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The death of Ivan Ilyich: and, Master and man

Review

?No one has ever excelled Tolstoy in expressing that specific flavor, the exact quality of a feeling.? ?Isaiah Berlin — Review

Product Description

This new edition combines Tolstoy’s most famous short tale, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, with a less well known but equally brilliant gem, Master and Man, both newly translated by Ann Pasternak Slater. Both stories confront death and the process of dying: In Ivan Ilyich, a bureaucrat looks back over his life, which suddenly seems meaningless and wasteful, while in Master and Man, a landowner and servant must each confront the value of the other as they brave a devastating snowstorm. The quintessential Tolstoyan themes of mortality, spiritual redemption, and life’s meaning are nowhere more movingly and deftly explored than in these two tales.

This unique edition also includes a critical Introduction and extensive notes by Ann Pasternak Slater, a Fellow at St. Anne’s College, Oxford.

The Death of Bunny Munro: A Novel

SUMMARY: Set adrift by his wife’s suicide and struggling to keep a grip on reality, Bunny Munro does the only thing he can think of: with his young son in tow, he hits the road. To his son, waiting patiently in the car while his father peddles beauty wares and quickies to lonely housewives in the south of England, Bunny is a hero, larger than life. But Bunny himself, haunted by what might be his wife’s ghost, seems only dimly aware of his son’s existence. When his bizarre trip shades into a final reckoning, when he can no longer be sure what is real and what is not, Bunny finally begins to recognize the love he feels for his son. And he sees that the revenants of his world—decrepit fathers, vengeful ghosts, jealous husbands and horned psychokillers—are lurking in the shadows, waiting to exact their toll. At turns dark and humane, The Death of Bunny Munro is a tender portrait of the relationship between a boy and his father, with all the wit and enigma that fans will recognize as Nick Cave’s singular vision.

The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education

EDITORIAL REVIEW: A passionate plea to preserve and renew public education, *The Death and Life of the Great American School System* is a radical change of heart from one of America’s best-known education experts. Diane Ravitch—former assistant secretary of education and a leader in the drive to create a national curriculum—examines her career in education reform and repudiates positions that she once staunchly advocated. Drawing on over forty years of research and experience, Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools. Using examples from major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and San Diego, Ravitch makes the case that public education today is in peril. Ravitch includes clear prescriptions for improving America’s schools: leave decisions about schools to educators, not politicians or businessmen devise a truly national curriculum that sets out what children in every grade should be *learning* expect charter schools to educate the kids who need help the most, not to compete with public schools pay teachers a fair wage for their work, not “merit pay” based on deeply flawed and unreliable test scores encourage family involvement in education from an early age *The Death and Life of the Great American School System* is more than just an analysis of the state of play of the American education system. It is a must-read for any stakeholder in the future of American schooling.

The Day the Falls Stood Still

SUMMARY: Niagara Falls, 1915 When Bess Heath returns to her family home near the picturesque falls, it is to an unfamiliar scene the elegance of the life she once knew has vanished. Her father is a broken man, jobless and losing hope, and her mother is struggling to keep the family afloat. Isabel, the lively, charismatic sister Bess has always relied on is almost unrecognisable. Her engagement called off, she languishes in her bedroom, brooding and refusing to eat. Through all of this Bess finds solace in Tom Cole, a man she met by chance the night she returned home. Constant, gentle and devoted to Bess, he understands better than anyone the awesome and potentially devastating power of the falls and consoles her through a tragedy that nearly ruins her. But as their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family

The Day of the Jackal

SUMMARY: The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world’s most heavily guarded man. One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.

The Darkness Before the Dawn

Jedra lives in the streets, Kayan in the temple. When misfortune throws them together, they discover psionic power greater than almost any other on Athas, a power potent enough to destroy whole cities. When the force proves too strong for them to control, they search for a mentor to help them harness their wild talent and use it for the good of their ravaged world. The harsh environment conspires against them at every step, but so do their divergent backgrounds. Can a bond forged by necessity survive the cruelty of Athasian society, the savagery of the gladiatorial arena, or the simple test of time?

