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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?

Nº–1 The Beast Within

by Émile Zola

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

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Nº–2 O Pioneers!

by Willa Cather

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

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Nº–3 The Cossacks and Hadji Murat

by Leo Tolstoy

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

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Nº–4 The Malay Archipelago

by Alfred Russel Wallace

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

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Nº–5 The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

by Rainer Maria Rilke

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


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Nº–6: Mrs Dalloway

by Virginia Woolf

Sally stopped; picked a flower; kissed her on the lips..

The lives of a woman preparing for a party and a young man suffering from shell-shock converge on one June day in 1920’s London, in Woolf’s great novel of time, memory, war and the city... more

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Nº–7 Out of Africa

by Karen Blixen

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

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Nº–8 Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka

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

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Nº–9 My Childhood

by Maxim Gorky

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

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Nº–10 The House of Ulloa

by Emilia Pardo Bazan

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

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Nº–11 A Parisian Affair

by Guy De Maupassant

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

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Nº–12 The Betrothed

by Alessandro Manzoni

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

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Nº–13 Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

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

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Nº–14 Fathers and Sons

by Ivan Turgenev

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

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Nº–15 The Rainbow

by D. H. Lawrence

So Ursula became the child of her father’s heart.

Following three generations of a family in rural England as they struggle, fight, labour on the land and discover who they are, Lawrence’s rhapsodic, poetic and mystical work rewrote the novel... more

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Nº–16 The Call of Cthulhu

by H. P. Lovecraft

A mountain walked or stumbled. God!

Mad, macabre tales of demonic spirits, hideous rites, ancient curses and alien entities lurking beneath the surface of rural New England, from the man who created the modern horror story... more

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Nº–17 The Secret Agent

by Joseph Conrad

The terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket.

Set in an Edwardian London underworld of terrorist bombers, spies, grotesques and fanatics, Conrad’s dark, unsettling masterpiece asks if we ever really know others, or ourselves... more

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Nº–18 The Good Soldier Švejk

by Jaroslav Hašek

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

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Nº–19 The Lost Estate

by Henri Alain-Fournier

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

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Nº–20 The Master and Margarita

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Manuscripts don’t burn…

This ribald, carnivalesque satire – featuring the Devil, true love and a gun-toting cat – was written in the darkest days of the Soviet Union and became an underground sensation... more

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