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Poetry As Insurgent Art

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In 1953 Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded the first paperback bookstore in the United States. In over five decades City Lights, the bookstore and publisher, has become a Mecca for millions. Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind (ND, 1958) is a number one best-selling volume of poetry by any living American poet. Now, New Directions is proud to publish his manifesto in a paperback edition.

Visitation

by Jenny Erpenbeck Susan Bernofsky

A bestseller in Germany, Visitation has established Jenny Erpenbeck as one of Europe's most significant contemporary authors. A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin (once belonging to Erpenbeck's grandparents) is the focus of this compact, beautiful novel. Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, Visitation offers the life stories of twelve individuals who seek to make their home in this one magical little house. The novel breaks into the everyday life of the house and shimmers through it, while relating the passions and fates of its inhabitants. Elegant and poetic, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the last century, tearing open wounds and offering moments of reconciliation, with its drama and its exquisite evocation of a landscape no political upheaval can truly change.

Memento Mori

by Muriel Spark

Poignant, hilarious, and spooky, Memento Mori addresses old age In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone reminds each: Remember you must die. Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled, and many an old unsavory secret is dusted off.

Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

by Jonathan Lethem Nathanael West

"A primer for Big Bad City disillusionment, unsparing in its portrayal of New York's debilitating entropy."--The Village Voice. With a new introduction by Jonathan Lethem. First published in 1933, Miss Lonelyhearts remains one of the most shocking works of 20th century American literature, as unnerving as a glob of black bile vomited up at a church social: empty, blasphemous, and horrific. Set in New York during the Depression and probably West's most powerful work, Miss Lonelyhearts concerns a nameless man assigned to produce a newspaper advice column -- but as time passes he begins to break under the endless misery of those who write in, begging him for advice. Unable to find answers, and with his shaky Christianity ridiculed to razor-edged shards by his poisonous editor, he tumbles into alcoholism and a madness fueled by his own spiritual emptiness. During his years in Hollywood West wrote The Day of the Locust, a study of the fragility of illusion. Many critics consider it with F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished masterpiece The Last Tycoon (1941) among the best novels written about Hollywood. Set in Hollywood during the Depression, the narrator, Tod Hackett, comes to California in the hope of a career as a painter for movie backdrops but soon joins the disenchanted second-rate actors, technicians, laborers and other characters living on the fringes of the movie industry. Tod tries to seduce Faye Greener; she is seventeen. Her protector is an old man named Homer Simpson. Tod finds work on a film called prophetically "The Burning of Los Angeles," and the dark comic tale ends in an apocalyptic mob riot outside a Hollywood premiere, as the system runs out of control.

Lightning Rods

by Helen Dewitt

The long-awaited second novel by the author of "arguably the most exciting debut novel of the decade: The Last Samurai." (Sam Anderson, New York). "All I want is to be a success. That's all I ask." Joe fails to sell a single set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in six months. Then fails to sell a single Electrolux and must eat 126 pieces of homemade pie, served up by his would-be customers who feel sorry for him. Holed up in his trailer, Joe finds an outlet for his frustrations in a series of ingenious sexual fantasies, and at last strikes gold. His brainstorm, Lightning Rods, Inc., will take Joe to the very top -- and to the very heart of corporate insanity -- with an outrageous solution to the spectre of sexual harassment in the modern office. An uproarious, hard-boiled modern fable of corporate life, sex, and race in America, Helen DeWitt's Lightning Rods brims with the satiric energy of Nathanael West and the philosophic import of an Aristophanic comedy of ideas. Her wild yarn is second cousin to the spirit of Mel Brooks and the hilarious reality-blurring of Being John Malkovich. Dewitt continues to take the novel into new realms of storytelling -- as the timeliness of Lightning Rods crosses over into timelessness.

The Hall of the Singing Caryatids (New Directions Pearls)

by Andrew Bromfield Victor Pelevin

A far-out, far-fetched, and fiendishly funny story about a strange nightclub and its outrageous entertainment. After auditioning for the part as a singing geisha at a dubious bar, Lena and eleven other "lucky" girls are sent to work at a posh underground nightclub reserved exclusively for Russia's upper-crust elite. They are to be a sideshow attraction to the rest of the club's entertainment, and are billed as the "famous singing caryatids." Things only get weirder from there. Secret ointments, praying mantises, sexual escapades, and grotesque murder are quickly ushered into the plot. The Russian literary master Victor Pelevin holds nothing back, and The Hall of the Singing Caryatids, his most recent story to be translated into English, is sure to make you squirm in your seat with utter delight.

