As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire - from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.
Twenty-three stories, all unabridged, from a diverse group of star writers and readers. A truly memorable collection with a wide appeal. Includes "The Years Midnight" by Helen Simpson, read by Harriet Walter; "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful Morning" by Haruki Marukami, read by Walter Lewis; "Bablady" by A. S. Byatt, read by Roslaind Eyres; "Hotel des Vaoyaguerus" by William Boyd, read by Martin Jarvis; and "Who?" by Fay Weldon, read by Julie Christie.
"Not very modern collection"
A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett's long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Press and the origins of his debut novel, The Carpet People, and on again to the dizzy mastery of the phenomenally successful Discworld series.
"I kept busting out laughing."
As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new life, whose dark, war-ravaged days feel very removed from the peace and love being preached in church and at school. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods - a book of ancient Norse myths - and her inner and outer worlds are transformed. She feels an instant kinship with these vivid, beautiful, terrifying tales of the end of the gods - they seem far more real, far more familiar during these precarious days.
"What a great listen!"
Taking us from the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, The Children's Book is a deeply affecting story of a singular family, played out against the great, rippling tides of the day. It is a masterly literary achievement by one of our most essential writers.
"A wandering story that goes on forever."
Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children at her side. For each of them she writes a separate private book. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world - but their lives, those of their rich cousins and of their friends are already inscribed with mystery.
"Adult book about the pleasures of knowledge"
In this intoxicating novel, Frederica falls almost by accident into a career in television in London, while tumultuous events in her home county of Yorkshire threaten to change her life and those of the people she loves.
Through the author's wayward, lovingly drawn characters and breathtaking twists of plot, she illuminates the effervescence of the 1960s, both its excitements and its dangers, as no one has done before.
"I couldn't force myself to finish"
In 1953, at an isolated boys’ school in the Yorkshire moors, is a young teacher, Alexander Wedderburn, whose imagination had been captured by the Queen Elizabeth of Shakespeare and Spenser and who has written an historical verse play about her. Now, suddenly, his play has been taken up by a wealthy patron of the arts who envisions its production on the most magnificent scale, for it is to be the climax of a local festival honoring the new Queen Elizabeth.
Glowing with narrator Virginia Leishman’s finely tuned phrasing, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye is the perfect introduction to A.S. Byatt, an author who continues to receive international awards and acclaim. Her wondrous fairy tales are iridescent stories full of spells, marvelous creatures, and beautiful princesses.
"The title story is superb"
In two breathtakingly accomplished novellas, A. S. Byatt explores the landscape of Victorian England, where science and spiritualism are both popular manias, and domestic decorum coexists with brutality and perversion.
In this elegant set of stories, three modern women are touched in different ways by the paintings of Henri Matisse. The three stories are "Medusa's Ankles", "Art Works", and "The Chinese Lobster".
"A dazzling feast for the senses"
In The Matisse Stories, this Booker Prize-winning author offers three elegant tales that explore the subtle interplays between mind and eye, heart and hand. In the first, Medusa’s Ankles, a fashionable woman watches her life take on darker, more ominous shades in the mirror of a beauty salon.
When they were little girls, Cassandra and Julia played a game in which they entered an alternate world modeled on the landscapes of Arthurian romance. Now, the sisters are grown and have become hostile strangers—until a figure from their past, a man they once both loved and suffered over, reenters their lives. It is the skittish, snake-obsessed Simon who draws Julia and Cassandra into his charismatic orbit … and into menacing proximity to each other, their discarded selves, and the game that neither of them has completely forgotten.
In the four decades since his first book appeared in print, Terry Pratchett has become one of the world’s best-selling and best-loved authors. Here for the first time are his short stories and other short form fiction collected into one volume. A Blink of the Screen charts the course of Pratchett’s long writing career: from his schooldays through to his first writing job on the Bucks Free Press, and the origins of his debut novel, The Carpet People; and on again to the dizzy mastery of the Discworld series.
"For the collector who can't bear a hole..."
Ragnarok is the story of the end of the world. It is a tale of destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves. What more relevant myth could any modern writer find? As the bombs rain down in the Second World War, one young girl is evacuated to the English countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life.