Best of
Literary-Fiction

1995

The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van


Roddy Doyle - 1995
    Roddy Doyle's winning trio of comic novels depicting the daily life and times of the Rabbitte family in working-class Dublin.The CommitmentsStill one of the freshest and funniest rock 'n' roll novels ever written, Doyle's first book portrays a group of aspiring musicians on a mission: to bring soul to Dublin.The SnapperDoyle's sparkling second novel observes the progression of twenty-year-old Sharon's pregnancy and its impact on the Rabbitte family - especially on her father, Jimmy Sr - with with, candor, and surprising authenticity.The VanSet during the heady days of Ireland's brief, euphoric triumphs in the 1990 World Cup, this Booker Prize nominee is a tender and hilarious tale of male friendship, midlife crisis, and family life.--back cover

Extinction


Thomas Bernhard - 1995
    Extinction, his last novel, takes the form of the autobiographical testimony of Franz-Josef Murau. The intellectual black sheep of a powerful Austrian land-owning family, Murau lives in self-exile in Rome. Obsessed and angry with his identity as an Austrian, he resolves never to return to the family estate of Wolfsegg. But when news comes of his parents' deaths, he finds himself master of Wolfsegg and must decide its fate.Written in Bernhard's seamless style, Extinction is the ultimate proof of his extraordinary literary genius.

A Dance to the Music of Time: 2nd Movement


Anthony Powell - 1995
    Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.In the background of this second volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, the rumble of distant events in Germany and Spain presages the storm of World War II. In England, even as the whirl of marriages and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures gathers speed, men and women find themselves on the brink of fateful choices. Includes these novels: At Lady Molly'sCasanova's Chinese RestaurantThe Kindly Ones

A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement


Anthony Powell - 1995
    Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.In this third volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, we again meet Widmerpool, doggedly rising in rank; Jenkins, shifted from one dismal army post to another; Stringham, heroically emerging from alcoholism; Templer, still on his eternal sexual quest. Here, too, we are introduced to Pamela Flitton, one of the most beautiful and dangerous women in modern fiction. Wickedly barbed in its wit, uncanny in its seismographic recording of human emotions and social currents, this saga stands as an unsurpassed rendering of England's finest yet most costly hour.Includes these novels:The Valley of BonesThe Soldier's ArtThe Military Philosophers"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician."—Chicago Tribune"A book which creates a world and explores it in depth, which ponders changing relationships and values, which creates brilliantly living and diverse characters and then watches them grow and change in their milieu. . . . Powell's world is as large and as complex as Proust's."—Elizabeth Janeway, New York Times"One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War. . . . The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience."—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker

The Ruskin Bond Children's Omnibus


Ruskin Bond - 1995
    Most of these stories are set in the hills, but their appeal in universal. This volume includes the ever - popular Grandfather's Private Zoo written over twenty-five years ago and a favorite with two generations of children; Angry River and the Blue Umbrella, both of which have children as protagonists; The Road to the Bazaar, Ghost Trouble, 'Cricket for the Crocodile' and 'Dust on the Mountain', which chronicle small - town life in Northern India.These stories highlight the charm of simple living and are written in Ruskin Bond's witty and humorous style.

A Dance to the Music of Time: 4th Movement


Anthony Powell - 1995
    Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.In this climactic volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, Nick Jenkins describes a world of ambition, intrigue, and dissolution. England has won the war, but now the losses, physical and moral, must be counted. Pamela Widmerpool sets a snare for the young writer Trapnel, while her husband suffers private agony and public humiliation. Set against a background of politics, business, high society, and the counterculture in England and Europe, this magnificent work of art sounds an unforgettable requiem for an age.Includes these novels: Books Do Furnish a Room Temporary Kings Hearing Secret Harmonies

Reservation Blues


Sherman Alexie - 1995
    Inspired by this gift, Thomas forms Coyote Springs, an all-Indian Catholic band who find themselves on a magical tour that leads from reservation bars to Seattle and New York--and deep within their own souls.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum


Kate Atkinson - 1995
    Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

The Gospel Singer


Harry Crews - 1995
    Though the townsfolk give way to a mindless idolization, the Gospel Singer is tormented by the extent of his deception and is forced to admit his corrupt activities.

