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"Billy Budd, Sailor," a classic confrontation between good and evil, is the story of an innocent young man unable to defend himself from wrongful accusations. Other selections include "Bartleby," "The Piazza," "The Encantadas," "The Bell-Tower," "Benito Cereno," "The Paradise of Bachelors," and "The Tartarus of Maids."
A timeless collection no miser should be without. Every Christmas season, this heartwarming tale stirs in us the feelings of forgiveness and repentance that transform Scrooge from miser--"Bah, humbug!"--to merrymaker. Dickens's other Christmas stories in this collection also evoke both the tragedy of those who lack the Yuletide spirit and the joy of those who raise a wassail cup to goodwill toward men.
Closing Arguments is the story of a shocking murder trial, a disintegrating marriage, an obsessive love affair. In the tradition of Robert Stone and Russell Banks, Frederick Busch weaves a tale of lies, duplicity, fatal attractions, and shattering revelations that uncover new and dizzying depths to the very last page. Not a day goes by but Mark Brennan remembers Vietnam. In some ways he seems a textbook case of post-traumatic combat stress. Brennan carries this burden with him into his upstate New York law practice, his relations with his children, and his tense marriage. But when he is asked, pro bono, to defend a young woman accused of murdering her lover in bed, Mark's sense of impending recognition starts to close in. As he becomes obsessively involved with the thrillingly dangerous Estella, Mark pilots his life to its outermost limits. Closing Arguments is a disturbing novel about deception, betrayal, violence, and the imagination of violence. With a sure, commanding touch, Frederick Busch reveals beneath the placid exterior of small town America a world of fear, rage, agony, and love come desperately unmoored. The sheer power of Closing Arguments will sweep you from its opening page to its agonizing but inevitable climax.
A New York Times Notable BookIn the unrelenting cold and bitter winter of upstate New York, Jack and his wife, Fanny, are trying to cope with the desperate sorrow they feel over the death of their young daughter. The loss forms a chasm in their relationship as Jack, a sardonic Vietnam vet, looks for a way to heal them both.Then, in a nearby town, a fourteen-year-old girl disappears somewhere between her home and church. Though she is just one of the hundreds of children who vanish every year in America, Jack turns all his attention to this little girl. For finding what has become of this child could be Jack's salvation--if he can just get to her in time. . . .From the Trade Paperback edition.
This is an extremely intimate portrait of the last years of Charles Dickens' life, with flashbacks to his earlier years, told through the perspective of several people who were close to him including his personal tour assistant, his wife, his mistress, and a housemaid. Though Dickens cared for these people, their wellbeing was subordinate to the demands of his art and career. He met his responsibilities as a husband, father, friend, and employer, but though he was always perceptive, he was kind one moment and cruel the next, devoted to them one month and repulsed by them the next. In turn, they admired and loved him even through their outrage. The author describes the body and mind, their sexual needs, their addictions, and the horrific manifestations of their decline and death in chilling detail. The novel covers Dickens public readings of his works, the rigors of travel while he was on tour, his life with his family and friends at his country house, his creative process, and his grappling with the knowledge he is dying. The description of his former servant's suffering as a homeless alcoholic, and his death in a pauper's hospital is nightmarish, profound and moving. This is a challenging novel, rich in historic and biographical detail, with multiple personal and universal themes to ponder. This rare book is a literary work of art. There are graphic descriptions of sex, sex organs, violence, physical illness, and death.
An immensely powerful story, The Night Inspector follows the extraordinary life of William Bartholomew, a maimed veteran of the Civil War, as he returns from the battlefields to New York City, bent on reversing his fortunes. It is there he meets Jessie, a Creole prostitute who engages him in a venture that has its origins in the complexities and despair of the conflict he has left behind. He also befriends a deputy inspector of customs named Herman Melville who, largely forgotten as a writer, is condemned to live in the wake of his vanished literary success and in the turmoil of his fractured family.Delving into the depths of this country's heart and soul, Frederick Busch's stunning novel is a gripping portrait of a nation trying to heal from the ravages of war--and of one man's attempt to recapture a taste for life through the surging currents of his own emotions, ambitions, and shattered conscience.
Named a "national institution" by George Orwell, Dickens offers his most popular tale, of the orphan who is reared in a workhouse and runs away to London-a novel of social protest, a morality tale, and a detective story.
A selection of short stories from a twentieth-century "American master" (Dan Cryer, Newsday). A contemporary of Ann Beattie and Tobias Wolff, Frederick Busch was a master craftsman of the form; his subjects were single-event moments in so-called ordinary life. The stories in this volume, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, are tales of families trying to heal their wounds, save their marriages, and rescue their children. In "Ralph the Duck," a security guard struggles to hang on to his marriage. In "Name the Name," a traveling teacher attends to students outside the school, including his own son, locked in a country jail. In Busch's work, we are reminded that we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors or in the mind of another. In the words of Raymond Carver, "With astonishing felicity of detail, Busch presents us with a world where real things are at stake--and sometimes, as in the real world, everything is risked." From his first volume, Hardwater Country (1974), to his most recent, Rescue Missions (2006), this volume selects thirty stories from an "American master" (Dan Cryer, Newsday), showcasing a body of work that is sure to shape American fiction for generations to come.
200TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION With dramatic eloquence, this story of the French Revolution brings to life a time of terror and treason, and a starving people rising in frenzy and hate to overthrow a corrupt and decadent regime.
America and the catastrophic world of twentieth-century war, mass murder, and horror are the backdrop of this story of Annie Gianfala, a young woman who finds herself cast adrift in Hollywood with World War II looming. Defending herself with despairing stubbornness against personal catastrophe, she is able to save her life and escape. "Enormously touching and wholly believable."--Washington Post Book World
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