Pocket Penguins. A new series of little books, intimate and grand, funny, searing and visionary.
Each book is colour-coded by country of origin and numbered for the avid collector. Could there be any greater pleasure than reading a beautifully packaged classic?
The train ran on without a driver, on and on, like some mindless, unseeing beast...
Zola’s tense, gripping psychological thriller of adultery, corruption and murder on the French railways is a graphic and violent exploration of the darkest recesses of the criminal mind... more
Years afterward she thought of the duck as still there, swimming and diving all by herself in the sunlight.
A rapturous work of savage beauty, Willa Cather’s 1913 tale of a pioneer woman who tames the wild hostile lands of the prairie is also the story of what it means to be American... more
He said that Shamil had ordered Hadji Murat to be taken dead or alive...
Two masterly Russian tales of freedom, fighting and great warriors in the majestic mountains of the Caucasus, inspired by Tolstoy’s years as a soldier living among the Cossack people... more
I slept very comfortably with half a dozen smoke-dried human skulls suspended over my head...
The great Victorian scientist’s heroic adventures across South-East Asia, from Singapore to the wilds of New Guinea, encountering head-hunters, jungles, birds of paradise and new discoveries that would change the world... more
There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several.This dreamlike meditation on being young and alone in Paris is a feverish work of nerves, angst and sublime beauty from one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets... more
When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find that it is the same in all her music.
In one of the most passionate memoirs ever written, Karen Blixen recalls running a farm in Africa at the start of the twentieth century, and the love affair that changed her life... more
I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.
Featuring an ordinary man who wakes up to find himself turned into a giant cockroach, Kafka’s masterpiece of unease and black humour, Metamorphosis, is brought together here with the best of his short stories... more
I could hear the frost crackling outside. Greenish moonbeams shone through windows covered with patterns of ice...
In one of the most moving, raw accounts of childhood ever written, Maxim Gorky describes, with appalling clarity and startling freshness, growing up amid poverty and brutality in Tsarist Russia... more
Then he saw the barrel of a gun aimed dead on target – not at him, as he might have expected, but at the clergyman’s back.
Set in a crumbling Spanish mansion, this gloriously comic and gothic novel follows the fortunes of an innocent young priest as he enters a world of moral decadence, sexual intrigue and corruption... more
Nowhere could she discover the dens of iniquity about which she had dreamed…
Sparkling, darkly humorous tales of high society, playboys, courtesans, peasants, sex and savagery in nineteenth-century France, from the father of the short story... more
I pity this house; the curse of God is hanging over it...
Two lovers must face tyrants, war, riots, plague and famine as they struggle to be together, in this teeming panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life – the original historical novel... more
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
One man’s account of his solitary and self-sufficient home in the New England woods, this is the original book about abandoning our ‘lives of quiet desperation’ and getting back to nature... more
Aristocracy, liberalism, progress, principles...useless words! A Russian doesn’t need them...
This humane, moving masterpiece of families, love, duels, heartache, failure and the clash between generations caused a scandal in nineteenth-century Russia with its portrayal of youthful nihilism...more
Listen, Švejk, are you really God’s prize oaf?’ ‘Humbly report, sir,’ Švejk answered solemnly. ‘I am!
Drunkard, malingerer, oaf and possible genius – the story of Czech soldier Švejk and his misadventures in the First World War is one of the most hilarious and subversive satires on war ever written... more
He too began to chase the great pierrot through the corridors of the château…
A novel of desperate yearning and vanished adolescence, the story of Meaulnes and his restless search for a lost, enchanted world has the atmosphere of a dream and the purity of a fairy tale... more