Mephisto


Klaus Mann - 1995
    In it he captures the Isherwood-like atmosphere of Nazi Germany while telling a satiric story about the rise to power of one man - a thinly veiled caricature of his own brother-in-law. The man is Hendrik Hofgen, a character actor who in his own life plays a bizarre part in the elite circle of the Third Reich. Hofgen is publicly a revolutionary, but secretly he is a man driven by an obsessive need for power and fame. Although he benefits from the prestige of being married to the daughter of an eminent politician, he endangers his rise in Nazi society by his compulsive involvement with ‘a black Venus.’ His brilliant success as Mephisto in FAUST brings him the support of the Führer’s prime minister, who appoints him head of the State Theater. His dreams are finally realized, but the story ends on a note of despair as Hofgen is forced to confront the emptiness of his life. Mann weaves his tale with amazing skill. The result is a fascinating novel of decadence and evil.Klaus Mann, the second child of Thomas Mann, was born in Munich in 1906. He began writing short stories and articles in 1924, and within a year was a theatrical critic for a Berlin newspaper. In 1925 both a volume of short stories and his first novel, THE PIOUS DANCE, were published. His sister, Erika, to whom he was very close, was in the cast of his first play, ANJA AND ESTHER. Mann left Germany in 1933 and lived in Amsterdam until 1936, during which time he became a Czechoslovakian citizen, having been deprived of his German citizenship by the Nazis. He moved to America in 1936, living in Princeton, New Jersey, and New York City. He became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He died at the age of forty-two in Cannes, France. Robin Smyth was a European correspondent for the London Observer.

P.G. Wodehouse : Five Complete Novels (The Return of Jeeves, Bertie Wooster Sees It Through, Spring Fever, The Butler Did It, The Old Reliable)


P.G. Wodehouse - 1995
    Spine shows creasing. This is a readable copy.

Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter


J. Nozipo Maraire - 1995
    Nozipo Maraire evokes the moving story of a mother reaching out to her daughter to share the lessons life has taught her and bring the two closer than ever before. Interweaving history and memories, disappointments and dreams, Zenzele tells the tales of Zimbabwe's struggle for independence and the men and women who shaped it: Zenzele's father, an outspoken activist lawyer; her aunt, a schoolteacher by day and secret guerrilla fighter by night; and her cousin, a maid and a spy.Rich with insight, history, and philosophy, Zenzele is a powerful and compelling story that is both revolutionary and revelatory--the story of one life that poignantly speaks of all lives.

Memoir from Antproof Case


Mark Helprin - 1995
    An English teacher at the naval academy, he is married to a woman young enough to be his daughter and has a little son whom he loves. He sits in a mountain garden in Niterói, overlooking the ocean.As he reminisces and writes, placing the pages carefully in his antproof case, we learn that he was a World War II ace who was shot down twice, an investment banker who met with popes and presidents, and a man who was never not in love. He was the thief of the century, a murderer, and a protector of the innocent. And all his life he waged a valiant, losing, one-man battle against the world’s most insidious enslaver: coffee.Mark Helprin combines adventure, satire, flights of transcendence, and high comedy in this "memoir" of a man whose life reads like the song of the twentieth century.

Highways to a War


Christopher J. Koch - 1995
    In a riveting new novel of wartime Cambodia and Vietnam--part thriller, part mystery, part heroic epic--the author of The Year of Living Dangerously offers the story of a likeable, brave, but ultimately mysterious war photographer who has disappeared into the jungles of Cambodia.

A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement


Anthony Powell - 1995
    Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.Four very different young men on the threshold of manhood dominate this opening volume of A Dance to the Music of Time. The narrator, Jenkins—a budding writer—shares a room with Templer, already a passionate womanizer, and Stringham, aristocratic and reckless. Widermerpool, as hopelessly awkward as he is intensely ambitious, lurks on the periphery of their world. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, these four gain their initiations into sex, society, business, and art. Considered a masterpiece of modern fiction, Powell's epic creates a rich panorama of life in England between the wars.Includes these novels: A Question of Upbringing A Buyer's Market The Acceptance World

The Piano Man's Daughter


Timothy Findley - 1995
    Lily is a woman pursued by her own demons, "making off with the matches just when the fires caught hold," "a beautiful, mad genius, first introduced to us singing in her mother's belly." It is also the tale of people who dream in songs, two Irish immigrant families facing a new and uncertain future in turn-of-the-century Toronto. Finally, it is a richly detailed tribute to a golden epoch in our history and of a generation striking the last, haunting chord of innocence.The Piano Man's Daughter is a symphony of wonderful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and a lilting, lingering melody that plays on long after the last page has been turned.

