny’s dog—a beautiful but neglected German shepherd named Evie. And it is she, in the end, who becomes the improbable and undeniable guardian of Frank’s inner world.
Compulsory Games
Robert Aickman, Victoria NelsonThe best and most interesting stories by Robert Aickman, a master of the supernatural tale, the uncanny, and the truly weird.

Robert Aickman’s self-described “strange stories” are confoundingly and uniquely his own. These superbly written tales terrify not with standard thrills and gore but through a radical overturning of the laws of nature and everyday life. His territory of the strange, of the “void behind the face of order,” is a surreal region that grotesquely mimics the quotidian: Is that river the Thames, or is it even a river? What does it mean when a prospective lover removes one dress, and then another—and then another? Does a herd of cows in a peaceful churchyard contain the souls of jilted women preparing to trample a cruel lover to death? Published for the first time under one cover, the stories in this collection offer an unequaled introduction to a profoundly original modern master of the uncanny.
Charles Bovary, Country Doctor: Portrait of a Simple Man
Jean AmeryFans of Flaubert's Madame Bovary will want to read this reimagination of one of literature's most famous failures, Charles Bovary. Part fiction, part philosophy, Charles Bovary, Country Doctor is also a book about love.

Jean Améry undertakes one of the most unusual projects in twentieth-century literature: a novel-essay devoted to salvaging the poor bungler Charles Bovary from the depredations of his creator, Gustave Flaubert. As a once-promising novelist reduced to hack journalism for two decades after the Second World War, Améry had a particular sympathy for failure, and Charles Bovary, Country Doctor is his phenomenology of the loser, blending fiction and philosophy to assert the moral claims of the most famous, most risible cuckold in all of Western literature. Charles tells his side, Améry vindicates Flaubert’s hated bourgeoisie, and in the end, the Master himself winds up in the docket, forced to account for the implausibility of his own vaunted realism. At the same time, in Charles’s words, Améry offers a moving paean to the majesty of Emma Bovary herself, and to the supreme value of love.
The Alteration
Kingsley AmisIn Kingsley Amis’s virtuoso foray into virtual history it is 1976 but the modern world is a medieval relic, frozen in intellectual and spiritual time ever since Martin Luther was promoted to pope back in the sixteenth century. Stephen the Third, the king of England, has just died, and Mass (Mozart’s second requiem) is about to be sung to lay him to rest. In the choir is our hero, Hubert Anvil, an extremely ordinary ten-year-old boy with a faultless voice. In the audience is a select group of experts whose job is to determine whether that faultless voice should be preserved by performing a certain operation. Art, after all, is worth any sacrifice.

How Hubert realizes what lies in store for him and how he deals with the whirlpool of piety, menace, terror, and passion that he soon finds himself in are the subject of a classic piece of counterfactual fiction equal to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

The Alteration won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel in 1976.
Dear Illusion: Collected Stories
Kingsley AmisWith Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis established himself as the bad boy of twentieth-century British letters. Later he became famous as another kind of bad boy, an inveterate boozer, a red-faced scourge of political correctness. He was consistent throughout in being a committed enemy of any form of “right thinking,” which helped to make him one of the most consistently unconventional and exploratory writers of his day, a master of classical English prose who was unafraid to apply himself to literary genres all too often dismissed as “low.” Science fiction, the spy story, the ghost story were all grist for Amis’s mill, and nowhere is the experimental spirit in which he worked, his will to test both reality and the reader’s imagination, more apparent than in his short stories. These “woodchips from [his] workshop”—as he called them—are anything but throwaway work. They are instead the essence of Amis, a brew that is as tonic as it is intoxicating.
Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man
U.R. AnanthamurthySamskara is one of the acknowledged masterpieces of modern world literature, a book to set beside Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North. Taking its name from a Sanskrit word that means “rite of passage” but also “moment of recognition,” it begins when Naranappa, an inhabitant of a small south Indian town and a renegade Brahmin who has scandalously flouted the rules of caste and purity for years, eating meat, drinking alcohol, marrying beneath him, mocking God, unexpectedly falls ill and dies. The question of whether he should be buried as a Brahmin divides the other Brahmins in the village. For an answer they turn to Praneshacharyah, the most devout and respected member of their community, an ascetic who also tends religiously to his invalid wife.
 
Praneshacharyah finds himself unable to provide the answer, though an answer is urgently needed since as he wonders and the villagers wait and the body festers, more and more people are falling sick and dying. But when Praneshacharyah goes to the temple to seek a sign from God, he discovers something else entirely—unless that something else is also God.
 
Samskara is a tale of existential suspense, a life-and-death encounter between the sacred and the profane, the pure and the impure, the ascetic and the erotic.
The Human Comedy: Selected Stories
Honore de Balzac, Peter BrooksAn NYRB Classics Original

Characters from every corner of society and all walks of life—lords and ladies, businessmen and military men, poor clerks,  unforgiving moneylenders, aspiring politicians, artists, actresses, swindlers, misers, parasites, sexual adventurers, crackpots,  and more—move through the pages of The Human Comedy, Balzac’s multivolume magnum opus, an interlinked chronicle of modernity in all its splendor and squalor. The Human Comedy includes the great roomy novels that have exercised such a sway over Balzac’s many literary inheritors, from Dostoyevsky and Henry James to Marcel Proust; it also contains an array of short fictions in which Balzac is at his most concentrated and forceful. Nine of these, all newly translated, appear in this volume, and together they provide an unequaled overview of a great writer’s obsessions and art. Here are “The Duchesse de Langeais,” “A Passion in the Desert,” and “Sarrasine”; tales of madness, illicit passion, ill-gotten gains, and crime. What unifies them, Peter Brooks points out in his introduction, is an incomparable storyteller’s fascination with the power of storytelling, while throughout we also detect what Proust so admired: the “mysterious circulation of blood and desire.”
The Unknown Masterpiece
Honoré de BalzacOne of Honore de Balzac’s most celebrated tales, “The Unknown Masterpiece” is the story of a painter who, depending on one’s perspective, is either an abject failure or a transcendental genius — or both. The story, which has served as an inspiration to artists as various as Cezanne, Henry James, Picasso, and New Wave director Jacques Rivette, is, in critic Dore Ashton’s words, a “fable of modern art.” Published here in a new translation by poet Richard Howard, “The Unknown Masterpiece” appears, as Balzac intended, with “Gambara,” a grotesque and tragic novella about a musician undone by his dreams. "The greatest novelist of the nineteenth century and perhaps of all time." — The New York Times
Zama
Antonio Di BenedettoAn NYRB Classics Original

First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature.
 
Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good.
 
Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its stark dreamlike prose and spare imagery, is at once dense and unforeseen, terse and fateful, marked throughout by a haunting movement between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, so that every word seems to emerge from an ocean of things left unsaid. The philosophical depths of this great book spring directly from its dazzling prose.
The Storyteller Essays
Walter Benjamin, Samuel TitanA new translation of philosopher Walter Benjamin's work as it pertains to his famous essay, "The Storyteller," this collection includes short stories, book reviews, parables, and as a selection of writings by other authors who had an influence on Benjamin's work.

“The Storyteller” is one of Walter Benjamin’s most important essays, a beautiful and suggestive meditation on the relation between narrative form, social life, and individual existence—and the product of at least a decade’s work. What might be called the story of The Storyteller Essays starts in 1926, with a piece Benjamin wrote about the German romantic Johann Peter Hebel. It continues in a series of short essays, book reviews, short stories, parables, and even radio shows for children. This collection brings them all together to give readers a new appreciation of how Benjamin’s thinking changed and ripened over time, while including several key readings of his own—texts by his contemporaries Ernst Bloch and Georg Lukács; by Paul Valéry; and by Herodotus and Montaigne. Finally, to bring things around, there are three short stories by “the incomparable Hebel” with whom the whole intellectual adventure began.
Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself
Robert Montgomery BirdOriginally published in 1836.

Sheppard Lee, Written By Himself is a work of dark satire from the early years of the American Republic. Published as an autobiography and praised by Edgar Allan Poe, this is the story of a young idler who goes in search of buried treasure and finds instead the power to transfer his soul into other men's bodies. What follows is one increasingly practiced body snatcher's picaresque journey through early American pursuits of happiness, as each new form Sheppard Lee assumes disappoints him anew while making him want more and more. When Lee's metempsychosis draws him into the marriage market, the money market, and the slave market, Bird's fable of American upward mobility takes a more sinister turn. Lee learns that everything in America, even virtue and vice, are interchangeable; everything is an object and has its price. 
 
Looking forward to Melville's The Confidence-Man and beyond that to William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, this strange and compelling story is a penetrating critique of American life and values as well as a crucial addition to the canon of American literature.
Journey Into the Mind's Eye: Fragments of an Autobiography
Lesley BlanchA stunning tale set in England, Paris, and Moscow, chronicling Blanch's love for an older Russian man and the passionate obsession that takes her to Siberia and beyond.

“My book is not altogether autobiography, nor altogether travel or history either. You will just have to invent a new category,” Lesley Blanch wrote about Journey into the Mind’s Eye, a book that remains as singularly adventurous and intoxicating now as when it first came out in 1968.
 
Russia seized Lesley Blanch when she was still a child. A mysterious traveler—swathed in Siberian furs, bearing Fabergé eggs and icons as gifts along with Russian fairy tales and fairy tales of Russia—came to visit her parents and left her starry-eyed. Years later the same man returned to sweep her off her feet. Her love affair with the Traveller, as she calls him, transformed her life and fueled an abiding fascination with Russia and Russian culture, one that would lead her to dingy apartments reeking of cabbage soup and piroshki on the outskirts of Paris in the 1960s, and to Siberia and beyond.
Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall
Sir Thomas Browne, Stephen Greenblatt, Ramie TargoffSir Thomas Browne is one of the supreme stylists of the English language: a coiner of words and spinner of phrases to rival Shakespeare; the wielder of a weird and wonderful erudition; an  inquiring spirit in the mold of Montaigne. Browne was an inspiration to the Romantics as well as to W.G. Sebald, and his work is quirky, sonorous, and enchanting.

Here this baroque master’s two most enduring and admired works, Religio Medici and Urne-Buriall, appear in a new edition that has been annotated and introduced by the distinguished scholars Ramie Targoff and Stephen Greenblatt (author of the best-selling Will in the World and the National Book Award–winning The Swerve). In Religio Medici Browne mulls over the relation between his medical profession and his profession of the Christian faith, pondering the respective claims of science and religion, questions that are still very much alive today. The discovery of an ancient burial site in an English field prompted Browne to write Urne-Buriall, which is both an early  anthropological examination of different practices of interment and a profound meditation on mortality. Its grave and exquisite music has resounded for generations.
The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter
Matei CalinescuA new translation of the only novel by lauded Romanian literary critic Matei Călinescu

An NYRB Classics Original

Ugly, unkempt, a haunter of low dives who begs for a living and lives on the street, Zacharias Lichter exists for all that in a state of unlikely rapture. After being engulfed by a divine flame as a teenager, Zacharias has devoted his days to doing nothing at all—apart, that is, from composing the odd poem he immediately throws away and consorting with a handful of stray friends: Poldy, for example, the catatonic alcoholic whom Zacharias considers a brilliant philosopher, or another more vigorous barfly whose prolific output of pornographic verses has won him the nickname of the Poet. Zacharias is a kind of holy fool, but one whose foolery calls in question both social convention and conventional wisdom. He is as much skeptic as ecstatic, affirming above all the truth of perplexity. This of course is what makes him a permanent outrage to the powers that be, be they reactionary or revolutionary, and to all other self-appointed champions of morality who are blind to their own absurdity. The only thing that scares Zacharias is that all-purpose servant of conformity, the psychiatrist.

