Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)

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The parents come home.

The father fantasises about the girl. These events are not definitive. Contradictory possibilities exist simultaneously. The girl is raped and unraped. The father acts and does not act on his lascivious fantasies. The reader is expected to hold the story open, an activity which opens up the mechanics of narrative for inspection.

This developed into an interest, not so much in chance process like John Cage but in the possibility of non-linear narrative architecture closer to Julio Cortazar or BS Johnson , a concern which led directly to his more recent technological experiments. In the sixties, Coover experimented with marginal punch cards, a now-obsolete filing system which used a system of peripheral holes, some cut clear to the edge of the card, so that when rods were slipped through the holes in a stack of cards, those cards which did not have that position punched out remained on the rod, while the target cards fell out of the stack.

Coover used this system to develop a thesaurus, and tried to use it for fiction-writing, creating cards for characters and narrative elements in ways that sound similar to some of the techniques later used in role-playing and computer adventure games.

The problem was, as he admits, that his fictional web of interrelations rapidly became too dense. The fictions he developed with this system often used pre-existing material like The Arabian Nights to provide a lexicon of elements from which to work. In , McSweeneys published A Child Again, a collection which included a story in the form of playing cards, which had its origin in these early punchcard experiments. I ask whether he feels his work relates to that of the French proto-Surrealist Raymond Roussel, who in the years before world war one generated works such as Locus Solus and Impressions of Africa using a highly-artificial set of formal constraints based on homophonic puns.

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He allows that he is interested in Roussel, but was never attracted to the idea of constraints as a way of generating stories. The use of fairytales and genre elements recent novels spin out of noir, the western and pornogaphy are a way of freeing himself from the task of having to generate cards to shuffle. He tells me a story which can serve as a sort of myth of origin. In the summer of he found himself on his own in Chicago, temporarily separated from his family.

The opening section, at least.

A Reading from Robert Coover's "Spanking the Maid"

But somewhere in the middle of the book the experience totally transformed, I was really ticked off. As the years roll by, Jim will come to view Antonia as the embodiment of the prairie itself - tough, spirited and enduring, despite the hardness and loneliness of pioneer life. Willa Cather's beautiful novel is a celebration of the Nebraskan prairie she loved she much, and a powerful depiction of a pivotal era in the making of America. Author: R.

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The funny and moving story of the apocalypse - as seen from one small village in England 'I loved this book, by turns funny and tragic It moves between abject despair and good old-fashioned British stoicism with ease. But his narrow world is shattered when he learns that the moon is about to come crashing into the earth, with apocalyptic consequences. The manuscript he leaves behind will be a testament - to his growing humanity and to how one English village tried to survive the end of the world Written in as the world was teetering on the brink of global war, R.

Sherriff's tragicomic novel is a masterly work of science fiction, and a powerful warning from the past. It is supremely and alarmingly relevant' Fay Weldon 'Intensely readable and touching' Sunday Telegraph. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them.

Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid Reviews

As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined. A blistering expose of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely had time to love. A friend he thought was lost to him.

A friend who took him from radical s Berlin to life as a double agent. Now, decades later, the Cold War is over and the war on terror has begun. Sasha has another mission for them both, but this time it is impossible to tell the difference between allies - and enemies.

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Set in a world of lies and shifting allegiances, Absolute Friends is a savage fable of our times. He says his name is Issa. To the idealistic young human rights lawyer Annabel, determined to save him from deportation, he is a worthy cause. To the intelligence services of Britain, Germany and America, however, he is a potential jihadist - and a pawn between them as they seek to make a kill in the war on terror. Aldo Cassidy is the naive and sentimental lover.

A successful, judicious man, he is wrenched away from the ordered certainties of his life by a sudden encounter with Shamus, a wild, carousing artist and Helen, his nakedly alluring wife. Cassidy, plunged into a whirlpool of recklessness and spontaneity, becomes a man bewildered and agonised as he is torn between two poles of a nature more complex than he had ever imagined. He makes it a principle to remain neutral - no matter what he hears. But when he is summoned on a secret job for British Intelligence, he is told he will have to get his hands dirty. His mission is to help bring democracy to the Congo - democracy that will be delivered at the end of a gun barrel.

The Mission Song is an excoriating depiction of a corrupt world where loyalty can be bought and war is simply an opportunity to settle old scores. Has he defected? Gone to ground? As the hunt for Pym intensifies, the secrets of his life are revealed: the people he has loved and betrayed, the unreliable con-man father who made him, the two mentors who moulded and shaped him, and now wish to claim this perfect spy as their own.

Described by le Carre as his most autobiographical novel, A Perfect Spy is a devastating portrayal of a man who has played different roles for so long, he no longer knows who he is. A Perfect Spy will very likely remain his greatest book' New Yorker. How can a down-at-heel magician in Devon explain the vast fortune that has mysteriously appeared in his daughter's trust fund?

With customs officer Nat Brock on the trail, the answers point to the House of Single - once a respectable finance company, now entangled with a Russian crime syndicate.

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West is pitted against East, and the British establishment against a labyrinthine criminal superpower, in le Carre's searing novel of lives built upon lies. In the second part of John le Carre's Karla Trilogy, the battle of wits between spymaster George Smiley and his Russian adversary takes on an even more dangerous dimension. George Smiley, now acting head of the Circus, must rebuild its shattered reputation after one of the biggest betrayals in its history. Using the talents of journalist and occasional spy Jerry Westerby, Smiley launches a risky operation uncovering a Russian money-laundering scheme in the Far East.

