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Donovan smiled as he walked past her, following his brother into the house. He was a little surprised at how welcoming the inside felt. The worn outside belied the homey comfort inside the old farmhouse. It was actually very nice. He watched Maryann nod her head, rubbing her hands together. Maryann seemed a little nervous and he wondered if she was afraid of them.

Nash, is everything okay? They had no idea what they were actually walking into. His mother, on the other hand, would flip. After Chase and their brother Devlin had come out to the family a few years ago, it had been made very clear to Donovan that he was not allowed to be gay. He was responsible for producing cubs and carrying on the family name. Being gay was not an option. Is that a problem? He has brought more happiness to my son in the small amount of time he has been here than I have ever seen.

Joseph means everything to that boy and, I suspect, Nate means everything to my son. Maryann nodded, sending Donovan a small smile. Something to eat maybe? We stopped on the way through town and grabbed something to eat. Someone is after him and we need strong boys like you two to make sure that this madman never gets his hands on him. Situations like this were somewhat of a sore subject with both of them, which is probably why their alpha sent them.

He turned back to Maryann and smiled. His cock had gone so hard, he was afraid it was going to break through his jeans. Who the hell was it coming through the door and why was he having such an intense reaction? He had never experienced anything like this in his life, not from any girl he had ever dated or any girl he had ever slept with. So, why this voice? Donovan watched as pair of long legs encased in tight blue jeans came into his line of sight. He lifted his head slowly, moving up past the thick muscular thighs.

His eyes paused at the tight bulge that said the other man was having nearly the same reaction as he was before moving on up past the flat stomach and nicely chiseled chest to a square jaw. One look and Donovan knew he was hooked. Hell, he was obsessed. He was looking into the eyes of his future, his mate— and he was a man.

Fate had mated him to another man. That was another story. He had only been with women. Guess that was about to change. Now that he had found his mate, anyone else was off limits. Donovan got to his feet also, having been taught manners by his mother. How weird was that?

Their alpha sent them down here to help us keep Nate safe. When James turned his gaze to Donovan, he felt a hundred butterflies take flight in his stomach. This was his mate. He was about to touch his mate for the very first time. He could barely keep his hand from trembling as he held it out. Did he feel the bond that was instantly forming between them?

Was he as confused by it as Donovan was? He could see Chase was beginning to look at him strangely out of the corner of his eye. Donovan followed behind him, his eyes dropping to the rounded ass walking in front of him. If he was going to have to be mated to a man at least it was a man with a nice ass. He had always had a thing for tight asses and the one in front of him seemed to be very tight. When Jim opened a door and walked in, Donovan was surprised until he realized that it was a study and not the bathroom.

He followed him in, shutting the door behind him, watching as Jim walked over to a small wooden cabinet and quickly poured two small drinks. He grabbed them, turning to hand one to Donovan before drinking his down. Setting the glass back down on the counter he stared at Donovan intently for several moments before shaking his head, an amused chuckle broke through his lips. As he looked down at him, he realized that Jim was a few inches shorter than his six foot four.

The top of his coal black head barely came up to his nose. No one has to know but us. There would never be another one for either of them. He wished that he knew what he was thinking right then. He only hoped that Jim would give him a chance to learn. Finally, Jim shook his head. He stepped back over to the wooden cabinet and poured them both another small glass of whiskey, handing one to Donovan. He held up his glass for a toast. He watched Jim over the edge of his glass.

He took a sip, then leaned back against the edge of the cabinet countertop, crossing his arms over his chest. Never been with a man before. He was pretty sure that they Man to Man 15 could get the basics down. Sex was still sex, no matter which sex you were with. It was just the dynamics that were slightly different, right? Me not looking like a woman, I mean? He took a quick step towards him and grabbed his hand, placing it over the hard bulge in his pants. Damn, that felt good. He closed his eyes and groaned when Jim squeezed his hand around his cock. I want to smell you, to taste you, to touch you.