This Romanian classic, originally published under the brutally dictatorial Ceauşescu regime, whose censors initially let it pass because they couldn’t make head or tail of it, is as delicious and telling an assault on the modern world order as ever.
Down Below
Leonora CarringtonA stunning work of memoir and an unforgettable depiction of the brilliance and madness by one of Surrealism's most compelling figures

In 1937 Leonora Carrington—later to become one of the twentieth century’s great painters of the weird, the alarming, and the wild—was a nineteen-year-old art student in London, beautiful and unapologetically rebellious. At a dinner party, she met the artist Max Ernst. The two fell in love and soon departed to live and paint together in a farmhouse in Provence. 

In 1940, the invading German army arrested Ernst and sent him to a concentration camp. Carrington suffered a psychotic break. She wept for hours. Her stomach became “the mirror of the earth”—of all worlds in a hostile universe—and she tried to purify the evil by compulsively vomiting. As the Germans neared the south of France, a friend persuaded Carrington to flee to Spain. Facing the approach “of robots, of thoughtless, fleshless beings,” she packed a suitcase that bore on a brass plate the word Revelation.

This was only the beginning of a journey into madness that was to end with Carrington confined in a mental institution, overwhelmed not only by her own terrible imaginings but by her doctor’s sadistic course of treatment. In Down Below she describes her ordeal—in which the agonizing and the marvelous were equally combined—with a startling, almost impersonal precision and without a trace of self-pity. Like Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, Down Below brings the hallucinatory logic of madness home.
Naked Earth
Eileen ChangAn NYRB Classics Original

Set in the early years of Mao’s China, Naked Earth is the story of two earnest young people confronting the grim realities of revolutionary change. Liu Ch’üan and Su Nan meet in the countryside after volunteering to assist in the new land reform program. Eager to build a more just society, they are puzzled and shocked by the brutality, barely disguised corruption, and ruthless careerism they discover, but then quickly silenced by the barrage of propaganda and public criticism that is directed at anyone who appears to doubt a righteous cause. Joined together by the secret of their common dismay, they remain in touch when Liu departs to work on a newspaper in Peking, where Su Nan eventually also moves. Something like love begins to grow between them—but then a new round of purges sweeps through the revolutionary ranks.

One of the greatest and most loved of modern Chinese writers, Eileen Chang illuminates the dark corners of the human existence with a style of disorienting beauty. Naked Earth, unavailable in English for more than fifty years, is a harrowing tale of perverted ideals, damaged souls, deepest loneliness, and terror.
Proud Beggars
Albert CosseryEarly in Proud Beggars, a brutal and motiveless murder is committed in a Cairo brothel. But the real mystery at the heart of Albert Cossery’s wry black comedy is not the cause of this death but the paradoxical richness to be found in even the most materially impoverished life.
   
Chief among Cossery’s proud beggars is Gohar, a former professor turned whorehouse accountant, hashish aficionado, and street philosopher. Such is his native charm that he has accumulated a small coterie that includes Yeghen, a rhapsodic poet and drug dealer, and El Kordi, an ineffectual clerk and would-be revolutionary who dreams of rescuing a consumptive prostitute. The police investigator Nour El Dine, harboring a dark secret of his own, suspects all three of the murder but finds himself captivated by their warm good humor. How is it that they live amid degrading poverty, yet possess a joie de vivre that even the most assiduous forces of state cannot suppress? Do they, despite their rejection of social norms and all ambition, hold the secret of contentment? And so this short novel, considered one of Cossery’s masterpieces, is at once biting social commentary, police procedural, and a mischievous delight in its own right.
Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp
Jozef CzapskiThe first translation of painter and writer Józef Czapski's inspiring lectures on Proust, first delivered in a prison camp in the Soviet Union during World War II.

During the Second World War, as a prisoner of war in a Soviet camp, and with nothing but memory to go on, the Polish artist and soldier Józef Czapski brought Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time to life for an audience of prison inmates. In a series of lectures, Czapski described the arc and import of Proust’s masterpiece, sketched major and minor characters in striking detail, and movingly evoked the work’s originality, depth, and beauty. Eric Karpeles has translated this brilliant and ­altogether unparalleled feat of the critical imagination into English for the first time, and in a thoughtful introduction he brings out how, in reckoning with Proust’s great meditation on memory, Czapski helped his fellow officers to remember that there was a world apart from the world of the camp. Proust had staked the art of the novelist against the losses of a lifetime and the imminence of death. Recalling that triumphant wager, unfolding, like Sheherazade, the intricacies of Proust’s world night after night, Czapski showed to men at the end of their tether that the past remained present and there was a future in which to hope.
Berlin Alexanderplatz
Alfred DoblinThe inspiration for Rainer Werner Fassbinder's epic film and that The Guardian named one of the "Top 100 Books of All Time," Berlin Alexanderplatz is considered one of the most important works of the Weimar Republic and twentieth century literature.

Berlin Alexanderplatz, the great novel of Berlin and the doomed Weimar Republic, is one of the great books of the twentieth century, gruesome, farcical, and appalling, word drunk, pitchdark. In Michael Hofmann's extraordinary new translation, Alfred Döblin's masterpiece lives in English for the first time.

As Döblin writes in the opening pages: 

The subject of this book is the life of the former cement worker and haulier Franz Biberkopf in Berlin. As our
story begins, he has just been released from prison, where he did time for some stupid stuff; now he is back
in Berlin, determined to go straight. 

To begin with, he succeeds. But then, though doing all right for himself financially, he gets involved in a
set-to with an unpredictable external agency that looks an awful lot like fate. 

Three times the force attacks him and disrupts his scheme. The first time it comes at him with dishonesty and deception. Our man is able to get to his feet, he is still good to stand. 

Then it strikes him a low blow. He has trouble getting up from that, he is almost counted out. And finally it hits him with monstrous and extreme violence.
Bright Magic: Stories
Alfred DoblinAlfred Döblin’s many imposing novels, above all Berlin Alexanderplatz, have established him as one of the titans of modern German literature. This collection of his stories —astonishingly, the first ever to appear in English—shows him to have been a master of short fiction too.

Bright Magic includes all of Döblin’s first book, The Murder of a Buttercup, a work of savage brilliance and a landmark of literary expressionism, as well as two longer stories composed in the 1940s, when he lived in exile in Southern California. The early collection is full of mind-bending and sexually charged narratives, from the dizzying descent into madness that has made the title story one of the most anthologized of German stories to “She Who Helped,” where mortality roams the streets of nineteenth-­century Manhattan with a white borzoi and a quiet smile, and “The Ballerina and the Body,” which describes a terrible duel to the death. Of the two later stories, “Materialism, A Fable,” in which news of humanity’s soulless doctrines reaches the animals, elements, and the molecules themselves, is especially delightful.
The World as I Found It
Bruce Duffy*****When Bruce Duffy’s The World As I Found It was first published more than twenty years ago, critics and readers were bowled over by its daring reimagining of the lives of three very different men, the philosophers Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. A brilliant group portrait with the vertiginous displacements of twentieth-century life looming large in the background, Duffy’s novel depicts times and places as various as Vienna 1900, the trenches of World War I, Bloomsbury, and the colleges of Cambridge, while the complicated main characters appear not only in thought and dispute but in love and despair. Wittgenstein, a strange, troubled, and troubling man of gnawing contradictions, is at the center of a novel that reminds us that the apparently abstract and formal questions that animate philosophy are nothing less than the intractable matters of life and death.
The Dud Avocado
Elaine DundyThe Dud Avocado follows the romantic and comedic adventures of a young American who heads overseas to conquer Paris in the late 1950s. Edith Wharton and Henry James wrote about the American girl abroad, but it was Elaine Dundy’s Sally Jay Gorce who told us what she was really thinking. Charming, sexy, and hilarious, The Dud Avocado gained instant cult status when it was first published and it remains a timeless portrait of a woman hell-bent on living.

“I had to tell someone how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream, and guffaw (which, incidentally, is a great name for a law firm).” –Groucho Marx

"[The Dud Avocado] is one of the best novels about growing up fast..." -The Guardian
Novels in Three Lines
Felix FeneonA NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS ORIGINAL

Novels in Three Lines collects more than a thousand items that appeared anonymously in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906—true stories of murder, mayhem, and everyday life presented with a ruthless economy that provokes laughter even as it shocks. This extraordinary trove, undiscovered until the 1940s and here translated for the first time into English, is the work of the mysterious Félix Fénéon. Dandy, anarchist, and critic of genius, the discoverer of Georges Seurat and the first French publisher of James Joyce, Fénéon carefully maintained his own anonymity, toiling for years as an obscure clerk in the French War Department. Novels in Three Lines is his secret chef-d’oeuvre, a work of strange and singular art that brings back the long-ago year of 1906 with the haunting immediacy of a photograph while looking forward to such disparate works as Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project and the Death and Disaster series of Andy Warhol.
The Violins of Saint-Jacques
Patrick Leigh Fermor"Mr. Fermor's elegant rococo fantasy about a volcanic eruption on an imaginary Caribbean island is just close enough to reality to raise a genuine shiver—possibly even a genuine tear. In truth, it is a small timeless masterpiece."—Phoebe Lou Adams, The Atlantic

An NYRB Classics Original

Patrick Leigh Fermor’s only novel displays the same lustrous way with words as his beloved travel trilogy (A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and the Water, and The Broken Road), the memoir of his youthful walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. This slim book starts with the
meeting of an English traveler and an enigmatic elderly Frenchwoman on an Aegean island. He is captivated by her painting of a busy Caribbean port in the shadow of a volcano, which leads her to tell him the story of her childhood in that town back at the beginning of the twentieth century. The tale she unfolds, set in the tropical luxury of the island of Saint-Jacques, is one of romantic intrigue and decadence involving the descendants of slaves and a fading French aristocracy. Then, on the night of the annual Mardi Gras ball, a whole world comes to a catastrophic and haunting end.
Totempole
Sanford FriedmanTotempole is Sanford Friedman’s radical coming-of-age novel, featuring Stephen Wolfe, a young Jewish boy growing up in New York City and its environs during the Depression and war years. In eight discrete chapters, which trace Stephen’s evolution from a two-year-old boy to a twenty-four-year-old man, Friedman describes with psychological acuity and great empathy Stephen’s intellectual, moral, and sexual maturation. Taught to abhor his body for the sake of his soul, Stephen finds salvation in the eventual unification of the two, the recognition that body and soul should not be partitioned but treated as one being, one complete man.
In the Heart of the Heart of the Country: And Other Stories
William H. GassFirst published in 1968, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country established William Gass as one of America’s finest and boldest writers of fiction, and nearly fifty years later, the book still stands as a landmark of contemporary fiction. The two novellas and three short stories it contains are all set in the Midwest, and together they offer  a mythical reimagining of America’s heartland, with its punishing extremes of heat and cold, its endless spaces and claustrophobic households, its hidden and baffled desires, its lurking threat of violence. Exploring and expanding the limits of the short story, Gass works magic with words, words that are as squirming, regal, and unexpected as the roaches, boys, icicles, neighbors, and neuroses that fill these pages, words that shock, dazzle, illumine, and delight.
On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry
William H. GassOn Being Blue is a book about everything blue—sex and sleaze and sadness, among other things—and about everything else. It brings us the world in a word as only William H. Gass, among contemporary American writers, can do.