The Darkest Room

SUMMARY: WINNER OF SWEDEN’S BEST CRIME NOVEL AWARD On the idyllic island of Oland, off the coast of northern Sweden, a young couple from Stockholm tries to start life afresh. For Joakim and Katrine Westin, reclaiming a long-neglected family manor will be a labor of love, as they slowly bring the sprawling home back to life and introduce their two children to the island’s woodlands, glens, and beaches. But in the Westins’ new home, there are things that cannot be repaired, lives that have gone wrong, and secrets that have followed them. When the family is struck by tragedy, it’s up to grief-stricken Joakim to put together a puzzle of inexplicable loss, unbearable suspicion, and tangled lives. In this powerhouse of suspense-at once a crime novel and a searing family drama-a home built as a shelter from the sea becomes a human storm of murder.

The darkest road

EDITORIAL REVIEW: As the Unraveller’s armies march to battle and a plague-filled rain devastates the planet, the warriors of Light call upon one of the most ancient powers of evil to aid them in their struggle.

The Danish Girl

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Inspired by the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, this tender portrait of a marriage asks: What do you do when someone you love wants to change? It starts with a question, a simple favor asked of a husband by his wife on an afternoon chilled by the Baltic wind while both are painting in their studio. Her portrait model has canceled, and would he mind slipping into a pair of women’s shoes and stockings for a few moments so she can finish the painting on time. Of course, he answers. Anything at all. With that, one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the twentieth century begins.

The Crystal Seas

The Richard Blade novels were a series of adventures featuring the titular character (MI6A’s special agent Richard Blade), who was teleported into a random alternate dimension at the beginning of each novel and forced to rely on his wits and strength. Richard Blade was distinctly British, and all the stories are set in England (at least at the beginning and end, with Blade being teleported to some other dimension for the bulk of each tale).

The crucible: a play in four acts

SUMMARY: “I believe that the reader will discover here the essential nature of one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history,” Arthur Miller wrote in an introduction to The Crucible, his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller’s drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town’s most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbor to testify against neighbor brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence. Written in 1953, The Crucible is a mirror Miller uses to reflect the anti-communist hysteria inspired by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch-hunts in the United States. Within the text itself, Miller contemplates the parallels, writing: “Political opposition … is given an inhumane overlay, which then justifies the abrogation of all normally applied customs of civilized behavior. A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it meets with diabolical malevolence.”

The Crow Road

From its bravura opening onwards, THE CROW ROAD is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel. ‘It was the day my grandmother exploded.

I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.’ Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family.

Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances…

The Crow Road

SUMMARY: “It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.”So begins Iain Banks’ The Crow Road, the tale of Prentice McHoan and his complex but enduring Scottish family. Prentice, preoccupied with thoughts of sex, death, booze, drugs, and God, has returned to his home village of Gallanach full of questions about the McHoan past, present, and future.When his beloved Uncle Rory disappears, Prentice becomes obsessed with the papers Rory left behind — the notes and sketches for a book called The Crow Road. With the help of an old friend, Prentice sets out to solve the mystery of his uncle’s disappearance, inadvertently confronting the McHoans’ long association with tragedy — an association that includes his sister’s fatal car crash and his father’s dramatic death by lightning. The Crow Road is a coming-of-age story as only Iain Banks could write — an arresting combination of dark humor, menace, and thought-provoking meditations on the nature of love, mortality, and identity.

The Crimson Shadow

EDITORIAL REVIEW: THE CRIMSON SHADOW is an omnibus reissue of R.A. Salvatore’s Crimson Shadow Trilogy, which consists of the novels The Sword of Bedwyr, Luthien’s Gamble, and The Dragon King. This trilogy follows the story of The Crimson Shadow, a Robin Hood-like figure causing mischief and protecting the innocent in a medieval fantasy setting. There’s magic, a humorous dwarf sidekick, and lots of adventure and fun.