Satantango

by George Szirtes László Krasznahorkai

From the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize At long last, twenty-five years after the Hungarian genius László Krasznahorkai burst onto the scene with his first novel, Satantango dances into English in a beautiful translation by George Szirtes. Already famous as the inspiration for the filmmaker Béla Tarr's six-hour masterpiece, Satantango is proof, as the spellbinding, bleak, and hauntingly beautiful book has it, that "the devil has all the good times." The story of Satantango, spread over a couple of days of endless rain, focuses on the dozen remaining inhabitants of an unnamed isolated hamlet: failures stuck in the middle of nowhere. Schemes, crimes, infidelities, hopes of escape, and above all trust and its constant betrayal are Krasznahorkai's meat. "At the center of Satantango," George Szirtes has said, "is the eponymous drunken dance, referred to here sometimes as a tango and sometimes as a csardas. It takes place at the local inn where everyone is drunk. . . . Their world is rough and ready, lost somewhere between the comic and tragic, in one small insignificant corner of the cosmos. Theirs is the dance of death." "You know," Mrs. Schmidt, a pivotal character, tipsily confides, "dance is my one weakness."

The Hour of the Star (Second Edition)

by Colm Tóibín Clarice Lispector Benjamin Moser

A new edition of Clarice Lispector's final masterpiece, now with a vivid introduction by Colm Tóibín. Narrated by the cosmopolitan Rodrigo S.M., this brief, strange, and haunting tale is the story of Macabéa, one of life's unfortunates. Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a poor living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Colas, and her rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly, underfed, sickly and unloved. Rodrigo recoils from her wretchedness, and yet he cannot avoid the realization that for all her outward misery, Macabéa is inwardly free/She doesn't seem to know how unhappy she should be. Lispector employs her pathetic heroine against her urbane, empty narrator--edge of despair to edge of despair--and, working them like a pair of scissors, she cuts away the reader's preconceived notions about poverty, identity, love and the art of fiction. In her last book she takes readers close to the true mystery of life and leave us deep in Lispector territory indeed.

An Empty Room: Stories

by Toming Jun Liu Mu Xin

A dazzling cycle of short stories by one of China's most revered contemporary writers and one of the world's leading artist-intellectuals. An Empty Room is the first book by the celebrated Chinese writer Mu Xin to appear in English. A cycle of thirteen tenderly evocative stories written while Mu Xin was living in exile, this collection is reminiscent of the structural beauty of Hemingway's In Our Time and the imagistic power of Kawabata's palm-of-the-hand stories. From the ordinary (a bus accident) to the unusual (Buddhist halos) to the wise (Goethe, Lao Zi), Mu Xin's wandering "I" interweaves plots with philosophical grace and spiritual profundity. A small blue bowl becomes a symbol of vanishing childhood; a painter in a race against fading memory scribbles notes in an underground prison during the Cultural Revolution; an abandoned temple room holds a dark mystery. An Empty Room is a soul-stirring page turner, a Sebaldian reverie of passing time, loss, and humanity regained.

The Crack-Up

by F. Scott Fitzgerald Edmund Wilson

A self-portrait of a great writer 's rise and fall, intensely personal and etched with Fitzgerald's signature blend of romance and realism. The Crack-Up tells the story of Fitzgerald's sudden descent at the age of thirty-nine from glamorous success to empty despair, and his determined recovery. Compiled and edited by Edmund Wilson shortly after F. Scott Fitzgerald's death, this revealing collection of his essays--as well as letters to and from Gertrude Stein, Edith Wharton, T.S. Eliot, John Dos Passos--tells of a man with charm and talent to burn, whose gaiety and genius made him a living symbol of the Jazz Age, and whose recklessness brought him grief and loss. "Fitzgerald's physical and spiritual exhaustion is described brilliantly," noted The New York Review of Books: "the essays are amazing for the candor."