Gass writes:
Of the colors, blue and green have the greatest emotional range. Sad reds and melancholy yellows are difficult to turn up. Among the ancient elements, blue occurs everywhere: in ice and water, in the flame as purely as in the flower, overhead and inside caves, covering fruit and oozing out of clay. Although green enlivens the earth and mixes in the ocean, and we find it, copperish, in fire; green air, green skies, are rare. Gray and brown are widely distributed, but there are no joyful swatches of either, or any of exuberant black, sullen pink, or acquiescent orange. Blue is therefore most suitable as the color of interior life. Whether slick light sharp high bright thin quick sour new and cool or low deep sweet dark soft slow smooth heavy old and warm: blue moves easily among them all, and all profoundly qualify our states of feeling.
Life with Picasso
Françoise Gilot, Carlton LakeFrançoise Gilot's candid memoir remains the most revealing portrait of Picasso written, and gives fascinating insight into the intense and creative life shared by two modern artists.

Françoise Gilot was in her early twenties when she met the sixty-one-year-old Pablo Picasso in 1943. Brought up in a well-to-do upper-middle-class family, who had sent her to Cambridge and the Sorbonne and hoped that she would go into law, the young woman defied their wishes and set her sights on being an artist. Her introduction to Picasso led to a friendship, a love affair, and a relationship of ten years, during which Gilot gave birth to Picasso’s two children, Paloma and Claude. Gilot was one of Picasso’s muses; she was also very much her own woman, determined to make herself into the remarkable painter she did indeed become.

Life with Picasso is an indispensable record of his thinking about art, as well as an often very funny account of his relationships with other artists and with dealers and hangers-on.  It is also about Françoise Gilot. This is a brilliant self-portrait of a young woman of enormous talent and exacting intelligence figuring out who she wants to be.
Family Lexicon
Natalia GinzburgA masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction

An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways of their own to medicine, marriage, literature, politics. It is all very ordinary, except that the background to the story is Mussolini’s Italy in its steady downward descent to race law and world war. The Levis are, among other things, unshakeable anti-fascists. That will complicate their lives.

Family Lexicon is about a family and language—and about storytelling not only as a form of survival but also as an instrument of deception and domination. The book takes the shape of a novel, yet everything is true. “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy [it],” Ginzburg tells us at the start. “The places, events, and people are all real.”
Balcony in the Forest
Julien GracqIt is the fall of 1939, and Lieutenant Grange and his men are living in a chalet above a concrete bunker deep in the Ardennes forest, charged with defending the French-Belgian border against the Germans in a war that seems unreal, distant, and unlikely. Far more immediate is the earthy life of the forest itself and the deep sensations of childhood it recalls from Grange’s memory. Ostensibly readying for war, Grange instead spends his time observing the change in seasons, falling in love with a young free-spirited widow, and contemplating the absurd stasis of his present condition. This novel of long takes, dream states, and little dramatic action culminates abruptly in battle, an event that is as much the real incursion of the German army into France as it is the sudden intrusion of death into the suspended disbelief of life. Richard Howard’s skilled translation captures the fairy-tale otherworldliness and existential dread of this unusual, elusive novel (first published in 1958) by the supreme prose stylist Julien Gracq.
Back
Henry GreenBack is the story of Charley Summers, who is back from the war and a POW camp having lost the woman he loved, Rose, to illness before he left and his leg to fighting. In other words, Charley has very little to come back to, only memories, and on top of that he has been deeply traumatized by his experience of war. Rose’s father introduces him to another young woman, Nancy, and Charley becomes convinced that she is in fact Rose and pursues her. Back is at once a Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities, a voyage into the world of madness, and a celebration of the improbable healing powers of love.
Living
Henry GreenA timeless work of social satire, set in the 1920s and considered one of the most insightful Modernist depictions of England's working class

Living is a book about life in a factory town and the operations of a factory, from the workers on the floor to the boss in his office. The town is Birmingham and the factory is an iron foundry, like the one that Henry Green worked in for some time in the 1920s after dropping out of Oxford, and the stories—courtships, layoffs, getting dinner on the table, going to the pub, death—are all the ordinary stuff of life. The style, however, is pure Henry Green, at once starkly constrained and wildly streaked with the expedients and eccentricities of everyday speech—cliché and innuendo, clashing metaphors, slips of tongue—which is to say it is like nothing else. Epic and antic, Living is a book of exact observation and deep tenderness, the work, in Rosamond Lehmann’s words, of an “amorous and austere voluptuary” whose work continues to transform the novel.
Nothing
Henry GreenYears ago, Jane Weatherby had a torrid affair with John Pomfret, the husband of her best friend. Divorces ensued. World War II happened. Prewar partying gave way to postwar austerity, and Jane and John’s now-grown children, Philip and Mary, both as serious and sober as their parents were not, seem earnestly bent on marriage, which John and Jane consider a mistake. The two old lovers conspire against the two young lovers, and nothing turns out quite as expected.

Nothing, like the closely related Doting, is a book that is almost entirely composed in dialogue, since in these late novels nothing so interested Green as how words resist, twist, and expose our intentions; how they fail us, lead us on, make fools of us, and may, in spite of ourselves, even save us, at least for a time. Nothing spills over with the bizarre and delicious comedy and poetry of human incoherence.
Arabia Felix: The Danish Expedition of 1761-1767
Thorkild HansenA riveting account of a landmark expedition that left only one survivor, now back in print for the first time in decades.

Arabia Felix is the spellbinding true story of a scientific expedition gone disastrously awry. On a winter morning in 1761 six men leave Copenhagen by sea—a botanist, a philologist, an astronomer, a doctor, an artist, and their manservant—an ill-assorted band of men who dislike and distrust one another from the start. These are the members of the Danish expedition to Arabia Felix, as Yemen was then known, the first organized foray into a corner of the world unknown to Europeans. The expedition made its way to Turkey and Egypt, by which time its members were already actively seeking to undercut and even kill one another, before disappearing into the harsh desert that was their destination. Nearly seven years later a single survivor returned to Denmark to find himself forgotten and all the specimens that had been sent back ruined by neglect.

Based on diaries, notebooks, and sketches that lay unread in Danish archives until the twentieth century, Arabia Felix is a tale of intellectual rivalry and a comedy of very bad manners, as well as an utterly absorbing adventure.

Arabia Felix includes 33 line drawings and maps.
The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick
Elizabeth HardwickThe first-ever collection of essays from across Elizabeth Hardwick's illustrious writing career, including works not seen in print for decades.

Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question. In the essays collected here she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature—Melville, James, Wharton—and the changes in American fiction, though her reading is wide and international. She contemplates writers’ lives—women writers, rebels, Americans abroad—and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries. Selected and with an introduction by Darryl Pinckney, the Collected Essays gathers more than fifty essays for a fifty-year retrospective of Hardwick’s work from 1953 to 2003. “For Hardwick,” writes Pinckney, “the poetry and novels of America hold the nation’s history.” Here is an exhilarating chronicle of that history.
Seduction and Betrayal: Women and Literature
Elizabeth HardwickThe novelist and essayist Elizabeth Hardwick is one of contemporary America's most brilliant writers, and Seduction and Betrayal, in which she considers the careers of women writers as well as the larger question of the presence of women in literature, is her most passionate and concentrated work of criticism. A gallery of unforgettable portraits—of Virginia Woolf and Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Wordsworth and Jane Carlyle—as well as a provocative reading of such works as Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, and the poems of Sylvia Plath, Seduction and Betrayal is a virtuoso performance, a major writer's reckoning with the relations between men and women, women and writing, writing and life.
Sleepless Nights
Elizabeth HardwickIn Sleepless Nights a woman looks back on her life—the parade of people, the shifting background of place—and assembles a scrapbook of memories, reflections, portraits, letters, wishes, and dreams. An inspired fusion of fact and invention, this beautifully realized, hard-bitten, lyrical book is not only Elizabeth Hardwick's finest fiction but one of the outstanding contributions to American literature of the last fifty years.
The Farm in the Green Mountains
Alice Herdan-ZuckmayerThe Farm in the Green Mountains is a story of a refugee family finding its true home—thousands of miles from its homeland.

Alice and Carl Zuckmayer lived at the center of Weimarera Berlin. She was a former actor turned medical student, he was a playwright, and their circle of friends included Stefan Zweig, Alma Mahler, and Bertolt Brecht. But then the Nazis took over and Carl’s most recent success, a play satirizing German militarism, impressed them in all the wrong ways. The couple and their two daughters were forced to flee, first to Austria, then to Switzerland, and finally to the United States. Los Angeles didn’t suit them, neither did New York, but a chance stroll in the Vermont woods led them to Backwoods Farm and the eighteenth-century farmhouse where they would spend the next five years. In Europe, the Zuckmayers were accustomed to servants; in Vermont, they found themselves building chicken coops, refereeing fights between fractious ducks, and caring for temperamental water pipes “like babies.” But in spite of the endless work and the brutal, depressing winters, Alice found that in America she had at last discovered her “native land.” This generous, surprising, and witty memoir, a best seller in postwar Germany, has all the charm of an unlikely romantic comedy.
Sand
Wolfgang HerrndorfSet in the aftermath 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, this darkly sophisticated literary thriller by one of Germany's most celebrated writers is now available in the US for the first time.

North Africa, 1972. While the world is reeling from the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, a series of mysterious events is playing out in the Sahara. Four people are murdered in a hippie commune, a suitcase full of money disappears, and a pair of unenthusiastic detectives are assigned to investigate. In the midst of it all, a man with no memory tries to evade his armed pursuers. Who are they? What do they want from him? If he could just recall his own identity he might have a chance of working it out. . . .

This darkly sophisticated literary thriller, the last novel Wolfgang Herrndorf completed before his untimely death in 2013, is, in the words of Michael Maar, “the greatest, grisliest, funniest, and wisest novel of the past decade.” Certainly no reader will ever forget it.
The Sound of the One Hand: 281 Zen Koans with Answers
Yoel HoffmanWhen The Sound of the One Hand came out in Japan in 1916 it caused a scandal. Zen was a secretive practice, its wisdom relayed from master to novice in strictest privacy. That a handbook existed recording not only the riddling koans that are central to Zen teaching but also detailing the answers to them seemed to mark Zen as rote, not revelatory.

For all that, The Sound of the One Hand opens the door to Zen like no other book. Including koans that go back to the master who first brought the koan teaching method from China to Japan in the eighteenth century, this book offers, in the words of the translator, editor, and Zen initiate Yoel Hoffmann, “the clearest, most detailed, and most correct picture of Zen” that can be found. What we have here is an extraordinary introduction to Zen thought as lived thought, a treasury of problems, paradoxes, and performance that will appeal to artists, writers, and philosophers as well as Buddhists and students of religion.
In a Lonely Place
Dorothy B. HughesA classic California noir with a feminist twist, this prescient 1947 novel exposed misogyny in post-World War II American society, making it far ahead of its time.