The Crimson Petal and the White

Amazon.com Review

Although it’s billed as “the first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century,” The Crimson Petal and the White is anything but Victorian. The story of a well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who spends her free hours composing a violent, pornographic screed against men, Michel Faber’s dazzling second novel dares to go where George Eliot’s __ and the works of Charles Dickens could not. We learn about the positions and orifices that Sugar and her clients favor, about her lingering skin condition, and about the suspect ingredients of her prophylactic douches. Still, Sugar believes she can make a better life for herself. When she is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, her wings are clipped, and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position. The physical risks and hardships of Sugar’s life (and the even harder “honest” life she would have led as a factory worker) contrast–yet not entirely–with the medical mistreatment of her benefactor’s wife, Agnes, and beautifully underscore Faber’s emphasis on class and sexual politics. In theme and treatment, this is a novel that Virginia Woolf might have written, had she been born 70 years later. The language, however, is Faber’s own–brisk and elastic–and, after an awkward opening, the plethora of detail he offers (costume, food, manners, cheap stage performances, the London streets) slides effortlessly into his forward-moving sentences. When Agnes goes mad, for instance, “she sings on and on, while the house is discreetly dusted all around her and, in the concealed and subterranean kitchen, a naked duck, limp and faintly steaming, spreads its pimpled legs on a draining board.” Despite its 800-plus pages, The Crimson Petal and the White turns out to be a quick read, since it is truly impossible to put down. –Regina Marler

From Publishers Weekly

Faber’s bawdy, brilliant third novel tells an intricate tale of love and ambition and paints a new portrait of Victorian England and its citizens in prose crackling with insight and bravado. Using the wealthy Rackham clan as a focal point for his sprawling, gorgeous epic, Faber, like Dickens or Hardy, explores an era’s secrets and social hypocrisy. William Rackham is a restless, rebellious spirit, mistrustful of convention and the demands of his father’s perfume business. While spying on his sickly wife’s maid, whom he suspects of thievery, he begins a slow slide into depravity: he meets Sugar, a whore whose penetrating mind and love of books intrigues him as much as her beauty and carnal skills do. Faber (Under the Skin) also weaves in the stories of Agnes, William’s delicate, mad and manipulative wife, and Henry, his pious, morally conflicted brother, both of whom seek escape from their private prisons through fantasies and small deceptions. Sin and vice both attract and repel the brothers: William, who becomes obsessed with Sugar, rescues her from her old life, while Henry, paralyzed by his love for Emmeline Fox, a comely widow working to rescue the city’s prostitutes, slowly unravels. Faber’s central characters, especially the troubled William and the ambitious Sugar, shine with life, and the author is no less gifted in capturing the essence of his many minor characters-the evil madam, Mrs. Castaway, and William’s pompous father-in-law, Lord Unwin. The superb plot draws on a wealth of research and briskly moves through the lives of each character-whether major or minor, upstairs or downstairs-gathering force until the fates of all are revealed. A marvelous story of erotic love, sin, familial conflicts and class prejudice, this is a deeply entertaining masterwork that will hold readers captive until the final page.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The cowgirl in question

THE WILDEST OF THE MCCALL BOYS WAS BACK The wildest of the McCall boys was back…and he had a score to settle with Cassidy Miller! Like two outlaws facing off at high noon, they reunited at the Longhorn Cafe for the whole town to witness the long-awaited showdown. Rourke McCall had been fantasizing about this moment for more than a decade — except he hadn’t counted on Cassidy growing up and growing into a woman. That one high-school kiss suddenly hit him like a shotgun recoiling. But he couldn’t let his emerging desire for Cassidy deter his search for a killer, who by all accounts was still at large in Antelope Flats and equally determined to destroy Rourke…and anyone close to him.