Zen and the Birds of Appetite

by Thomas Merton

"Zen enriches no one," Thomas Merton provocatively writes in his opening statement to Zen and the Birds of Appetite--one of the last books to be published before his death in 1968. "There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while. . . but they soon go elsewhere. When they are gone, the 'nothing,' the 'no-body' that was there, suddenly appears. That is Zen. It was there all the time but the scavengers missed it, because it was not their kind of prey. " This gets at the humor, paradox, and joy that one feels in Merton's discoveries of Zen during the last years of his life, a joy very much present in this collection of essays. Exploring the relationship between Christianity and Zen, especially through his dialogue with the great Zen teacher D. T. Suzuki, the book makes an excellent introduction to a comparative study of these two traditions, as well as giving the reader a strong taste of the mature Merton. Never does one feel him losing his own faith in these pages; rather one feels that faith getting deeply clarified and affirmed. Just as the body of "Zen" cannot be found by the scavengers, so too, Merton suggests, with the eternal truth of Christ.

The Wall: (Intimacy) and Other Stories

by Lloyd Alexander Jean-Paul Sartre

One of Sartre's greatest existentialist works of fiction, The Wall contains the only five short stories he ever wrote. Set during the Spanish Civil War, the title story crystallizes the famous philosopher's existentialism. 'The Wall', the lead story in this collection, introduces three political prisoners on the night prior to their execution. Through the gaze of an impartial doctor--seemingly there for the men's solace--their mental descent is charted in exquisite, often harrowing detail. And as the morning draws inexorably closer, the men cross the psychological wall between life and death, long before the first shot rings out. This brilliant snapshot of life in anguish is the perfect introduction to a collection of stories where the neurosis of the modern world is mirrored in the lives of the people that inhabit it . This is an unexpurgated edition translated from the French by Lloyd Alexander.

Loitering with Intent

by Muriel Spark

Where does art start or reality end? Happily loitering about London, c. 1949, with the intent of gathering material for her writing, Fleur Talbot finds a job "on the grubby edge of the literary world" at the very peculiar Autobiographical Association. Mad egomaniacs writing their memoirs in advance -- or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? When the association's pompous director steals Fleur's manuscript, fiction begins to appropriate life.

Siddhartha

by Hermann Hesse Hilda Rosner

A book--rare in our arid age--that takes root in the heart and grows there for a lifetime. Here the spirituality of the East and the West have met in a novel that enfigures deep human wisdom with a rich and colorful imagination. Written in a prose of almost biblical simplicity and beauty, it is the story of a soul's long quest in search of he ultimate answer to the enigma of man's role on this earth. As a youth, the young Indian Siddhartha meets the Buddha but cannot be content with a disciple's role: he must work out his own destiny and solve his own doubt--a tortuous road that carries him through the sensuality of a love affair with the beautiful courtesan Kamala, the temptation of success and riches, the heartache of struggle with his own son, to final renunciation and self-knowledge. The name "Siddhartha" is one often given to the Buddha himself--perhaps a clue to Hesse's aims in contrasting the traditional legendary figure with his own conception, as a European (Hesse was Swiss), of a spiritual explorer.

In the Sierra: Mountain Writings

by Kim Stanley Robinson Kenneth Rexroth

Nature writings by one of America's greatest poets, written out of a deep experience of the Sierras. Over the course of his life, Kenneth Rexroth wrote about the Sierra Nevada better than anyone. Progressive in terms of environmental ethics and comparable to the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Aldo Leopard, Annie Dillard, and Gary Snyder, Rexroth's poetry and prose described the way Californians have always experienced and loved the High Sierra. Contained in this marvelous collection are transcendent nature poems, as well as prose selections from his memoir An Autobiographical Novel, newspaper columns, published and unpublished WPA guidebooks, and correspondence. Famed science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson has compiled a gift for lovers of mountains and poetry both. This volume also contains Robinson's introduction and notes, photographs of Rexroth, a map of Rexroth's travels, and an amazing astronomical analysis of Rexroth's poems by the fiction writer Carter Scholz.

