Jung Chang's Wild Swans was an extraordinary bestseller throughout the world, selling more than 10 million copies and reaching a wider readership than any other book about China. Now she and her husband Jon Halliday have written a groundbreaking biography of Mao Tse-tung. Based on a decade of research, and on interviews with many of Mao's close circle in China who have never talked before - and with virtually everyone outside China who had significant dealings with him - this is the most authoritative life of Mao ever written. It is full of startling revelations, exploding the myth of the Long March, and showing a completely unknown Mao: he was not driven by idealism or ideology, his intimate and intricate relationship with Stalin went back to the 1920s, ultimately bringing him to power, he welcomed Japanese occupation of much of China, and he schemed, poisoned and blackmailed to get his way. After Mao conquered China in 1949, his secret goal was to dominate the world. In chasing this dream he caused the deaths of 38 million people in the greatest famine in history. Combining meticulous history with the story-telling style of Wild Swans, this biography makes immediate Mao's roller-coaster life, as he intrigued and fought every step of the way to force through his unpopular decisions. The reader enters the shadowy chambers of Mao's court, and eavesdrops on the drama in its hidden recesses. Mao's character and the enormity of his behaviour towards his wives, mistresses and children are unveiled for the first time. This is an entirely fresh look at Mao in both content and approach. It will astonish historians and the general reader alike.
On 15 April, 2003 Charles Saatchi will open the new Saatchi Gallery in a spectacular renovated County Hall across the river from Westminster. The enterprise will be the focus for Saatchi's vision of radical, ground-breaking British art in a venue that is accessible to the widest public. "100" is the book that will mark the occasion with one hundred works that Saatchi believes made a difference to the perception of British art. The work of twenty-seven artists has been chosen from Saatchi's collection and of course the selection includes the shark and the sheep in formaldehyde, the head made of blood and Tracey's bed. It will be a landmark publication for a landmark occasion. After the provocation of the famous Sensation show at the Royal Academy in 1997, a generation of young artists have become household names. What was once so provocative has now entered the visual vocabulary of a wider public. What was once so daring is now demonstrated to be more than ephemeral. Saatchi's vision is defined in "100".
When his fist album was released in 1967, Leonard Cohen was already well known in his native Canada as a poet and novelist, and in the United States as the writer behind Judy Collins' hugely popular recording of 'Suzanne. ' With the sucess of the first and through the release of ten more albums, Cohen Gained a reputation as a dazzlingly literate and consistently daring songwriter. Over the years his status as a cult artist has grown, and in 1988 the release of his album I'm Your Man' put Cohen back into the mainstream spotlight. His latest recording, 'The Future' has brought him renewed, widespread acclaim and this collection will include lyrics from that album, together with many of his famous classics, such as Suzanne, Joan of Arcand The Chelsea Hotel. STRANGER MUSIC brings together Cohen's song lyrics and a generous selection of his poetry (originally published between 1956-1992). It is a long overdue celebration of Leonard Cohen's extraordinary gift for language that speaks with rare clarity, passion and timelessness. (19930524)
In November 1955, Nasser Ali Khan, one of Iran's most celebrated tar players, is in search of a new instrument. His beloved tar has been broken. But no matter what tar he tries, none of them sound right. Brokenhearted, Nasser Ali Khan decides that li fe is no longer worth living. He takes to his bed, renouncing the world and all of its pleasures. This is the story of the eight days he spends preparing to surrender his soul. As the days pass and Nasser Ali Khan grows weaker, those who love him - h is wife, his children, his siblings - gather round, incredulous, to try to comfort him. Every visitor stirs up a memory, and in the course of this week, Nasser Ali Khan revisits his entire life, a life defined by three relationships in particular. He remembers his late mother, who sacrificed everything for his revolutionary brother, but who also, in the last week of her life, found solace only in smoking and listening to him play his tar; his angry wife, who can't forgive him his melancholy and irresponsibility; and Irane, his first love, whose father forbade her to marry a poor musician and inflicted the wound that fuelled his music. The pieces of Nasser Ali Khan's story slowly fall into place, and as they do, we begin to understand him. B y the time the eighth day dawns, having witnessed Nasser Ali Khan communing with Sufi mystics, Sophia Loren, the spirit of his late mother, his own demons and, bravely, with Azrael, the angel of death - we feel privileged to have known him. Brilliant ly weaving together the past, present and future to explore the successes and joys, failures and disappointments of Nasser Ali Khan's life and through his story, the meaning of any of our lives - Marjane Satrapi has also once again presented us with a complex and deeply human portrait of the men and women of her country, and of pre-revolution Iran itself. She delivers this tremendous story about life and death, and the fear and courage both require, with her trademark humour and insight. "Chicke n With Plums" is Marjane Satrapi's finest achievement to date.