His aim: revenge on Karla, head of Moscow Centre and the architect of all his troubles. A mole, implanted by Moscow Centre, has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Intelligence Service, almost destroying it in the process. And so former spymaster George Smiley has been brought out of retirement in order to hunt down the traitor at the very heart of the Circus - even though it may be one of those closest to him. Over the course of his career, Tomas Transtroemer - a poet who could look on the barren isolation of Sweden's landscapes and seascapes like no other, and find in them something hauntingly transcendent - emerged as one of the 20th century's essential global voices.

By the time he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in , his luminous, almost mystical work had been translated into more than 50 languages. Gathering his poems from the early, nature-focused work to the later poetry's widening of the scope to take in painting, travel, urban life, and the impositions of technology on the natural world, and stirred throughout by the poet's profound love of music, The Half-Finished Heaven is a unique selection from Transtroemer's work.

It is also, in its way, a deeply intimate one: the poems hand-picked here are not only the most beloved, but also those which were translated in the course of Transtroemer's nearly thirty-year correspondence with his close friend and collaborator, the American poet Robert Bly. Few names are more strongly associated with Transtroemer's; and few people have understood not only his poetry, but the processes behind it, more profoundly. The result is perhaps the best English-language introduction to this great and strange poet's work that there could be.

And she did. This, his thrilling, wildly romantic autobiography, is the story of his journey from poverty in Eastern Europe to the sensual world of the Cote d'Azur and on to wartime pilot, resistance hero, diplomat, filmmaker, star and one of the most famed French writers of his age. The second novel in the Great Plains trilogy, this is a passionate portrait of the artist as a young woman Thea Kronberg, a young girl from a small town in Colorado has a great gift - her beautiful singing voice.

Her talent takes her to the great opera houses of Europe, and through ambition and hard work, she forges a life as an artist.

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But if she can never go home again, nor can she leave behind her past. At last, in a desert canyon in Arizona, Thea has a revelation that will allow her to attain a new state of spirituality and become a truly great artist. Byatt 'Lingers long in the memory' Joyce Carol Oates. An extraordinary history of French lives under occupation in the First and Second World Wars, this is an intimate, unforgettable meditation on the strange mixture of compromise and betrayal, collaboration and resistance that marks defeat, written by one of the greatest historians of France.

Cobb has a strong sense of how ordinary life has to go on, even through disasters, and a sensitivity for what it was like at the time, matched by a gift for the telling phrase' Economist 'Prophet of the past, Richard Cobb is a visionary' New York Review of Books 'His France - urban, northern, provincial, pedestrian, noisy, unpuritanical, festive - was in contrast to, and predicated upon, another France: bureaucratic, official, suburban, safe' Julian Barnes.

Jack Kerouac's classic novel about friendship, the search for meaning, and the allure of nature A witty, moving philosophical novel, Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums is a journey of self-discovery through the lens of Zen Buddhist thought. Following the explosive energy of On the Road, the book that put the Beat Genration on the literary map - and Jack Kerouac on the bestseller list - comes The Dharma Bums, in which Kerouac charts the spiritual quest of a group of friends in search of Dharma, or Truth.

Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid

Ray Smith and his friend Japhy, along with Morley the yodeller, head off into the high Sierras to seek the lesson of solitude and experience the Zen way of life. But in wildly Bohemian San Francisco, with its poetry jam sessions, marathon drinking bouts and experiments in 'yabyum', they find the ascetic route distinctly hard to follow. A timeless travelogue from the leading light of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac's Lonesome Traveller is a jubilant celebration of human discovery As he roams the US, Mexico, Morocco, Paris and London, Kerouac records, in prose of pure poetry, life on the road.

Standing on the engine of a train as it rushes past fields of prickly cactus; witnessing his first bullfight in Mexico while high on opium; catching up with the beat nightlife in New York; burying himself in the snow-capped mountains of north-west America; meditating on a sunlit roof in Tangiers; or falling in love with Montmartre and the huge white basilica of Sacre-Coeur - Kerouac reveals both the endless diversity of human life and his own high-spirited philosophy of self-fulfilment. Defying her family's wishes, she has brought up her eleven-year-old daughter alone in her apartment. And now, after a casual affair, she is unexpectedly pregnant again.

What will this mean for her already troubled relationship with her daughter?

As she faces the future, memories of her own childhood loss flood into her consciousness, threatening to overwhelm her. Combining the beauty and unease of a dream, this haunting novel is an unflinching portrayal of a woman's innermost fears and desires. Author: E. A Short History of Decay is E. Cioran's nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid 20th-century Europe.

Touching upon man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short History of Decay dissects man's decadence in a remarkable series of moving and beautiful pieces.

A darkly humorous Czech satire: a new super-breed tries to conquer the world War with the Newts is Karel Capek's darkly humorous allegory of early 20th-century Czech politics. Captain van Toch discovers a colony of newts in Sumatra which can not only be taught to trade and use tools, but also to speak. As the rest of the world learns of the creatures and their wonderful capabilities, it is clear that this new species is ripe for exploitation - they can be traded in their thousands, will do the work no human wants to do, and can fight - but the humans have given no thought to the terrible consequences of their actions.

Robert is a lonely American soldier looking for a girl.

Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)
Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)
Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)
Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)
Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)
Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics) Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Penguin Modern Classics)

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