On Eastern Meditation

by Thomas Merton Bonnie Thurston

A great introduction to the religions of the East by a monk from the West. Merton's biographer, George Woodcock, once wrote that "almost from the beginning of his monastic career, Thomas Merton tentatively began to discover the great Asian religions of Buddhism and Taoism." Merton, a longtime social justice advocate, first approached Eastern theology as an admirer of Gandhi's beliefs on non-violence. Through Gandhi, Merton came to know the great Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita and in time came to have dialogues with the Dalai Lama and Taoist leader D. T. Suzuki. Merton then became deeply interested in Chuang Tzu and Zen thought. On Eastern Meditation, edited by Bonnie Thurston (author of Merton and Buddhism), gathers the best of his Eastern theological writings into a gorgeously designed gift book edition.

On Christian Contemplation

by Thomas Merton Paul Pearson

A compendium of spiritual guidance in a beautiful special edition. "Every moment and every event in every man's life on Earth plants something in his soul," wrote Thomas Merton. A Trappist monk, Merton was both a poet and a theologian who pondered monastic life. He was praised for his meditations and conversations with God, as well as interfatith dialogue, tolerance, and non-violent activism during the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War. On Christian Contemplation, edited by Merton scholar Paul Pearson, is a collection of the great monk's work, compiled into a gift-size edition. With poems, reflections, and social commentary, this is the perfect book to nurture the spirit of faith and duty guided by one of the twentieth century's leading voices of theology and social justice.

The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

by César Aira Katherine Silver

Aira's latest concerns a reluctant but powerful doctor who finally decides to use his healing powers to help a hopeless patient. César Aira's newest novel in English is not about a conventional doctor. Single,in his forties, and poor, Dr. Aira is a skeptic. His personality -- his weaknesses,whims, and pet peeves -- is summed up in a series of digressions and regressions but he has a very special gift for miracles. He no longer cares about miracles,however, and has no faith in them. Perhaps he is even a little ashamed about his supernatural powers. Such is Dr. Aira, who also has to confront his arch-enemy-- chief of the Pinero Hospital, Dr. Actyn -- who is constantly trying to prove that Dr. Aira is a charlatan. Poor Dr. Aira is indeed a worker of miracles, but César Aira -- the magesterial author -- sends the very human doctor stumbling toward the biggest trap of all, in this magical book.

No Longer Human

by Osamu Dazai

The poignant and fascinating story of a young man who is caught between the breakup of the traditions of a northern Japanese aristocratic family and the impact of Western ideas. Portraying himself as a failure, the protagonist of Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human narrates a seemingly normal life even while he feels himself incapable of understanding human beings. Oba Yozo's attempts to reconcile himself to the world around him begin in early childhood, continue through high school, where he becomes a "clown" to mask his alienation, and eventually lead to a failed suicide attempt as an adult. Without sentimentality, he records the casual cruelties of life and its fleeting moments of human connection and tenderness.

The Melancholy of Resistance

by László Krasznahorkai

From the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize A powerful, surreal novel, in the tradition of Gogol, about the chaotic events surrounding the arrival of a circus in a small Hungarian town. The Melancholy of Resistance, László Krasznahorkai's magisterial, surreal novel, depicts a chain of mysterious events in a small Hungarian town. A circus, promising to display the stuffed body of the largest whale in the world, arrives in the dead of winter, prompting bizarre rumors. Word spreads that the circus folk have a sinister purpose in mind, and the frightened citizens cling to any manifestation of order they can find music, cosmology, fascism. The novel's characters are unforgettable: the evil Mrs. Eszter, plotting her takeover of the town; her weakling husband; and Valuska, our hapless hero with his head in the clouds, who is the tender center of the book, the only pure and noble soul to be found. Compact, powerful and intense, The Melancholy of Resistance, as its enormously gifted translator George Szirtes puts it, "is a slow lava flow of narrative, a vast black river of type." And yet, miraculously, the novel, in the words of The Guardian, "lifts the reader along in lunar leaps and bounds."