Los Angeles in the late 1940s is a city of promise and prosperity, but not for former fighter pilot Dix Steele.  To his mind nothing has come close to matching “that feeling of power and exhilaration and freedom that came with loneness in the sky.” He prowls the foggy city night—­bus stops and stretches of darkened beaches and movie houses just emptying out—seeking solitary young women. His funds are running out and his frustrations are growing. Where is the good life he was promised? Why does he always get a raw deal? Then he hooks up with his old Air Corps buddy Brub, now working for the LAPD, who just happens to be on the trail of the strangler who’s been terrorizing the women of the city for months...

Written with controlled elegance, Dorothy B. Hughes’s tense novel is at once an early indictment of a truly toxic masculinity and a twisty page-turner with a surprisingly feminist resolution. A classic of golden age noir, In a Lonely Place also inspired Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart.
A High Wind in Jamaica
Richard HughesRichard Hughes's celebrated short novel is a masterpiece of concentrated narrative. Its dreamlike action begins among the decayed plantation houses and overwhelming natural abundance of late nineteenth-century Jamaica, before moving out onto the high seas, as Hughes tells the story of a group of children thrown upon the mercy of a crew of down-at-the-heel pirates. A tale of seduction and betrayal, of accommodation and manipulation, of weird humor and unforeseen violence, this classic of twentieth-century literature is above all an extraordinary reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood.
Fair Play
Tove JanssonA New York Review Books Original

 

Winner of the 2009 Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation

 

Fair Play is the type of love story that is rarely told, a revelatory depiction of contentment, hard-won and exhilarating. 

Mari is a writer and Jonna is an artist, and they live at opposite ends of a big apartment building, their studios connected by a long attic passageway. They have argued, worked, and laughed together for decades. Yet they’ve never really stopped taking each other by surprise. Fair Play shows us Mari and Jona’s intertwined lives as they watch Fassbinder films and Westerns, critique each other’s work, spend time on a solitary island (recognizable to readers of Jansson’s The Summer Book), travel through the American Southwest, and turn life into nothing less than art.
The True Deceiver (New York Review Books (Paperback))
Tove JanssonA New York Review Books Original

Winner of the Best Translated Book Award

Deception—the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others—is the subject of this, Tove Jansson’s most unnerving and unpredictable novel. Here Jansson takes a darker look at the subjects that animate the best of her work, from her sensitive tale of island life, The Summer Book, to her famous Moomin stories: solitude and community, art and life, love and hate.

Snow has been falling on the village all winter long. It covers windows and piles up in front of doors. The sun rises late and sets early, and even during the day there is little to do but trade tales. This year everybody’s talking about Katri Kling and Anna Aemelin. Katri is a yellow-eyed outcast who lives with her simpleminded brother and a dog she refuses to name. She has no use for the white lies that smooth social intercourse, and she can see straight to the core of any problem. Anna, an elderly children’s book illustrator, appears to be Katri’s opposite: a respected member of the village, if an aloof one. Anna lives in a large empty house, venturing out in the spring to paint exquisitely detailed forest scenes. But Anna has something Katri wants, and to get it Katri will take control of Anna’s life and livelihood. By the time spring arrives, the two women are caught in a conflict of ideals that threatens to strip them of their most cherished illusions.
The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected Stories
Tove JanssonAn NYRB Classics Original
 
Tove Jansson was a master of brevity, unfolding worlds at a touch. Her art flourished in small settings, as can be seen in her bestselling novel The Summer Book and in her internationally celebrated cartoon strips and books about the Moomins. It is only natural, then, that throughout her life she turned again and again to the short story. The Woman Who Borrowed Memories is the first extensive selection of Jansson’s stories to appear in English.

Many of the stories collected here are pure Jansson, touching on island solitude and the dangerous pull of the artistic impulse: in “The Squirrel” the equanimity of the only inhabitant of a remote island is thrown by a visitor, in “The Summer Child” an unlovable boy is marooned along with his lively host family, in “The Cartoonist” an artist takes over a comic strip that has run for decades, and in “The Doll’s House” a man’s hobby threatens to overwhelm his life. Others explore unexpected territory: “Shopping” has a post-apocalyptic setting, “The Locomotive” centers on a railway-obsessed loner with murderous fantasies, and “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories” presents a case of disturbing transference. Unsentimental, yet always humane, Jansson’s stories complement and enlarge our understanding of a singular figure in world literature.
Anniversaries (Boxed Set): From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl (New York Review Books Classics)
Uwe JohnsonA landmark of 20th Century literature about New York in the late 1960s, now in English for the first time.

Late in 1967, Uwe Johnson set out to write a book that would take the unusual form of a chapter for every day of the ongoing year. It would be the tale of Gesine Cresspahl, a thirty-four-year-old single mother who is a German émigré to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and of her ten-year-old daughter, Marie—a story of work and school, of friends and lovers and the countless small encounters with neighbors and strangers that make up big-city life. An everyday tale, but also a tale of the events of the day, as gleaned by Gesine from The New York Times: Johnson could hardly foresee the convulsions of 1968, but some of the news—the racial unrest roiling America, the escalating war in Vietnam—was sure to be news for some time yet to come. Finally, it would be a tale told by Gesine to Marie about Gesine’s childhood in a small north German town, of her independent and enterprising father, of her troubled mother, of Nazi Germany (Gesine was born the year Hitler came to power) and World War II and Soviet retribution and the grimly regulated realities of Communist East Germany. An ambitious historical novel as well as a wonderfully observed New York novel, Anniversaries would take in the unsettled world of the present along with the twentieth century’s ­disastrous past, while vividly depicting the struggle of a loving, though hardly uncomplicated mother and a bright, indomitably curious girl to understand and care for each other and to shape a human world.

Gesine and Marie are among the most memorable and engaging characters in literature, and Anniversaries, at once monumental and intimate, sweeping and full of incident, stylistically adventurous and endlessly absorbing, is quite simply one of the great books of our time.
In Parenthesis
David Jones"This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of": with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War, a book celebrated by W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot as one of the masterpieces of modern literature. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war.
All for Nothing
Walter KempowskiA wealthy family tries—and fails—to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life surrounding them in this stunning novel by one of Germany's most important post-war writers.

In East Prussia, January 1945, the German forces are in retreat and the Red Army is approaching. The von Globig family's manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors—a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven't allowed themselves to imagine.

All for Nothing, published in 2006, was the last novel by Walter Kempowski, one of postwar Germany's most acclaimed and popular writers.
The Secret Commonwealth: Of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies
Robert KirkA classic, enchanting document of Scottish folklore about fairies, elves, and other supernatural creatures.

Late in the seventeenth century, Robert Kirk, an Episcopalian minister in the Scottish Highlands, set out to collect his parishioners’ many striking stories about elves, fairies, fauns, doppelgängers, wraiths, and other beings of, in Kirk’s words, “a middle nature betwixt man and angel.” For Kirk these stories constituted strong evidence for the reality of a supernatural world, existing parallel to ours, which, he passionately believed, demanded exploration as much as the New World across the seas. Kirk defended these views in The Secret Commonwealth, an essay that was left in manuscript when he died in 1692. It is a rare and fascinating work, an extraordinary amalgam of science, religion, and folklore, suffused with the spirit of active curiosity and bemused wonder that fills Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy and the works of Sir Thomas Browne. The Secret Commonwealth is not only a remarkable document in the history of ideas but a study of enchantment that enchants in its own right.

First published in 1815 by Sir Walter Scott, then reedited in 1893 by Andrew Lang, with a dedication to Robert Louis Stevenson, The Secret Commonwealth has long been difficult to obtain—available, if at all, only in scholarly editions. This new edition modernizes the spelling and punctuation of Kirk’s little book and features a wide-ranging and illuminating introduction by the critic and historian Marina Warner, who brings out the originality of Kirk’s contribution and reflects on the ongoing life of fairies in the modern mind.
Memories of the Future
Sigizmund KrzhizhanovskyWritten in Soviet Moscow in the 1920s—but considered too subversive even to show to a publisher—the seven tales included here attest to Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s boundless imagination, black humor, and breathtaking irony: a man loses his way in the vast black waste of his own small room; the Eiffel Tower runs amok; a kind soul dreams of selling “everything you need for suicide”; an absentminded passenger boards the wrong train, winding up in a place where night is day, nightmares are the reality, and the backs of all facts have been broken; a man out looking for work comes across a line for logic but doesn’t join it as there’s no guarantee the logic will last; a sociable corpse misses his own funeral; an inventor gets a glimpse of the far-from-radiant communist future.
The Return of Munchausen
Sigizmund KrzhizhanovskyBaron Munchausen’s hold on the European imagination dates back to the late eighteenth century when he first pulled himself (and his horse) out of a swamp by his own upturned pigtail. Inspired by the extravagant yarns of a straight-faced former cavalry officer, Hieronymus von Münchhausen, the best-selling legend quickly eclipsed the real-life baron who helped the Russians fight the Turks. Galloping across continents and centuries, the mythical Munchausen’s Travels went through hundreds of editions of increasing length and luxuriance.

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, the Russian modernist master of the unsettling and the uncanny, also took certain liberties with the mythical baron. In this phantasmagoric roman à clef set in 1920s Berlin, London, and Moscow, Munchausen dauntlessly upholds his old motto “Truth in lies,” while remaining a fierce champion of his own imagination. At the same time, the two-hundred-year-old baron and self-taught philosopher has agreed to return to Russia, Lenin’s Russia, undercover. This reluctant secret agent has come out of retirement to engage with the real world.
The Professor and the Siren
Giuseppe Tomasi Di LampedusaAn NYRB Classics Original

In the last two years of his life, the Sicilian aristocrat Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote not only the internationally celebrated novel The Leopard but also three shorter pieces of fiction, brought together here in a new translation.

“The Professor and the Siren,” like The Leopard, meditates on the past and the passage of time, and also on the relationship between erotic love and learning. Professor La Ciura is one of the world’s most distinguished Hellenists; his knowledge, however, came at the cost of a loss that has haunted him for his entire life. This Lampedusa’s final masterpiece, is accompanied here by the parable “Joy and the Law” and “The Blind Kittens,” a story originally conceived as the first chapter of a followup to The Leopard.
The Radiance of the King
Camara LayeAt the beginning of this masterpiece of African literature, Clarence, a white man, has been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa. Flush with self-importance, he demands to see the king, but the king has just left for the south of his realm. Traveling through an increasingly phantasmagoric landscape in the company of a beggar and two roguish boys, Clarence is gradually stripped of his pretensions, until he is sold to the royal harem as a slave. But in the end Clarence’s bewildering journey is the occasion of a revelation, as he discovers the image, both shameful and beautiful, of his own humanity in the alien splendor of the king
The Hall of Uselessness: Collected Essays
Simon LeysAn NYRB Classics Original

Simon Leys is a Renaissance man for the era of globalization. A distinguished scholar of classical Chinese art and literature and one of the first Westerners to recognize the appalling toll of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Leys also writes with unfailing intelligence, seriousness, and bite about European art, literature, history, and politics and is an unflinching observer of the way we live now.