I want to know everything about you. What you like and dislike. What your interests are. What makes you feel good. Donovan smiled at Jim. And, truthfully, it 16 Stormy Glenn scares the hell out of me. He took several deep breaths trying to calm his nerves. I just—can we just get to know each other a little first? I resigned myself to having a woman for a mate, not—not you. He felt stupid now that he had bared his feelings to Jim. Either way, Donovan lost. Donovan turned to look back at Jim. His mate was a man. A damn sexy man, but a man nonetheless. How was he supposed to deal with that?

His brother being gay never bothered him. Maybe because he always knew he was, too. He could do what he wanted with it. And Nate seemed to make him damn happy. So, who was Jim to argue about it? Him being gay was another story. Jim had never dated a man, let alone kissed one. He had wanted to, but after Joe had come out as gay, Jim had seen what he went through with their friends and family. He never wanted to go through that. So, he had pretended all of his life he was straight, even dating women on occasion.

Jim knew how to elicit a sexual response from a woman, and he knew what he liked, but would it be the same when it was two men together? Hell, who was he kidding? He was so out of his depth right now, he might as well be on the moon. His parents already had one gay son. They were going to shit purple kittens when they found out about Donovan. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, and to get rid of the raging hard-on pressing against his zipper, Jim started for the door.

No matter how confused or horny he was right now, he still had a job to do. Jim looked up in surprise to see Donovan standing there, a fierce look on his face. He grabbed onto Donovan, wrapping his arms around his neck. Oh god, this was why he was gay! His lips parted and he allowed Donovan entrance, groaning as their tongues met for the first time.

He tasted sweet, just like Jim thought that a mate should taste. He could go on kissing Donovan for hours. He felt Donovan urge him backwards, guiding him until the desk came up behind him. Jim looked up at Donovan in bewilderment as he lifted his head. They were smoldering with desire as Donovan gazed down at him. His chest rose and fell with his rapid breathing. He wanted everything Donovan had to give, and then some.

His mate looked down at him with desire in his eyes and he wanted more, much, much more. Oh god, he could hear that sound for the rest of his life and never get tired of it. He Man to Man 19 opened his eyes when Donovan quickly lifted his head to look down at him in query. He never felt so alive in his life, so close to the edge of an orgasm. He just knew that if Donovan would touch him a little more, kiss him a little harder, he would come. Dark, copper eyes stared down at Jim for just a moment before Donovan reached down and unbuttoned his jeans, grabbing both of their cocks in his large hand.

But, he knew if Donovan did that, there would be no going back for either of them. Once Donovan claimed him, they would be mates forever. There would be no one else for either of them. His face showed his wonderment at what had just happened between them, then slowly faded away to be replaced by a stone cold mask of nothing. Jim suddenly felt very vulnerable. Donovan looked like he could not have cared less about what had just happened between them, something that Jim felt had been life altering.

He suddenly wished he was anywhere other than where he was, laying on a desk with jeans undone, his spent cock hanging out, and cum smeared all over his stomach. Especially since the man that had just shook his world was standing up and fixing his jeans, looking down at him like he could not have cared less who he was. Jim quickly stood up and shoved his cock back into his jeans and zipped them up.

He reached over and grabbed a couple of napkins and wiped of his stomach and tossed them in the trash before turning back to face Donovan. But Donovan was already walking away toward the door. This had all been about proving a point? He had just been trying to prove a point? Was this how things were going to be between them? Tucking his shirt back into his pants, Jim headed for the door.

He still had a job to do and not even his thoughts about Donovan were going to keep him from it. His brother needed his help and at least there, he knew what was expected of him. Walking into the living room, he gazed around the room. His mother was talking quietly with Chase.

Donovan stood looking out the front window. He could hear Chase and Donovan saying goodbye to his mom as he walked outside and headed for his truck. Jim climbed in and started the truck, hoping Donovan would ride with his brother instead of him. It would be much better if they each had some space to think. Even so, as Donovan climbed into the car with his brother, Jim felt disappointed.