War & War

by George Szirtes László Krasznahorkai

From the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize A novel of awesome beauty and power by the Hungarian master, Laszla Krasznahorkai. Winner of a 2005 PEN Translation Fund Award. War and War, Laszla Krasznahorkai's second novel in English from New Directions, begins at a point of danger: on a dark train platform Korim is on the verge of being attacked by thuggish teenagers and robbed; and from here, we are carried along by the insistent voice of this nervous clerk. Desperate, at times almost mad, but also keenly empathic, Korim has discovered in a small Hungarian town's archives an antique manuscript of startling beauty: it narrates the epic tale of brothers-in-arms struggling to return home from a disastrous war. Korim is determined to do away with himself, but before he can commit suicide, he feels he must escape to New York with the precious manuscript and commit it to eternity by typing it all on the world-wide web. Following Korim with obsessive realism through the streets of New York (from his landing in a Bowery flophouse to his moving far uptown with a mad interpreter), War and War relates his encounters with a fascinating range of humanity, a world torn between viciousness and mysterious beauty. Following the eight chapters of War and War is a short "prequel acting as a sequel," "Isaiah," which brings us to a dark bar, years before in Hungary, where Korim rants against the world and threatens suicide. Written like nothing else (turning single sentences into chapters), War and War affirms W. G. Sebald's comment that Krasznahorkai's prose "far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing."

The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings From The Desert Fathers Of The Fourth Century (Shambhala Library)

by Thomas Merton

The Wisdom of the Desert was one of Thomas Merton's favorites among his own books--surely because he had hoped to spend his last years as a hermit. The personal tones of the translations, the blend of reverence and humor so characteristic of him, show how deeply Merton identified with the legendary authors of these sayings and parables, the fourth-century Christian Fathers who sought solitude and contemplation in the deserts of the Near East. The hermits of Screte who turned their backs on a corrupt society remarkably like our own had much in common with the Zen masters of China and Japan, and Father Merton made his selection from them with an eye to the kind of impact produced by the Zen mondo.

The Doctor Stories

by Robert Coles William Carlos Williams William Eric Williams

Not only for students and doctors, this volume contains Williams's thirteen "doctor stories," several of his most famous poems on medical matters, and "The Practice" from The Autobiography. These writings, together with Dr. Robert Coles's enthusiastic appraisal of teaching Williams and Dr. William Eric Williams's personal and touching filial account, "My Father, the Doctor," make up an intriguing and timely study of the poet as a physician of rare humanity and self-knowledge. As Coles suggests, Dr. Williams's writing can help many others take a knowing look at the medical profession.

The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems

by Tomas Transtromer Robin Fulton

The collected poems of one of the world's greatest living writers, Tomas Transtromer, available in this comprehensive edition. In day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone. Translated into fifty languages, the poetry of Tomas Transtromer has had a profound influence around the world, an influence that has steadily grown and has now attained a prominence comparable to that of Pablo Neruda's during his lifetime. But if Neruda is blazing fire, Transtromer is expanding ice. The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems gathers all the poems Tomas Transtromer has published, from his distinctive first collection in 1954, 17 Poems, through his epic poem Baltics ("my most consistent attempt to write music"), and The Sad Gondola, published six years after he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1990 ("I am carried in my shadow / like a violin / in its black case."), to his most recent slim book, The Great Enigma, published in Sweden in 2004. Also included is his prose-memoir Memories Look at Me, containing keys into his intensely spiritual, metaphysical poetry (like the brief passage of insect collecting on Runmaro Island when he was a teenager). Firmly rooted in the natural world, his work falls between dream and dream; it probes "the great unsolved love" with the opening up, through subtle modulations, of "concrete words."

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities and Other Stories

by Irving Howe Delmore Schwartz James Atlas Lou Reed

A new edition of the definitive book on the depression-era immigrant experience in New York City. Now with an exciting new preface by rock musician Lou Reed (Delmore Schwartz's student at Syracuse), In Dreams Begin Responsibilities collects eight of Schwartz's finest delineations of New York's intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s. As no other writer can, Schwartz captures the speech, the generational conflicts, the mocking self-analysis of educated, ambitious, Depression-stymied young people at odds with their immigrant parents. This is the unique American dilemma Irving Howe described as "that interesting point where intellectual children of immigrant Jews are finding their way into the larger world while casting uneasy, rueful glances over their backs." Afterwords by James Atlas and Irving Howe place the stories in their historical and cultural setting.

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