To the Wedding


John Berger - 1995
    As the book cinematically moves from one character's perspective to another, events and characters move toward the convergence of the wedding--and a haunting dance of love and death.

All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories


William Maxwell - 1995
    From the American Book Award-winning author of Ancestors and Time Will Darken comes a masterful collection of stories, spanning more than 50 years--a tour of a world that engages readers entirely, and whose characters command the deepest loyalty and tenderness.

Dodsworth


Sinclair Lewis - 1995
    When the woman becomes involved with another man, her husband must choose between forgiving his wife or abandoning the relationship, & Europe, forever.

Rule of the Bone


Russell Banks - 1995
    With a compelling, off-beat protagonist evocative of Holden Caulfield and Quentin Coldwater, and a narrative voice that masterfully and naturally captures the nuances of a modern vernacular, Banks’s haunting and powerful novel is an indisputable—and unforgettable—modern classic.

The Secret Years


Judith Lennox - 1995
    Nicholas and Lally were the children of the great house, set in the bleak and magical Fen country; Thomasine was the unconventional niece of two genteel maiden aunts in the village; Daniel was the son of the local blacksmith, a fiercely independent, ambitious boy who longed to break away from the stifling confines of his East Anglian upbringing. As the drums of war sounded in the distance, the Firedrake, a mysterious and ancient Blythe family heirloom disappeared, setting off an uncontrollable chain of events.The Great War changed everything, and both Nicholas and Daniel returned from the front damaged by their experiences. Thomasine, freed from the narrow disciplines of her childhood, and enjoying the new hedonism which the twenties brought, thought that she could escape from the ties that bound her to both Nicholas and Daniel. But the passions and enmities of their youth had intensified in the passing years, and the four friends had to experience tragedy and betrayal before the Firedrake made its reappearance and, with it, a new hope for the future.

Sabbath's Theater


Philip Roth - 1995
    At sixty-four Sabbath is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous; sex is an obsession and a principle, an instrument of perpetual misrule in his daily existence. But after the death of his long-time mistress - an erotic free spirit whose great taste for the impermissible matches his own - Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Bereft and grieving, tormented by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction.

Angels And Men


Catherine Fox - 1995
    Mara is an angry and intelligent young woman who undertakes a theology degree to explore her unresolved relationship with her vicar father and deceased sister, who died mysteriously in an extreme religious community.

The Tunnel


William H. Gass - 1995
    The story of a middle aged professor who, upon completion of his massive historical study, Guilt and Innocence in Hitler's Germany, finds himself writing a novel about his own life instead of the introduction to his magnum opus. The Tunnel meditates on history, hatred, unhappiness, and, above all, language.

Victory


Joseph Conrad - 1995
    Then he becomes involved in the operation of a coal company on a remote island in the Malay Archipelago, and when it fails he turns his back on humanity once more. But his life alters when he rescues a young English girl, Lena, from Zangiacomo's Ladies' Orchestra and the evil innkeeper Schomberg, taking her to his island retreat. The affair between Heyst and Lena begins with her release, but the relationship shifts as Lena struggles to save Heyst from the detachment and isolation that have inhibited and influenced his life.Marked by a violent and tragic conclusion, Victory is both a tale of rescue and adventure and a perceptive study of a complex relationship and of the power of love.

Chronicler of the Winds


Henning Mankell - 1995
    In Chronicler of the Winds, he gives us something different: a beautifully crafted novel that is a testament to the power of storytelling itself. On the rooftop of a theater in an African port, a ten-year-old boy lies slowly dying of bullet wounds. He is Nelio, a leader of street kids, rumored to be a healer and a prophet, and possessed of a strangely ancient wisdom.One of the millions of poor people “forced to eat life raw,” Nelio tells his unforgettable story over the course of nine nights. After bandits cruelly raze his village, he joins the legions of abandoned children living in the city’s streets. An act of the imagination, an effort to prove to his comrades that life must be more than mere survival, cuts short Nelio’s life.Already published in thirteen countries, Chronicler of the Winds was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature and was nominated for the Swedish Publishers Association’s August Prize.