The Hall of Uselessness is the most extensive collection of Leys’s essays to be published to date. In it, he addresses subjects ranging from the Chinese attitude to the past to the mysteries of Belgium and Belgitude; offers portraits of André Gide and Zhou Enlai; takes on Roland Barthes and Christopher Hitchens; broods on the Cambodian genocide; reflects on the spell of the sea; and writes with keen appreciation about writers as different as Victor Hugo, Evelyn Waugh, and Georges Simenon. Throughout, The Hall of Uselessness is marked with the deep knowledge, skeptical intelligence, and passionate conviction that have made Simon Leys one of the most powerful essayists of our time.
Three Summers
Margarita LiberakiA tender story about three sisters coming of age in Greece over the course of three summers, now available after being out of print for over twenty years.

Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a big old house surrounded by a beautiful garden are Maria, the oldest sister, as sexually bold as she is eager to settle down and have a family of her own; beautiful but distant Infanta; and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents and other members of the tribe of adults, take note of the weird ways of friends and neighbors, worry about and wonder who they are. Karen Van Dyck’s translation captures all the light and warmth of this modern Greek classic.
The Waste Books
Georg Christoph LichtenbergGerman scientist and man of letters Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was an 18th-century polymath: an experimental physicist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a practicing critic both of art and literature. He is most celebrated, however, for the casual notes and aphorisms that he collected in what he called his Waste Books. With unflagging intelligence and encyclopedic curiosity, Lichtenberg wittily deflates the pretensions of learning and society, examines a range of philosophical questions, and tracks his own thoughts down hidden pathways to disconcerting and sometimes hilarious conclusions.

Lichtenberg's Waste Books have been greatly admired by writers as very different as Tolstoy, Einstein, and Andre Breton, while Nietzsche and Wittgenstein acknowledged them as a significant inspiration for their own radical work in philosophy. The record of a brilliant and subtle mind in action, The Waste Books are above all a powerful testament to the necessity, and pleasure, of unfettered thought.
In the Freud Archives
Janet MalcolmIncludes an afterword by the author

In the Freud Archives tells the story of an unlikely encounter among three men: K. R. Eissler, the venerable doyen of psychoanalysis; Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, a flamboyant, restless forty-two-year-old Sanskrit scholar turned psychoanalyst turned virulent anti-Freudian; and Peter Swales, a mischievous thirty-five-year-old former assistant to the Rolling Stones and self-taught Freud scholar. At the center of their Oedipal drama are the Sigmund Freud Archives—founded, headed, and jealously guarded by Eissler—whose sealed treasure gleams and beckons to the community of Freud scholarship as if it were the Rhine gold.

Janet Malcolm's fascinating book first appeared some twenty years ago, when it was immediately recognized as a rare and remarkable work of nonfiction. A story of infatuation and disappointment, betrayal and revenge, In the Freud Archives is essentially a comedy. But the powerful presence of Freud himself and the harsh bracing air of his ideas about unconscious life hover over the narrative and give it a tragic dimension.
Like Death
Guy De MaupassantA devastating novel about the treachery of love by Maupassant, now in a new translation by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning poet and translator Richard Howard

Olivier Bertin is at the height of his career as a painter. After making his name with his Cleopatra, he went on to establish himself as “the chosen painter of the Parisiennes, the most adroit and ingenious artist to reveal their grace, their figures, and their souls.” And though his hair may be white, he remains a handsome, vigorous, and engaging bachelor, a prized guest at every table and salon.

Anne, the comtesse de Guilleroy, is a youthful forty, the wife of a busy politician. The painter and the comtesse have been lovers for many years. Anne’s daughter, Annette—the spitting image of her mother in her lovely youth—has finished her schooling and is returning to Paris. Her parents are putting together an excellent match. Everything is as it should be—until the painter and comtesse are each seized by an agonizing suspicion, like death...

In its devastating depiction of the treacherous nature of love, Like Death is more than the equal of Swann’s Way. Richard Howard’s new translation brings out all the penetration and poetry of this masterpiece of nineteenth-century fiction.
Testing the Current
William McPhersonGrowing up in a small upper Midwestern town in the late 1930s, young Tommy MacAllister is scarcely aware of the Depression, much less the rumblings of war in Europe. For his parents and their set, life seems to revolve around dinners and dancing at the country club, tennis dates and rounds of golf, holiday parties, summers on the Island, and sparkling occasions full of people and drinks and food and laughter. But curious as he is and impatient to grow up, Tommy will soon come to glimpse the darkness that lies beneath so much genteel complacency: hidden histories and embarrassing poor relations; the subtle (and not so subtle) slighting of the “help”; the mockery of President Roosevelt; and “the commandment they talked least about in Sunday school,” adultery.
    
In Testing the Current William McPherson subtly sets off his wide-eyed protagonist’s perspective with mature reflection and wry humor and surrounds him with a cast of vibrant characters, creating a scrupulously observed portrait of a place and time that will shimmer in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned.
Voltaire in Love
Nancy MitfordThe inimitable Nancy Mitford’s account of Voltaire’s fifteen-year relationship with the Marquise du Châtelet—the renowned mathematician who introduced Isaac Newton’s revolutionary new physics to France—is a spirited romp in the company of two extraordinary individuals as well as an erudite and gossipy guide to French high society during the Enlightenment. Mitford’s story is as delicious as it is complicated. The marquise was in love with another mathematician, Maupertuis, while she had an unexpected rival for Voltaire’s affections in the future Frederick the Great of Prussia (and later in the philosophe’s own niece). There was, at least, no jealous husband to contend with: the Marquis du Châtelet, Mitford assures us, behaved perfectly. The beau monde of Paris was, however, distraught at the idea of the lovers’ brilliant conversation going to waste on the windswept hills of Champagne, site of the Château de Cirey, where experimental laboratories, a darkroom, and a library of more than twenty-one thousand volumes enabled them to pursue their amours philosophiques. From time to time the threat of impending arrest would send Voltaire scurrying across the border into Holland, but his irrepressible charm—and the interventions of powerful friends—always made it possible for him resume his studies with the cherished marquise.
Once and Forever: The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa
Kenji MiyazawaA collection of classic, fantastical tales from Northern Japan that are equal parts whimsical and sophisticated, perfect for readers of all ages.

Kenji Miyazawa is one of modern Japan’s most beloved writers, a great poet and a strange and marvelous spinner of tales, whose sly, humorous, enchanting, and enigmatic stories bear a certain resemblance to those of his contemporary Robert Walser. John Bester’s selection and expert translation of Miyazawa’s short fiction reflects its full range from the joyful, innocent “Wildcat and the Acorns,” to the cautionary tale “The Restaurant of Many Orders,” to “The Earthgod and the Fox,” which starts out whimsically before taking a tragic turn. Miyazawa also had a deep connection to Japanese folklore and an intense love of the natural world. In “The Wild Pear,” what seem to be two slight nature sketches succeed in encapsulating some of the cruelty and compensations of life itself.
Shakespeare's Montaigne: The Florio Translation of the Essays, A Selection
Michel de Montaigne, Stephen GreenblattAn NYRB Classics Original

Shakespeare, Nietzsche wrote, was Montaigne’s best reader—a typically brilliant Nietzschean insight, capturing the intimate relationship between Montaigne’s ever-changing record of the self and Shakespeare’s kaleidoscopic register of human character. And there is no doubt that Shakespeare read Montaigne—though how extensively remains a matter of debate—and that the translation he read him in was that of John Florio, a fascinating polymath, man-about-town, and dazzlingly inventive writer himself.

Florio’s Montaigne is in fact one of the masterpieces of English prose, with a stylistic range and felicity and passages of deep lingering music that make it comparable to Sir Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy and the works of Sir Thomas Browne. This new edition of this seminal work, edited by Stephen Greenblatt and Peter G. Platt, features an adroitly modernized text, an essay in which Greenblatt discusses both the resemblances and real tensions between Montaigne’s and Shakespeare’s visions of the world, and Platt’s introduction to the life and times of the extraordinary Florio. Altogether, this book provides a remarkable new experience of not just two but three great writers who ushered in the modern world.
The Communist
Guido MorselliA unique political coming of age story, now in English for the first time

An NYRB Classics Original

Walter Ferranini has been born and bred a man of the left. His father was a worker and an anarchist; Walter himself is a Communist. In the 1930s, he left Mussolini’s Italy to fight Franco in Spain. After Franco’s victory, he left Spain for exile in the United States. With the end of the war, he returned to Italy to work as a labor organizer and to build a new revolutionary order. Now, in the late 1950s, Walter is a deputy in the Italian parliament.

He is not happy about it. Parliamentary proceedings are too boring for words: the Communist Party seems to be filling up with ward heelers, timeservers, and profiteers. For Walter, the political has always taken precedence over the personal, but now there seems to be no refuge for him anywhere. The puritanical party disapproves of his relationship with Nuccia, a tender, quizzical, deeply intelligent editor who is separated but not divorced, while Walter is worried about his health, haunted by his past, and increasingly troubled by knotty questions of both theory and practice. Walter is, always has been, and always will be a Communist, he has no doubt about that, and yet something has changed. Communism no longer explains the life he is living, the future he hoped for, or, perhaps most troubling of all, the life he has led.
Max Havelaar: Or, the Coffee Auctions of The Dutch Trading Company
MultatuliA fierce indictment of colonialism, Max Havelaar is a masterpiece of Dutch literature based on the author's own experience as an adminstrator in the Dutch East Indies in the 1850s.

A brilliantly inventive fiction that is also a work of burning political outrage, Max Havelaar tells the story of a renegade Dutch colonial administrator’s ultimately unavailing struggle to end the exploitation of the Indonesian peasantry. Havelaar’s impassioned exposé is framed by the fatuous reflections of an Amsterdam coffee trader, Drystubble, into whose hands it has fallen. Thus a tale of the jungles and villages of Indonesia is interknit with one of the houses and warehouses of bourgeois Amsterdam where the tidy profits from faraway brutality not only accrue but are counted as a sign of God’s grace.

Multatuli (meaning “I have suffered greatly”) was the pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker, and his novel caused a political storm when it came out in Holland. Max Havelaar, however, is as notable for its art as it is for its politics. Layering not only different stories but different ways of writing—including plays, poems, lists, letters, and a wild accumulation of notes—to furious, hilarious, and disconcerting effect, this masterpiece of Dutch literature confronts the fixities of power with the protean and subversive energy of the imagination.
Anti-Education: On the Future of Our Educational Institutions
Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul ReitterAN NYRB Classics Original

In 1869, at the age of twenty-four, the precociously brilliant Friedrich Nietzsche was appointed to a professorship of classical philology at the University of Basel. He seemed marked for a successful and conventional academic career. Then the philosophy of Schopenhauer and the music of Wagner transformed his ambitions. The genius of such thinkers and makers—the kind of genius that had emerged in ancient Greece—this alone was the touchstone for true understanding. But how was education to serve genius, especially in a modern society marked more and more by an unholy alliance between academic specialization, mass-market journalism, and the militarized state? Something more than sturdy scholarship was called for. A new way of teaching and questioning, a new philosophy . . .