From the author of the acclaimed comic-strip autobiography Persepolis comes this comic book for grown-ups, a gloriously entertaining and revealing look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together many of the women in Marjane Sa trapi's life - her beloved grandmother, her mother, an eccentric aunt, their friends and neighbours - for an afternoon of tea-drinking and talking. And as is only to be expected when a group of women reunite around cups of tea, the subjects turn to l ove, sex and the vagaries of men - in this case, Iranian men. As the afternoon progresses, these colourful women share their secrets about, among other things: how to fake your virginity, how to escape the husband your family has chosen for you, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to take advantage of being someone's mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, to keep a man, or just to keep up appeara nces. We also witness tearful confessions and heavy-hearted tales of regret and betrayal, of unhappy marriages and of young women forced or choosing to marry for all the wrong reasons. And though love is mostly to blame, there's no missing the messag e that much of their suffering is due to a culture that prizes men above women and makes a woman's worth dependent on her virginity. Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some very interesting ordinary women also demonstrates b rilliantly how much women the world over have in common.
Pilgrimage" took Annie Leibovitz to places that she could explore with no agenda. She wasn't on assignment. She chose the subjects simply because they meant something to her. The first place was Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst, Massachusetts, which Leibovitz visited with a small digital camera. A few months later, she went with her three young children to Niagara Falls. 'That's when I started making lists', she says. She added the houses of Virginia Woolf and Darwin in the English countryside and Freud's final home, in London, but most of the places on the lists were American. The work became more ambitious as Leibovitz discovered that she wanted to photograph objects as well as rooms and landscapes. She began to use more sophisticated cameras and a tripod and to travel with an assistant, but the project remained personal. Leibovitz went to Concord to photograph the site of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond. Once she got there, she was drawn into the wider world of the Concord writers. Ralph Waldo Emerson's home and Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott and her family lived and worked, became subjects. The Massachusetts studio of the Beaux Arts sculptor Daniel Chester French, who made the seated statue in the Lincoln Memorial, became the touchstone for trips to Gettysburg and to the archives where the glass negatives of Lincoln's portraits have been saved. Lincoln's portraitists - principally Alexander Gardner and the photographers in Mathew Brady's studio - were also the men whose work at the Gettysburg battlefield established the foundation for war photography. At almost exactly the same time, in a remote, primitive studio on the Isle of Wight, Julia Margaret Cameron was developing her own ultimately influential style of portraiture. Leibovitz made two trips to the Isle of Wight and, in an homage to the other photographer on her list, Ansel Adams, she explored the trails above the Yosemite Valley, where Adams worked for fifty years. The final list of subjects is perhaps a bit eccentric, featuring Georgia O'Keeffe and Eleanor Roosevelt but also Elvis Presley and Annie Oakley, among others. Figurative imagery gives way to the abstractions of Old Faithful and Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. "Pilgrimage" was a restorative project for Leibovitz, and the arc of the narrative is her own. 'From the beginning, when I was watching my children stand mesmerised over Niagara Falls, it was an exercise in renewal', she says. 'It taught me to see again'.
Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison," declares the whip-tongued eleven-year-old narrator of "Damned," Chuck Palahniuk's subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a mari-juana overdose--and the next thing she knows, she's in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone's favorite detention movie. Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won't buy them off. This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where "The English Patient" plays on end-less repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hard-sell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine. Show More Show Less
Mark Renton has it all: he's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university. But there's no room for him in the 1980s. Thatcher's government is destroying working-class communities across Britain, and the post-war certainties of full employment, educational opportunity and a welfare state are gone. When his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas. The way out is heroin. It's no better for his friends. Spud Murphy is paid off from his job, Tommy Lawrence feels himself being sucked into a life of petty crime and violence - the worlds of the thieving Matty Connell and psychotic Franco Begbie. Only Sick Boy, the supreme manipulator of the opposite sex, seems to ride the current, scamming and hustling his way through it all. "Skagboys" charts their journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community. This is the 1980s: a time of drugs, poverty, AIDS, violence, political strife and hatred - but a lot of laughs, and maybe just a little love; a decade which changed Britain for ever. The prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, this is an exhilarating and moving book, full of the scabrous humour, salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.