Every Light in the House Burnin'


Andrea Levy - 1995
    Six months later her mum joined him in his one room in Earl's Court......Twenty years and four children later, Mr Jacob has become seriously ill and starts to move unsteadily through the care of the National Health Service. As Angela, his youngest, tries to help her mother through this ordeal, she finds herself reliving her childhood years, spent on a council estate in Highbury.

The Age of Miracles


Ellen Gilchrist - 1995
    Ranging from hilarity to despair—innocent children bewildered by their elders’ behavior, a writer living on Xanax, and a socialite seeking a health cure only to find romance instead of rest—Gilchrist’s high-spirited characters always tend to find themselves in outrageous situations. The beloved and feisty Rhoda Manning returns, fighting the lure of the bottle while relentlessly going after her dream of becoming a famous writer. And while the restraint of family and society continues to haunt Gilchrist’s characters, they prove fearless and deliciously carve their own chaotic paths toward survival. Set in Fayetteville, Arkansas and New Orleans, Louisiana, the tales are artfully fashioned, providing tastes of marvelously trouble-prone people at every stage of life. Packed with humor, sexuality, and ever true to human weakness, this collection is romantic and full of passion—a treat in which readers will happily indulge.

The Dancer Upstairs


Nicholas Shakespeare - 1995
    But in Agustn Rejas he has an indefatigable pursuer. From secluded city streets to the paths of a mountain village the policeman persists, tracking and anticipating Ezequiel's every move. Rejas' only reprieve is his love for his daughter's beautiful dance teacher--until he begins to pick up unmistakable signals that her circles--and Ezequiel's--intersect.Based on the extraordinary manhunt for the leader of Peru's notorious guerilla organization, The Shining Path, The Dancer Upstairs is a story reminiscent of Graham Greene and John LeCarr--tense, intricate, and heartbreaking.

STATION HILL BLANCHOT READER


Maurice Blanchot - 1995
    A major collection of writings from one of the most important twentieth century French authors, "The Blanchot Reader" includes six works of fiction ("Death Sentence, The Madness of the Day, When the Time Comes, Vicious Circles, Thomas the Obscure", and "The One Who Was Standing Apart from Me") and extended selections of critical and philosophical essays from his major book, "The Gaze of Orpheus".

A Goat's Song


Dermot Healy - 1995
    Annie Proulx) whose “melancholy beauty resonates with the deepest truths” (Boston Globe).

Annotations


John Keene - 1995
    Louis. Reminiscent of Jean Toomer's Cane, the book is in part a meditation on African-American autobiography. Keene explores questions of identity from many angles - from race to social class to sexuality (gay and straight). Employing all manner of textual play and rhythmic and rhetorical maneuvers, he (re)creates his life story as a jazz fugue-in-words.

A Feather on the Breath of God


Sigrid Nunez - 1995
    Growing up in a housing project in the 1950s and 1960s, she escapes into dreams inspired both by her parents' stories and by her own reading and, for a time, into the otherworldly life of ballet. A yearning, homesick mother, a silent and withdrawn father, the ballet--these are the elements that shape the young woman's imagination and her sexuality. It is a story about displacement and loss, and about the tangled nature of relationships between parents and children, between language and love.

Starcarbon: A Meditation on Love


Ellen Gilchrist - 1995
    A long, strange summer is about to begin. As tornadoes tear through America's heartland and the Soviet Union crumbles on television, Olivia de Havilland Hand finishes her first year of college and returns home to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to explore the mystery of her identity and her Cherokee heritage. But even in a landscape steeped in memory, beneath the maple trees that fed her oxygen as a girl or on the gravel road where she first learned to drive, Olivia is surrounded by an all-too-present tangle of lives and loves: her strong-willed but fragile sister Jessie's travails with a new baby in New Orleans; her anthropology professor's stormy affair with a fellow academic; her aunt's blossoming relationship with a poet in Boston; her lonely father's fear of losing his daughters; and her own newfound romance with her old boyfriend, Bobby Tree. In this complicated web of relationships, spread across the country, connecting past with present, each struggles to find peace and, hopefully, love. The result is a masterful work of storytelling and a brilliant contemporary romantic comedy. Out of this maelstrom of misunderstood mates, screaming babies, politically correct lovers, estranged teenagers, and overprotective fathers comes a poignant, keenly observed meditation on love.