What that new way might be was the question Nietzsche broached in five vivid, popular public lectures in Basel in 1872. Anti-Education presents a provocative and timely reckoning with what remains one of the central challenges of the modern world.
Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories
Silvina OcampoAn NYRB Classics Original

Thus Were Their Faces offers a comprehensive selection of the short fiction of Silvina Ocampo, undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s great masters of the story and the novella. Here are tales of doubles and impostors, angels and demons, a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks, a beautiful seer who writes the autobiography of her own death, a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman, a suicidal romance, and much else that is incredible, mad, sublime, and delicious. Italo Calvino has written that no other writer “better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don’t show us.” Jorge Luis Borges flatly declared, “Silvina Ocampo is one of our best writers. Her stories have no equal in our literature.”

Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world’s most individual and finest.
A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940
Iris OrigoA harrowing account of life in Italy in the year leading up to World War II, available in the US for the first time.

In 1939 it was not a foregone conclusion that Mussolini would enter World War II on the side of Hitler. In this  previously unpublished and only recently discovered diary, Iris Origo, author of the classic War in Val d’Orcia, provides a vivid account of how Mussolini decided on a course of action that would devastate his country and ultimately destroy his regime.

Though the British-born Origo lived with her Italian husband on an estate in a remote part of Tuscany, she was supremely well-connected and regularly in touch with intellectual and diplomatic circles in Rome, where her godfather, William Phillips, was the American ambassador. Her diary describes the Fascist government’s growing infatuation with Nazi Germany as Hitler’s armies marched triumphantly across Europe and the campaign of propaganda and intimidation that was mounted in support of its new aims. The book ends with the birth of Origo’s daughter and Origo’s decision to go to Rome to work with prisoners of war at the Italian Red Cross. 

Together with War in Val d’Orcia, A Chill in the Air offers an indispensable record of Italy at war as well as a thrilling story of a formidable woman’s transformation from observer to actor at a great historical turning point.
Rock, Paper, Scissors: And Other Stories
Maxim Osipov, Boris DralyukThe first English-language collection of a contemporary Russian master of the short story.

Maxim Osipov, who lives and practices medicine in a town ninety miles outside Moscow, is one of Russia’s best contemporary writers. In the tradition of Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, he draws on his experiences in medicine to write stories of great subtlety and striking insight. Osipov’s fiction presents a nuanced, collage-like portrait of life in provincial Russia—its tragedies, frustrations, and moments of humble beauty and inspiration. The twelve stories in this volume depict doctors, actors, screenwriters, teachers, entrepreneurs, local political bosses, and common criminals whose paths intersect in unpredictable yet entirely natural ways: in sickrooms, classrooms, administrative offices and on trains and in planes. Their encounters lead to disasters, major and minor epiphanies, and—on occasion—the promise of redemption.
Portraits without Frames
Lev Ozerov, Robert ChandlerIsaac Babel, Dmitry Shostakovich, and Anna Akhmatova star in this series of portraits of some of the greatest writers, artists, and composers of the twentieth century.

"We stopped and Shklovsky told me / quietly, but clearly, / 'Remember, we are on our way out. / On our way out.' And I recalled / ... the wall of books, / all written by a man / who lived / in times that were hard to bear."

Lev Ozerov’s Portraits Without Frames offers fifty shrewd and moving glimpses into the lives of Soviet writers, composers, and artists caught between the demands of art and politics. Some of the subjects—like Anna Akhmatova, Isaac Babel, Andrey Platonov, and Dmitry Shostakovich—are well-known, others less so. All are evoked with great subtlety and vividness, as is the fraught and dangerous time in which they lived. Composed in free verse of deceptively artless simplicity, Ozerov’s portraits are like nothing else in Russian poetry.
The Selected Works of Cesare Pavese
Cesare Pavese, R. W. Flint"There is only one pleasure, that of being alive. All the rest is misery," wrote Cesare Pavese, whose short, intense life spanned the ordeals of fascism and World War II to witness the beginnings of Italy's postwar prosperity. Searchingly alert to nuances of speech, feeling, and atmosphere, and remarkably varied, his novels offer a panoramic vision, at once sensual and finely considered, of a time of tumultuous change. This volume presents readers with Pavese's major works. The Beach is a wry summertime comedy of sexual and romantic misunderstandings, while The House on the Hill is an extraordinary novel of war in which a teacher flees through a countryside that is both beautiful and convulsed with terror. Among Women Only tells of a fashion designer who enters the affluent world she has always dreamed of, only to find herself caught up in an eerie dance of destruction, and The Devil in the Hills is an engaging road novel about three young men roaming the hills in high summer who stumble on mysteries of love and death.
The Gray Notebook
Josep PlaJosep Pla’s masterpiece, The Gray Notebook, is one of the most colorful and unusual works in modern literature. In 1918, when Pla was in Barcelona studying law, the Spanish flu broke out, the university shut down, and he went home to his parents in coastal Palafrugell. Aspiring to be a writer, not a lawyer, he resolved to hone his style by keeping a journal. In it he wrote about his family, local characters, visits to cafés; the quips, quarrels, ambitions, and amours of his friends; writers he liked and writers he didn’t; and the long contemplative walks he would take in the countryside under magnificent skies. Returning to Barcelona to complete his studies, Pla kept up his diary, scrutinizing life in the big city with the same unflagging zest and humor.

Pla, one of the great Catalan writers, held on to this youthful journal for close to fifty years, reworking and adding to it, until he finally published The Gray Notebook as both the first volume and the capstone of his collected works. It is a beautiful, entrancing, delightful book—at once a distillation of the spirit of youth and the work of a lifetime.
Morte D'Urban
J.F. PowersWinner of The 1963 National Book Award for Fiction.

The hero of J.F. Powers's comic masterpiece is Father Urban, a man of the cloth who is also a man of the world. Charming, with an expansive vision of the spiritual life and a high tolerance for moral ambiguity, Urban enjoys a national reputation as a speaker on the religious circuit and has big plans for the future. But then the provincial head of his dowdy religious order banishes him to a retreat house in the Minnesota hinterlands. Father Urban soon bounces back, carrying God's word with undaunted enthusiasm through the golf courses, fishing lodges, and backyard barbecues of his new turf. Yet even as he triumphs his tribulations mount, and in the end his greatest success proves a setback from which he cannot recover.

First published in 1962, Morte D'Urban has been praised by writers as various as Gore Vidal, William Gass, Mary Gordon, and Philip Roth. This beautifully observed, often hilarious tale of a most unlikely Knight of Faith is among the finest achievements of an author whose singular vision assures him a permanent place in American literature.
Malacqua: Four Days of Rain in the City of Naples, Waiting for the Occurrence of an Extraordinary Event
Nicola Pugliese"This is a book with a meaning and a force and a message." —Italo Calvino

"A marvellous writer!" —Roberto Saviano

Four days of rain trigger strange events across Naples: ghostly voices are heard and musical coins appear. As a journalist searches for meaning, we follow those enduring the floods. This portrait of a much-mythologized city captivated Italy when it was first published in 1977. Withdrawn at the author's request until his death in 2012, this is its first English publication.

Nicola Pugliese (1944-2012) was born in Milan, but lived almost all his life in Naples. His only novel, Malacqua, was published by Italo Calvino.
Abel and Cain
Gregor von RezzoriAppearing together in English for the first time, two masterpieces that take on the jazz age, the Nuremburg trials, postwar commercialism, and the feat of writing a book, presented in one brilliant volume

The Death of My Brother Abel and its delirious sequel, Cain, constitute the magnum opus of Gregor von Rezzori’s prodigious career, the most ambitious, extravagant, outrageous, and deeply considered achievement of this wildly original and never less than provocative master of the novel. In Abel and Cain, the original book, long out of print, is reissued in a fully revised translation; Cain appears for the first time in English.

The Death of My Brother Abel zigzags across the middle of the twentieth century, from the 1918 to 1968, taking in the Jazz Age, the Anschluss, the Nuremberg trials, and postwar commercialism. At the center of the book is the unnamed narrator, holed up in a Paris hotel and writing a kind of novel, a collage of sardonic and passionate set pieces about love and work, sex and writing, families and nations, and human treachery and cruelty. In Cain, that narrator is revealed as Aristide Subics, or so at least it appears, since Subics’ identity is as unstable as the fictional apparatus that contains him and the times he lived through. Questions abound: How can a man who lived in a time of lies know himself? And is it even possible to tell the story of an era of lies truthfully? Primarily set in the bombed-out, rubble- strewn Hamburg of the years just after the war, the dark confusion and deadly confrontation and of Cain and Abel, inseparable brothers, goes on.
Ernesto
Umberto SabaA coming of age story that is a classic of gay literature, now in English for the first time 

An NYRB Classics Original

Ernesto is a classic of gay literature, a tender and complex tale of sexual awakening by one of Italy’s most admired poets. Ernesto is a sixteen-year-old boy from an educated family who lives with his mother in Trieste. His mother is eager for him to get ahead and has asked a local businessman to give him some workplace experience in his warehouse. One day a workingman makes advances to Ernesto, who responds with willing curiosity. A month of trysts ensues before the boy begins to tire of the relationship, finally escaping it altogether by engineering his own dismissal. And yet his experience has changed him, and as Umberto Saba’s unfinished, autobiographical story breaks off, Ernesto has struck up a new, oddly romantic attachment to a boy his own age.
Selected Stories
SakiA beautifully jacketed hardcover selection of 53 darkly witty, whimsical, and macabre short stories by an acknowledged master of the form.

Saki's dazzling tales manage the remarkable feat of being anarchic and urbane at the same time. Studded with Wildean epigrams and featuring well-contrived plots and surprise endings, his stories gleefully skewer the pompous hypocrisies of upper class Edwardian society. But they go beyond mere satire, raising dark humor to extremes of entertaining outrageousness that have rarely since been matched. Saki's elegantly mischievous young heroes sow chaos in their wake without breaking a sweat, and are occasionally joined by werewolves, tigers, eavesdropping house pets, and casually murderous children. This selection includes such famous stories as "Tobermory," "The Open Window," "Sredni Vashtar," "Mrs. Packletide's Tiger," "The Schartz-Metterklume Method," and many more.
Uncertain Glory
Joan Sales*****A classic Catalan work about love, family, and class during the Spanish Civil war.

Spain, 1937. Posted to the Aragonese front, Lieutenant Lluís Ruscalleda eschews the drunken antics of his comrades and goes in search of intrigue. But the lady of Castel de Olivo—a beautiful widow with a shadowy past—puts a high price on her affections. In Barcelona, Trini Milmany struggles to raise Lluís’s son on her own, letters from the front her only solace. With bombs falling as fast as the city’s morale, she leaves to spend the winter with Lluís’s brigade on a quiet section of the line. But even on “dead” fronts the guns do not stay silent for long. Trini’s decision will put her family’s fate in the hands of Juli Soleràs, an old friend and a traitor of easy conscience, a philosopher-cynic locked in an eternal struggle with himself.

Joan Sales, a combatant in the Spanish Civil War, distilled his experiences into a timeless story of thwarted love, lost youth, and crushed illusions. A thrilling epic that has drawn comparison with the work of Dostoyevsky and Stendhal, Uncertain Glory is a homegrown counterpart to classics such as Homage to Catalonia and For Whom the Bell Tolls.
The Wine-Dark Sea
Leonardo SciasciaLeonardo Sciascia was an outstanding and controversial presence in twentieth-century Italian literary and intellectual life. Writing about his native Sicily and its culture of secrecy and suspicion, Sciascia matched sympathy with skepticism, unflinching intelligence with a streetfighter's intransigent poise. Sciascia was particularly admired for his short stories, and The Wine-Dark Sea offers what he considered his best work in the genre: thirteen spare and trenchant miniatures that range in subject from village idiots to mafia dons, marital spats to American dreams. Here, in unforgettable form, Sciascia examines the contradictions—sometimes comic, sometimes deadly, and sometimes both—of Sicily's turbulent history and day-to-day life.
Kolyma Stories
Varlam ShalamovNow in its first complete English translation, this masterpiece chronicles life in a Soviet gulag, based on the author’s own years in a USSR prison camp.