He was losing his mind. Donovan was driving him crazy. Donovan turned his head to look over at him. You were supposed to be the one to save the family name. He knew his brother was gay. He had known for years. He did not like him making comments about his mate, however. Someone I can cuddle in my arms. Why are you riding with me instead of up there with your mate? What do you feel now? That man had a perfect ass. This is my son, Joe, our pack enforcer and the local sheriff. The man sleeping in his lap is his mate, Nate. He tried to ignore the sweet scent that Jim was giving off when Joe began speaking.

The Teacher has his hands in a lot of cookie jars and has a very long reach. No place has been safe for Nate for very long. He was surprised when the little man opened his eyes and sat up, looking over at him. So, who are the mountains masquerading as men? Chase leaned forward holding out his hand. My brother Donovan and I were sent down here by our alpha to give you a little added protection. Donovan felt him pause briefly, staring at him before releasing his hand.

Did he know about Jim? Could he tell that it was everything Donovan could do not to reach back and touch Jim? He uses people like me to make him money, lots of money. I have certain abilities. The Teacher sells my services to the highest bidder—government agencies, businessmen, drug dealers, you name it and he sells our services to them. Was he a prostitute? I can tell if someone is lying just by touching them. He could feel his face heat up when he realized that Nate could sense his desire for Jim.

Did he know that they were mates, too? So, I guess our job here is to keep him from accomplishing that? Joe and Nate both nodded. I could spot him in a crowd just by the way he walks. Joe convinced me to stick around this time. The Teacher has a whole group of us. Some have used their abilities to keep him away from me. I assume that is how he found me. Is the Teacher holding them hostage as well?

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But there are a few of them that like the life that the Teacher provides for them. They like the money and power that they get from doing exactly what he says. The rest though, their lives are pretty much hell. He wondered if it could be that way between him and Jim. If they were mated, would he be able to hold Jim whenever he wanted? Would Jim allow it?

How can you get a message to them? Some of the students have telepathy. If they were receiving at the Man to Man 27 same time I was sending, they might get the message, especially if they were close by. Justin has been known to read someone as far away as five hundred miles. So, within a few hundred miles at least. The closer the better. The Teacher uses him mostly for business meeting and mergers.

Justin has been keeping me safe for awhile now. Justin also might be away on another job or too far away to reach me. Worse case scenario, the Teacher found that he was helping me and has stopped him. He never physically hurt us, but he did isolate us. That may not seem too terrible to you, but when the only contact you have is with the other students, you come to appreciate them, a lot.

Donovan leaned forward, patting Chase on the back before looking over at Nate. Someone found out that he was a shifter and kidnapped him. They wanted to study him and learn how the shifting worked. By the time we found him, he had been so abused and tortured that he was never the same again. How could someone do that?

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Some people believe that they have a right to treat people how they want for their own self-interests. We need to know where the Teacher is holding all of them. I know several people, some pack and some not, that would be very willing to help us. All I have to do is call them. One of my friends has his own plane. I need to make some phone calls. The rest of us will start preparing things down here. You want to stay here or go with me?

He leaned over and kissed Joe quickly before heading upstairs. He seemed to need Joe as much as Joe needed him. He wondered if it would be that way if he and Jim were mated. Would they hate to be separated even by just a few feet? Donovan was pretty sure they would. Maybe they did have a chance together.

Jim pushed his hands into his pockets and looked down at his feet as he tried to gather his thoughts. His mate—that was still a scary thought. He could feel his face reddening. Nate turned to look at him, a grin on his face. Have you seen him naked yet? Jim lifted his head to stare down at Nate. Do you think any less of Joe because he loves me or because I love him? Being mated is a wonderful thing. And if you are as lucky as I am, then your mate will make you the happiest person on earth. Over the last few weeks he had seen how happy Nate made Joe.