A Book of Common Prayer


Joan Didion - 1995
    Grace Strasser-Mendana controls much of the country's wealth and knows virtually all of its secrets; Charlotte Douglas knows far too little. "Immaculate of history, innocent of politics," she has come to Boca Grande vaguely and vainly hoping to be reunited with her fugitive daughter. As imagined by Didion, her fate is at once utterly particular and fearfully emblematic of an age of conscienceless authority and unfathomable violence.

The Crystal Frontier


Carlos Fuentes - 1995
    A New York Times Notable Book of the Year. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Translated by Alfred Mac Adam.

My Mother: Demonology


Kathy Acker - 1995
    By the author of Blood and Guts in High School.

Yesterday in the Back Lane


Bernice Rubens - 1995
    She tells nobody about the incident but her guilt manifests itself in the frequent nosebleeds she has at awkward moments. Fifty years later, she is still living her life sentence.

The Tennis Handsome


Barry Hannah - 1995
    Their adventures include rape by a walrus, murder by crossbow, and a tennis tournament played at gunpoint. Hannah's inventiveness sparkles and his prose shines.

My Brilliant Career: My Career Goes Bung


Miles Franklin - 1995
    Sybylla's passion and rebellion bring her no end of trouble, in life and in love. Included in this edition is the sequel, My Career Goes Bung.

The House on the Lagoon


Rosario Ferré - 1995
    The House on the Lagoon is the story of Isabel Monfort and her husband Quintin Mendizabal--the history of a family whose secrets, conflicts and private mythologies add up to the larger story of a nation: Puerto Rico.

The War of the Saints


Jorge Amado - 1995
    The holy icon of Saint Barbara of the Thunder is bound for the city of Bahia for an exhibition of holy art.  As the boat the bears the image is docking, a miracle occurs and Saint Barbara comes to life, disappearing into the milling crowd on the quay.  Somewhere in the city a young woman has fallen in love, and her prudish guardian aunt has locked her away--an act of intolerance that Saint Barbara must redress.  And when she casts her spell over the city, no one's life will remain unchanged.

Betsey Brown


Ntozake Shange - 1995
    Louis, Missouri. While rendering a complete portrait of this girl, author Ntozake Shange also profiles her friends, her family, her home, her school, and her world. This world, though a work of fiction, is based closely and carefully on actual history, specifically on the nationwide school desegregation events of the Civil Rights movement in America’s recent past. As such, Betsey Brown is a historical novel that will speak to and broaden the perspectives of readers both familiar with and unaware of America’s domestic affairs of 1950s and 1960s.Shange has set her story in the autumn of 1959, the year St. Louis started to desegregate its schools. In May of 1954, in its ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka--a verdict now seen by many as the origin of the Civil Rights movement--the United States Supreme Court outlawed school segregation. The novel is firmly located in the wake of this landmark ruling; the plot of Shange’s novel and the history of America’s quest for integration during the Civil Rights era are fundamentally entwined. Thus textual references abound to the watershed events at Little Rock’s Central High School in the September of 1957, for example, and to "fire-bombings and burningcrosses" in the South as well as "'battalions of police and crowds of crackers'" at a demonstration in St. Louis.Betsey is the oldest child in a large, remarkable, and slightly eccentric African American family. Her father is a doctor who wakes his children each morning with point-blank questions about African history and Black culture while beating on a conga drum; her mother is a beautiful, refined, confident, and strong-willed social worker who is overwhelmed by the vast size of her young family and who cares very little for “all that nasty colored music.”Indeed, Betsey’s whole existence can be seen as a perceptive, adventuresome, and still-developing hybrid of her parents’ most distinctive qualities. Her feelings of internal conflict are often clearer or easier to identify when seen as the collision of her father’s dreams and her mother’s manners, or her father’s music and her mother’s cosmetics. There are several fascinating characters in this novel—and encountering, describing, and trying to figure out these characters will appeal to students of all backgrounds—but the two characters who, after Betsey, most influence the directions, themes, and issues of this tale are Betsey’s mother and father, Jane and Greer. Their her parents' difficult marriage, like the difficult era of desegregation that has only begun in St. Louis and the rest of America, is the realistic, conflicted, yet ultimately hopeful backdrop before which Betsey’s lip-synching, poem-reciting, soul-searching, truth-seeking, tree-climbing, and fact-finding take place. In fact, her parents' stubborn disagreements, heartfelt reconciliations, past glories, and future worries are all, at various times in the book, anchored or else set adrift by the activities of theireldest daughter (and first teenager!). Betsey’s running away sends her parents into a vicious fight, while her subsequent return seems to bring them closer together (if only temporarily).As a novel, Betsey Brown is panoramic yet personal. It tells us what being a Black student in the early days of American desegregation was like by showing us what being Betsey Brown is like. This is an episodic, character-driven saga of the Black experience in St. Louis at the end of the “Fabulous Fifties,” but it is also a story about the many and various—and basically familiar—growing pains of a precocious, passionate, spunky young protagonist. We see Betsey fall in love; make friends; say prayers; argue with, look after, inspire, and ignore her younger siblings; run away from home; return to those who love and value her above all else; and switch from a school she knows and enjoys to a school on the other side of town where she is a minority and an outcast. We see Betsey outside the very door of her womanhood, we are told all about the steps and path that have brought her to this door, and we are left to wonder at what she will find beyond it.