Kolyma Stories is a masterpiece of twentieth-century literature, an epic array of short fictional tales reflecting the fifteen years that Varlam Shalamov spent in the Soviet Gulag. This is the first of two volumes (the second to appear in 2019) that together will constitute the first complete English translation of Shalamov’s stories and the only one to be based on the authorized Russian text.

Shalamov spent six years as a slave in the gold mines of Kolyma before finding a less intolerable life as a paramedic in the prison camps. He began writing his account of life in Kolyma after Stalin’s death in 1953. His stories are at once the biography of a rare survivor, a historical record of the Gulag, and a literary work of unparalleled creative power, insight, and conviction.
The Peach Blossom Fan
K'ung Shang-jenA tale of battling armies, political intrigue, star-crossed romance, and historical cataclysm, The Peach Blossom Fan is one of the masterpieces of Chinese literature, a vast dramatic composition that combines the range and depth of a great novel with the swift intensity of film.

In the mid-1640s, famine sweeps through China. The Ming dynasty, almost 300 years old, lurches to a bloody end. Peking falls to the Manchus, the emperor hangs himself, and Ming loyalists take refuge in the southern capital of Nanking. Two valiant generals seek to defend the city, but nothing can overcome the corruption, decadence, and factionalism of the court in exile. The newly installed emperor cares for nothing but theater, leaving practical matters to the insidious Ma Shih-ying. Ma’s crony Juan Ta-ch’eng is as unscrupulous an operator as he is sophisticated a poet. He diverts resources from the starving troops in order to stage a spectacular production of his latest play. History, however, has little time for make-believe, though the earnest members of the Revival Club, centered on the handsome young scholar Hou Fang-yü and his lover Fragrant Princess, struggle to discover a happy ending.
Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley
Robert Sheckley, Alex Abramovich, Jonathan LethemAn NYRB Classics Original

Robert Sheckley was an eccentric master of the American  short story, and his tales, whether set in dystopic city­scapes, ultramodern advertising agencies, or aboard spaceships lighting out for hostile planets, are among the most startlingly original of the twentieth century. Today, as the new worlds, alternate universes, and synthetic pleasures Sheckley foretold become our reality, his vision begins to look less absurdist and more prophetic. This retrospective selection, chosen by Jonathan Lethem and Alex Abramovich, brings together the best of Sheckley’s deadpan farces, proving once again that he belongs beside such mordant critics of contemporary mores as Bruce Jay Friedman, Terry Southern, and Thomas Pynchon.
Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell
Charles SimicNow in Paperback

In Dime-Store Alchemy, poet Charles Simic reflects on the life and work of Joseph Cornell, the maverick surrealist who is one of America’s great artists. Simic’s spare prose is as enchanting and luminous as the mysterious boxes of found objects for which Cornell is justly renowned.
Mary Olivier: A Life
May Sinclair, Katha PollittOriginally published alongside Ulysses in the pages of the legendary Little Review, Mary Olivier: A Life is an intimate, lacerating account of the ties between daughter and mother, a book of transfixing images and troubling moral intelligence that confronts the exigencies and ambiguities of freedom and responsibility with empathy and power. May Sinclair's finest novel stands comparison with the work of Willa Cather, Katherine Mansfield, and the young Virginia Woolf.

As a child, Mary Olivier's dreamy disposition and fierce intelligence set her apart from her Victorian family, especially her mother, "Little Mamma," whose dazzling looks cannot hide her meager love for her only daughter. Mary grows up in a world of her own, a solitude that leaves her free to explore her deepest passions, for literature and philosophy, for the austere beauties of England's north country, even as she continues to attend to her family. But in time the independence Mary values—at almost any cost—threatens to become a form of captivity itself.
A School for Fools
Sasha SokolovBy turns lyrical and philosophical, witty and baffling, A School for Fools confounds all expectations of the novel. Here we find not one reliable narrator but two “unreliable” narrators: the young man who is a student at the “school for fools” and his double. What begins as a reverie (with frequent interruptions) comes to seem a sort of fairy-tale quest not for gold or marriage but for self-knowledge. The currents of consciousness running through the novel are passionate and profound. Memories of childhood summers at the dacha are contemporaneous with the present, the dead are alive, and the beloved is present in the wind. Here is a tale either of madness or of the life of the imagination in conversation with reason, straining at the limits of language; in the words of Vladimir Nabokov, “an enchanting, tragic, and touching book.”
Is that Kafka?: 99 Finds
Reiner StachOut of the massive research for an authoritative 1,500-page biography emerges this wunderkammer of 99 delightfully odd facts about Kafka

In the course of compiling his highly acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, while foraying to libraries and archives from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one astounding discovery after another: unexpected photographs, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and testimonies from Kafka’s contemporaries that shed surprising light on his personality and his writing. Is that Kafka? presents the crystal granules of the real Kafka: he couldn’t lie, but he tried to cheat on his high-school exams; bitten by the fitness fad, he avidly followed the regime of a Danish exercise guru; he drew beautifully; he loved beer; he read biographies voraciously; he made the most beautiful presents, especially for children; odd things made him cry or made him furious; he adored slapstick. Every discovery by Stach turns on its head the stereotypical version of the tortured neurotic―and as each one chips away at the monolithic dark Kafka, the keynote, of all things, becomes laughter.

For Is that Kafka? Stach has assembled 99 of his most exciting discoveries, culling the choicest, most entertaining bits, and adding his knowledge-able commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of previously unknown images, this volume is a singular literary pleasure.
The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth
David StactonDavid Stacton’s The Judges of The Secret Court is a long-lost triumph of American fiction as well as one of the finest books ever written about the Civil War. Stacton’s gripping and atmospheric story revolves around the brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth, members of a famous theatrical family. Edwin is a great actor, himself a Hamlet-like character whose performance as Hamlet will make him an international sensation. Wilkes is a blustering mediocrity on stage who is determined, however, to be an actor in history, and whose assassination of Abraham Lincoln will change America. Stacton’s novel about how the roles we play become, for better or for worse, the lives we lead, takes us back to the day of the assassination, immersing us in the farrago of bombast that fills Wilkes’s head while following his footsteps up to the fatal encounter at Ford’s Theatre. The political maneuvering around Lincoln’s deathbed and Wilkes’s desperate flight and ignominious capture then set the stage for a political show trial that will condemn not only the guilty but the—at least relatively—innocent. For as Edwin Booth broods helplessly many years later, and as Lincoln, whose tragic death and wisdom overshadow this tale, also knew, “We are all accessories before or after some fact. . . . We are all guilty of being ourselves.”
As a Man Grows Older
Italo Svevo, Beryl De Zoete, James LasdunNot so long ago Emilio Brentani was a promising young author. Now he is an insurance agent on the fast track to forty. He gains a new lease on life, though, when he falls for the young and gorgeous Angiolina-except that his angel just happens to be an unapologetic cheat. But what begins as a comedy of infatuated misunderstanding ends in tragedy, as Emilio's jealous persistence in his folly-against his friends' and devoted sister's advice, and even his own best knowledge-leads to the loss of the one person who, too late, he realizes he truly loves. Marked by deep humanity and earthy humor, by psychological insight and an elegant simplicity of style, As a Man Grows Older (Senilità, in Italian; the English title was the suggestion of Svevo's great friend and admirer, James Joyce) is a brilliant study of hopeless love and hapless indecision. It is a masterwork of Italian literature, here beautifully rendered into English in Beryl de Zoete's classic translation.
The Door
Magda SzaboOne of The New York Times Book Review's "10 Best Books of 2015"

An NYRB Classics Original

The Door is an unsettling exploration of the relationship between two very different women. Magda is a writer, educated, married to an academic, public-spirited, with an on-again-off-again relationship to Hungary’s Communist authorities. Emerence is a peasant, illiterate, impassive, abrupt, seemingly ageless. She lives alone in a house that no one else may enter, not even her closest relatives. She is Magda’s housekeeper and she has taken control over Magda’s household, becoming indispensable to her. And Emerence, in her way, has come to depend on Magda. They share a kind of love—at least until Magda’s long-sought success as a writer leads to a devastating revelation.

Len Rix’s prizewinning translation of The Door at last makes it possible for American readers to appreciate the masterwork of a major modern European writer.
Iza's Ballad
Magda SzaboFrom the author of The Door, selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2015

An NYRB Classics Original

Like Magda Szabó’s internationally acclaimed novel The Door, Iza’s Ballad is a striking story of the relationship between two women, in this case a mother and a daughter. Ettie, the mother, is old and from an older world than the rapidly modernizing Communist Hungary of the years after World War II. From a poor family and without formal education, Ettie has devoted her life to the cause of her husband, Vince, a courageous magistrate who had been blacklisted for political reasons before the war. Iza, their daughter, is as brave and conscientious as her father: Active in the resistance against the Nazis, she is now a doctor and a force for progress. Iza lives and works in Budapest, and when Vince dies, she is quick to bring Ettie to the city to make sure her mother is close and can be cared for. She means to do everything right, and Ettie is eager to do everything to the satisfaction of the daughter she is so proud of. But good intentions aside, mother and daughter come from two different worlds and have different ideas of what it means to lead a good life. Though they struggle to accommodate each other, increasingly they misunderstand and hurt each other, and the distance between them widens into an abyss. . . .
Katalin Street
Magda SzaboFINALIST FOR THE 2017 PEN TRANSLATION PRIZE

From the author of The Door, selected as one of the New York Times "10 Best Books of 2015," this is a heartwrenching tale about a group of friends and lovers torn apart by the German occupation of Budapest during World War II.

In prewar Budapest three families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined. A game is played by the four children in which Bálint, the promising son of the Major, invariably chooses Irén Elekes, the headmaster’s dutiful elder daughter, over her younger sister, the scatterbrained Blanka, and little Henriette Held, the daughter of the Jewish dentist.

Their lives are torn apart in 1944 by the German occupation, which only the Elekes family survives intact. The postwar regime relocates them to a cramped Soviet-style apartment and they struggle to come to terms with social and political change, personal loss, and unstated feelings of guilt over the deportation of the Held parents and the death of little Henriette, who had been left in their protection. But the girl survives in a miasmal afterlife, and reappears at key moments as a mute witness to the inescapable power of past events.

As in The Door and Iza’s Ballad, Magda Szabó conducts a clear-eyed investigation into the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love. Katalin Street, which won the 2007 Prix Cévennes for Best European novel, is a poignant, somber, at times harrowing book, but beautifully conceived and truly unforgettable.
Castle Gripsholm
Kurt TucholskyA beguiling fable about a summer holiday in the Swedish countryside that transforms into a provocative parable about oppression and the evil awaiting Europe as the Nazis came to power.