Family, that slippery word, a star to every wandering bark, and everyone sailing under a different sky. After his mother's death, Richard, a newly remarried hospital consultant, decides to build bridges with his estranged sister, inviting Angela and her family for a week in a rented house on the Welsh border. Four adults and four children, a single family and all of them strangers. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games and wet walks. But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours. And watching over all of them from high on the dark hill, Karen, Angela's stillborn daughter. "The Red House" is about the extraordinariness of the ordinary, weaving the words and thoughts of the eight characters together with those fainter, stranger voices - of books and letters and music, of the dead who once inhabited these rooms, of the ageing house itself and the landscape in which it sits. Once again Mark Haddon, bestselling author of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" and "A Spot of Bother" has written a novel that is funny, poignant and deeply insightful about human lives.
On 14 February 1989, Valentine's Day, Salman Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been 'sentenced to death' by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being 'against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran'. So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov - "Joseph Anton". How do a writer and his family live with the threat of murder for over nine years? How does he go on working? How does he fall in and out of love? How does despair shape his thoughts and actions, how and why does he stumble, how does he learn to fight back? In this remarkable memoir Rushdie tells that story for the first time; the story of one of the crucial battles, in our time, for freedom of speech. He talks about the sometimes grim, sometimes comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and of how he regained his freedom. It is a book of exceptional frankness and honesty, compelling, provocative, moving, and of vital importance. Because what happened to Salman Rushdie was the first act of a drama that is still unfolding somewhere in the world every day.
Joan Aiken picks up the pen of her forerunner, Jane Austen, in this charming sequel to "Pride and Prejudice". Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy have finally found matrimonial bliss, and now our attention turns to Rosings Park, the estate of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh. When an unfortunate carriage accident means that siblings Ralph and Priscilla Delaval must reside with Lady Catherine, the stage is set for a scandal. Life in the sleepy Kent village is turned upside down by a series of unexpected events, and dark family secrets are finally brought to light...This title features a cast of characters from Austen's classic, including Anne de Bourgh, Elizabeth's friend Charlotte Collins (nee Lucas), Colonel Fitzwilliam and, of course, the redoubtable Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
In Chris Ware's own words, '`Building Stories` follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other's company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building's landlady...' The scope, the ambition, the artistry and emotional heft of this project are beyond anything even Chris Ware has achieved before.
Part personal history, part biography, `Dotter of Her Father's Eyes` contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award winning comic artist and graphic novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, `Dotter of Her Father's Eyes` is intelligent, funny and sad - a fine addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir.
On a beautiful starry night in the city of Kahani in the land of Alifbay a terrible thing happened: twelve-year-old Luka’s storyteller father, Rashid, fell suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one could rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the Magic World, encountering a slew of phantasmagorical obstacles along the way, to steal the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly dangerous task. With Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie proved that he is one of the best contemporary writers of fables, and it proved to be one of his most popular books with readers of all ages. While Haroun was written as a gift for his first son, Luka and the Fire of Life, the story of Haroun’s younger brother, is a gift for his second son on his twelfth birthday. Lyrical, rich with word-play, and with the narrative tension of the classic quest stories, this is Salman Rushdie at his very best.
Utterly original, deeply moving and very funny, Ethel & Ernest is the story of Raymond Brigg's parents' marriage, from their first chance encounter to their deaths told in Brigg's unique strip-cartoon format. Nothing is invented, nothing embroidered - this is the reality of two decent, ordinary lives of two people who, as Briggs tells the story, become representative of us all. The book is also social history; we see the dark days of the Second World War, the birth of the Welfare State, the advent of television and all the changes which were so exhilarating and bewildering for Ethel and Ernest. A marvellous, life-enhancing book for all ages.