Songdogs


Colum McCann - 1995
    As the narratives of Conor's quest and his parents' lives twine and untwine, Colum McCann creates in Songdogs a mesmerizing evocation of the gulf between memory and imagination, love and loss, past and present.

In The Year Of Long Division: Stories


Dawn Raffel - 1995
    There is a cold wind blowing through these stories, whose sentences come to us as a rebuke to anything felt. In her flight from sentiment, Raffel masterfully reifies the new will to absence that marks the moral and emotional bearing of her generation. The result is not just an acknowledgment of all our long divisions - the divide between impulse and the means to apprehend it, between desire and entrapment - but of the final sweet concession that we must each of us make to the futility of even the smallest mending. In the Year of Long Division gives us the triumph of craft over the obstinance of expression and the installation of a writer certain to be cited in the continuing reinvention of the American short story.

Rookery Blues


Jon Hassler - 1995
    With Leland Edwards on piano, Neil Novotny on clarinet, Victor Dash on drums, and Connor on bass, the group comes together with the help of its muse, the lovely Peggy Benoit, who plays saxophone and sings. But soon isolated Rookery State will be touched by the great discontent sweeping the country: the first labor union in the college's history comes noisily to campus. As a teachers strike takes shape, the five musicians must struggle with their loyalties--to the school, the town, their families, and one another. . . .

God's Pocket


Pete Dexter - 1995
    Simon & Schuster has a great book for every listener.

Crossing the Mangrove


Maryse Condé - 1995
    Francis Sancher--a handsome outsider, loved by some and reviled by others--is found dead, face down in the mud on a path outside Riviere au Sel, a small village in Guadeloupe.  None of the villagers are particularly surprised, since Sancher, a secretive and melancholy man, had often predicted an unnatural death for himself.  As the villagers come to pay their respects they each--either in a speech to the mourners, or in an internal monologue--reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher's life and death.  Like pieces of an elaborate puzzle, their memories interlock to create a rich and intriguing portrait of a man and a community. In the lush and vivid prose for which she has become famous, Conde has constructed a Guadeloupean wake for Francis Sancher.  Retaining the full color and vibrance of Conde's homeland, Crossing the Mangrove pays homage to Guadeloupe in both subject and structure.

The Butcher's Wife and Other Stories


Li Ang - 1995
    This new anthology begins with the internationally acclaimed "The Butcher�s Wife," a novella that evoked shock and outrage in Taiwan when it first appeared in 1983. The shorter stories that follow range from Li Ang�s first story, "Flower Season" (1968), through "A Love Letter Never Sent" (1986), and include stories that are erotic, thought provoking, and cautionary.