Castle Gripsholm, the best and most beloved work by Kurt Tucholsky, is a short novel about an enchanted summer holiday. It begins with an assignment: Tucholsky’s publisher wants him to write something light and funny, otherwise about whatever Tucholsky wants. A deal is struck and the story is off: about Peter, a writer; his girlfriend, known as the Princess; and a summer vacation far from the hurly-burly of Berlin. Peter and the Princess have rented a small house attached to a historic castle in Sweden, and they have five weeks of long days and white nights at their disposal; five weeks for swimming and walking and sex and talking and visits with Peter’s buddy Karlchen and with Billy, the Princess’s best friend. It is perfect, until they meet a weeping girl fleeing the cruel headmistress of a home for children. The vacationers decide they must free the girl and send her back to her mother in Switzerland, which brings about an encounter with authority that casts a worrying shadow over their radiant summer idyll. Soon they must return to Germany. What kind of fairy tale are they living in?
The Kindness of Strangers
Salka ViertelA memoir about showbiz in the early 20th century that travels from the theaters of Vienna, Prague, and Berlin, to Hollywood during the golden age, complete with encounters with Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein, and Greta Garbo along the way.

Salka Viertel’s autobiography tells of a brilliant, creative, and well-connected woman’s pilgrimage through the darkest years of the twentieth century, a journey that would take her from a remote province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Hollywood. The Kindness of Strangers is, to quote the New Yorker writer S. N. Behrman, “a very rich book. It provides a panorama of the dissolving civilizations of the twentieth century. In all of them the author lived at the apex of their culture and artistic aristocracies. Her childhood . . . is an entrancing idyll. In Berlin, in Prague, in Vienna, there appears Karl Kraus, Kafka, Rilke, Robert Musil, Schoenberg, Einstein, Alban Berg. There is the suffering and disruption of the First World War and the suffering and agony after it, which is described with such intimacy and vividness that you endure these terrible years with the author. Then comes the migration to Hollywood, where Salka’s house on Mabery Road becomes a kind of Pantheon for the gathered artists, musicians, and writers. It seems to me that no one has ever described Hollywood and the life of writers there with such verve.”
The Tenants of Moonbloom
Edward Lewis WallantNorman Moonbloom is a loser, a drop-out who can't even make it as a deadbeat. His brother, a slumlord, hires him to collect rent in the buildings he owns in Manhattan. Making his rounds from apartment to apartment, Moonbloom confronts a wildly varied assortment of brilliantly described urban characters, among them a gay jazz musician with a sideline as a gigolo, a Holocaust survivor, and a brilliant young black writer modeled on James Baldwin. Moonbloom hears their cries of outrage and abuse; he learns about their secret sorrows and desires. And as he grows familiar with their stories, he finds that he is drawn, in spite of his best judgment, into a desperate attempt to improve their lives.

Edward Lewis Wallant's astonishing comic tour de force is a neglected masterpiece of 1960s America.
Berlin Stories
Robert Walser, Jochen GrevenA New York Review Books Original

In 1905 the young Swiss writer Robert Walser arrived in Berlin to join his older brother Karl, already an important stage-set designer, and immediately threw himself into the vibrant social and cultural life of the city. Berlin Stories collects his alternately celebratory, droll, and satirical observations on every aspect of the bustling German capital, from its theaters, cabarets, painters’ galleries, and literary salons, to the metropolitan street, markets, the Tiergarten, rapid-service restaurants, and the electric tram. Originally appearing in literary magazines as well as the feuilleton sections of newspapers, the early stories are characterized by a joyous urgency and the generosity of an unconventional guide. Later pieces take the form of more personal reflections on the writing process, memories, and character studies. All are full of counter-intuitive images and vignettes of startling clarity, showcasing a unique talent for whom no detail was trivial, at grips with a city diving headlong into modernity.
A Schoolboy's Diary and Other Stories
Robert WalserA Schoolboy’s Diary brings together more than seventy of Robert Walser’s strange and wonderful stories, most never before available in English. Opening with a sequence from Walser’s first book, “Fritz Kocher’s Essays,” the complete classroom assignments of a fictional boy who has met a tragically early death, this selection ranges from sketches of uncomprehending editors, overly passionate readers, and dreamy artists to tales of devilish adultery, sexual encounters on a train, and Walser’s service in World War I. Throughout, Walser’s careening, confounding, delicious voice holds the reader transfixed.
Basic Black With Pearls
Helen WeinzweigA brilliant, lost feminist classic that is equal parts domestic drama and international intrigue.

Shirley and Coenraad’s affair has been going on for decades, but her longing for him is as desperate as ever. She is a Toronto housewife; he works for an international organization known only as the Agency. Their rendezvous take place in Tangier, in Hong Kong, in Rome and are arranged by an intricate code based on notes slipped into issues of National Geographic. He recognizes her by her costume: a respectable black dress and string of pearls; his appearance, however, is changeable. But something has happened, the code has been discovered, and Coenraad sends Shirley (who prefers to be known as “Lola Montez”) to Toronto, the last place she wants to go. There the trail leads her through the sites of her impoverished immigrant childhood and sends her, finally, to her own house, where she discards her pearls and trades in her basic black for a dress of vibrant multicolored silk.

Helen Weinzweig published her first novel when she was fifty-eight. Basic Black with Pearls, her second, won the Toronto Book Award and has since come to be recognized as a feminist landmark. Here Weinzweig imbues the formal inventiveness of the nouveau roman with psychological poignancy and surprising humor to tell a story of simultaneous dissolution and discovery.
The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story
Glenway WescottThis powerful short novel describes the events of a single afternoon. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and sometime novelist, is staying with a friend outside of Paris, when a well-heeled, itinerant Irish couple drops in—with Lucy, their trained hawk, a restless, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is prepared, drink flows. A masquerade, at once harrowing and farcical, begins.

A work of classical elegance and concision, The Pilgrim Hawk stands with Faulkner’s The Bear as one of the finest American short novels: a beautifully crafted story that is also a poignant evocation of the implacable power of love.
Riders in the Chariot
Patrick WhitePatrick White's brilliant 1961 novel, set in an Australian suburb, intertwines four deeply different lives. An Aborigine artist, a Holocaust survivor, a beatific washerwoman, and a childlike heiress are each blessed—and stricken—with visionary experiences that may or may not allow them to transcend the machinations of their fellow men. Tender and lacerating, pure and profane, subtle and sweeping, Riders in the Chariot is one of the Nobel Prize winner's boldest books.
English Renaissance Poetry: A Collection of Shorter Poems from Skelton to Jonson
John WilliamsAN ANTHOLOGY FROM THE AUTHOR OF STONER

Poetry in English as we know it was largely invented in England between the early 1500s and 1630, and yet for many years the poetry of the era was considered little more than a run-up to Shakespeare. The twentieth century brought a reevaluation, and the English Renaissance has since come to be recognized as the period of extraordinary poetic experimentation that it was. Never since have the possibilities of poetic form and, especially, poetic voice—from the sublime to the scandalous and slangy—been so various and inviting. This is poetry that speaks directly across the centuries to the renaissance of poetic exploration in our own time.

John Williams’s celebrated anthology includes not only some of the most famous poems by some of the most famous poets of the English language (Sir Thomas Wyatt, John Donne, and of course Shakespeare) but also-—-and this is what makes Williams’s book such a rare and rich resource—the strikingly original work of little-known masters like George Gascoigne and Fulke Greville.
Nothing but the Night
John WilliamsStoner author John Williams's first novel is a searing look at a man's relationship with his absent father, and how early trauma manifests throughout one's life

John Williams’s first novel is a brooding psychological noir. Arthur Maxley is a young man at the end of his emotional rope. Having dropped out of college, he’s holed up in a big-city hotel, living off an allowance from his family, feeling nothing but alone and doing nothing but drinking to forget it. What’s brought him to this point? Something is troubling him, something is haunting him, something he cannot bring himself either to face or to turn away from. And now his father has come to town, a hail-fellow-well-met kind of guy. They’ve been estranged for years, and yet Arthur wants to meet—and so he does, reeling away from the encounter for a night of drinking and dancing and a final reckoning with the traumatizing past that readers will not soon forget.

This edition of Nothing but the Night includes an interview with Nancy Gardner Williams, the author’s widow.
Stoner
John WilliamsWilliam Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments: marriage into a “proper” family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude.

John Williams’s luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. William Stoner emerges from it not only as an archetypal American, but as an unlikely existential hero, standing, like a figure in a painting by Edward Hopper, in stark relief against an unforgiving world.
To the Finland Station
Edmund WilsonTo the Finald Station is one of the greatest works by 20th-century America’s heralded man of letters. This magisterial study of the revolutionary dream reaches from the French Revolution through the Paris Commune to Russia in 1917, and features brilliant portraits of such figures as Jules Michelet, the great historian of the French people; the utopians Robert Owen and Charles Fourier; the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin; and of course Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Combining his polymathic talents as critic, journalist, historian, and novelist, Edmund Wilson offers an incisive and enduring tribute to the resilience, depth, and passion of the modern culture of protest.
Chocky
John WyndhamIn Chocky, pioneering science-fiction master John Wyndham confronts an enigma as strange as anything found in his classic works The Day of the Triffids or The Chrysalids—the mind of a child.

It’s not terribly unusual for a boy to have an imaginary friend, but Matthew’s parents have to agree that his—nicknamed Chocky—is anything but ordinary. Why, Chocky demands to know, are there twenty-four hours in a day? Why are there two sexes? Why can’t Matthew solve his math homework using a logical system like binary code? When the questions Chocky asks become too advanced and, frankly, too odd for teachers to answer, Matthew’s  parents start to wonder if Chocky might be something far stranger than a figment of their son’s imagination.

Chocky, the last novel Wyndham published during his life, is a playful investigation of what being human is all about, delving into such matters as child-rearing, marriage, learning, artistic inspiration—and ending with a surprising and impassioned plea for better human stewardship of the earth.
Beware of Pity
Stefan ZweigWes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office Girl.  The Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself — our “Author” character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well."

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."—Salman Rushdie

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.
Chess Story
Stefan ZweigChess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the Austrian master Stefan Zweig’s final achievement, completed in his Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only days before his suicide in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on its psychological damage. He dramatizes the internal destruction inflicted by tyranny. The work is also one of the rare pieces of literature to bring alive the complex and overpowering feelings associated with the great game of chess.

Travelers sailing from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess. He is, as they soon discover, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They gather together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig’s story, which is also a meditation on the burden of memory and the ways in which resistance and vulnerability are entwined in the human spirit.
The Post-Office Girl
Stefan ZweigWes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office Girl.  The Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself — our “Author” character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well." 

The post-office girl is Christine, who looks after her ailing mother and toils in a provincial Austrian post office in the years just after the Great War. One afternoon, as she is dozing among the official forms and stamps, a telegraph arrives addressed to her. It is from her rich aunt, who lives in America and writes requesting that Christine join her and her husband in a Swiss Alpine resort. After a dizzying train ride, Christine finds herself at the top of the world, enjoying a life of privilege that she had never imagined.

But Christine’s aunt drops her as abruptly as she picked her up, and soon the young woman is back at the provincial post office, consumed with disappointment and bitterness. Then she meets Ferdinand, a wounded but eloquent war veteran who is able to give voice to the disaffection of his generation. Christine’s and Ferdinand’s lives spiral downward, before Ferdinand comes up with a plan which will be either their salvation or their doom.

Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.