Keynotes and Discords


George Egerton - 1995
    This series covers texts of women writers whose work is being increasingly discussed in the study of the development of the 20th century and the Modernist movements of the 19th century, placing the works in their context.

The Geographical History of America: Or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind


Gertrude Stein - 1995
    Today, as literary discourse pays more attention to textuality; to voice, reader-response, and phenomenology, Stein emerges as a pioneering modernist to whom the century is slowly catching up. For those in the performing arts, Geographical History further addresses the notion of play as landscape, one of Stein's most influential theatrical ideas, as well as such issues as dialogue, character, and dramatic structure -- in a book that is itself a model of modern experimentation.

Zola: A Biography


Frederick Brown - 1995
    But Emile Zola (1840-1902) was: his monumental cycle of twenty novels extended the reach of fiction for all subsequent generations; he gave new meaning to the cause of brave progressivism; and his work sparked into life what we think of as the modern intelligentsia. This magisterial biography of a great but strangely private and unknown man is also a superb history of the social, political, and intellectual world through which Zola traveled so unforgettably. Fifteen years in the making, Zola draws on the new edition of Zola's letters, with its hundreds of new documents, to offer unprecedented detail and nuance about Zola's life.

Imperfect Paradise: Twenty-Four Stories


Shen Congwen - 1995
    Imperfect Paradise provides the most comprehensive and authoritative representation in English of the remarkable Shen Congwen canon, ranging from the polished stories that made him a serious contender for the Nobel literary prize in the 1980s to lesser known, extravagant experimental pieces.

Panama


Thomas McGuane - 1995
    But we may also read these words as an aesthetic statement from Chester's creator, Thomas McGuane, who has made Panama a high-wire act of extravagant emotion and steel-nerved prose.As he haunts Key West, pestering family, threatening a potential in-law with a .38, and attempting to crucify himself on his ex's door out of sheer lovesickness, Chester emerges as the pure archetype of the McGuane hero. Out of his struggle to rejoin the human race -- and the imminent possibility that he may die trying -- McGuane has fashioned a harrowing and hilarious novel of "alligators, macadam, the sea, sticky sex, laughter, and sudden death.""Whatever risk McGuane may have sensed in attempting [Panama], the feat proves successful. The audience is left dazzled." -- The New Yorker

Through the Glass Window Shines the Sun: An Anthology of Medieval Poetry and Prose


Pamela Norris - 1995
    The work describes many aspects of medieval life work and play, feasts and festivals, love, courtship and marriage.

Madame de Treymes and Three Novellas


Edith Wharton - 1995
    Inspired by Wharton's own entré into Parisian society in 1906 and reminiscent of the works of Henry James, it tells the story of two young innocents abroad: Fanny Frisbee of New York, unhappily married to the dissolute Marquis de Malrive, and John Durham, her childhood friend who arrives in Paris intent on convincing Fanny to divorce her husband and marry him instead. A subtle investigation of the clash of cultures and the role of women in the social hierarchy, Madame de Treymes confirms Edith Wharton's position, as Edmund Wilson wrote, as "an historian of the American society of her time." This Scribner edition of Madame de Treymes also includes three novellas: The Touchstone, Sanctuary, and Bunner Sisters. These short works are rich in the social satire and cunning insight that characterized Wharton's highly acclaimed novels The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth.

Chekhov's Plays: An Opening into Eternity


Richard Gilman - 1995
    In this eloquent and insightful book, an eminent critic explores the reasons behind the enduring power of Chekhov's works.Richard Gilman examines each of Chekhov's full-length plays, showing how they relate to each other, to Chekhov's short stories, and to his life. He also places the plays in the context of Russian and European drama and the larger culture of the period. Gilman interweaves biographical narrative with textual commentary and with a discussion of stagecraft and dramaturgy—Chekhov's techniques for influencing viewers, the scenic framing of the action, and issues of genre and temporal structuring. Although previous critics of Chekhov have tended to view him as an essentially social dramatist or as an observer of the smaller aspects of existence, Gilman asserts that Chekhov was far more of an innovative playwright, a revolutionary, than has been seen. His book—the most complete, acute, and elegant study of this master playwright ever written—will appeal to all those who care about Chekhov, theater, and the life of the mind.