He never realized that Nate felt the same way. Nate laughed, getting to his feet so that he could sit beside Jim on the bed. So, what do you want to know? There are just a few variations. Yeah, he had liked it. In fact, he preferred it. It also seemed to be the easiest way he could get off when having sex with a woman. It would hurt if I—Oh! Men and women have pretty much the same erogenous zones, I think. A kiss on the lips is a kiss on the lips. The actual 34 Stormy Glenn intercourse is a little different but not that much. But the nice thing about being mated to a man?

Other times, he just tosses me over the side of the bed and fucks me. I think woman prefer gentle to rough. Course, having never been with a woman, I could be wrong. Jim looked down at the bottle of lube in his hand, turning it over as he thought about what he was going to do. And him being a sheriff? He could be taken from me every time he goes to work.

And now that he had found him, what would life be like if he let Donovan go? None of it looked good. I swear we need to buy stock in the damn company. He needed to locate his mate and find out if he was still interested in being mated to another man. Walking into the living room, he found Donovan talking with Chase and Joe. He waited a moment then cleared his throat. Can I speak with you for a moment? Before anyone could see the blush filling his face, Jim turned and went back up the stairs. He could hear Donovan behind him as he went to the guestroom on the far side of the house from Nate.

Jim walked into the middle of the room, turning to face Donovan as he followed him in. He watched Donovan shut the door, then turn back to him, a dark brown eyebrow raised in query. His mouth felt dry, his palms sweaty. Rubbing them on his pants, he felt the bottle of lube in his pocket. Pulling it out, he handed it to Donovan. Jim felt like his nerves were being stretched to the breaking point as he watched Donovan start to pace back and forth.

Every few steps he would stop and look over at Jim, his eyebrows drawn together as if he were in deep thought. Finally, Donovan stopped pacing to stand in front of Jim. His eyes flickered up briefly as he wondered what other humiliation he was about to endure. Man to Man 37 Jim hesitated to say anything, torn by conflicting emotions. He wanted to explore all of the sexual fantasies swirling around in his head. To his dismay, his voice broke slightly when he spoke. He looked away hastily, then moved restlessly.

Perhaps it was simply his own uneasiness, but Jim suddenly wondered if Donovan was being totally truthful with him. He took a step back in confusion when Donovan let out a bitter little laugh. His voice was deceptively calm as he continued. And I basically suck at them. And that has nothing to do with waiting for my mate.

So, I chose not to. He just nodded his head in agreement. Will you live there with me? He opened his eyes and looked at Donovan, hoping he had beat down his anger enough to not sound like he was attacking Donovan. Why would you do that? His ironic tone concealed the emotions he felt. Jim watched Donovan start to say something, then close his mouth. He opened it again, but no sound came out. Finally, Donovan stared at Jim, baffled. I, at least, have always known that I was gay, even if I never did anything about it.

Until you met me, I imagine the thought never crossed your mind. Neither one of us has ever had a serious relationship, a mate, or anyone we considered committing to. Are you willing to put that all aside and be my mate? He was actually going to commit to Jim, another man. He chewed on his lower lip and stole a look at Jim. Not because it made him nervous, but because it told him that Jim was as afraid as he was.

Somehow, it made Donovan feel more confident. He tasted just as good as Donovan remembered, maybe even better now that he knew Jim was agreeing to be his mate. His fingers shook as he tried to 42 Stormy Glenn unbutton each button without ripping them off when that was all he really wanted to do.

He quickly got to his feet and pulled his shirt over his head, dropping it on the floor before reaching for his jeans. As he did, his eyes came up to land on the most perfectly formed male body in the universe. Jim looked a little puzzled, shaking his head. He sent him a reassuring smile. I also think once we get settled into which ever house we decide on, clothing will be optional and highly frowned upon.

As he stood to his full height, letting Jim get a look at his naked form for the first time, Donovan wondered if Jim would feel the same way about him. Donovan was shocked when Jim looked up at him. His face was filled with just a little wonder and a whole lot of desire. Are all of the women in your pack blind? He moved to the other nipple, giving it the same attention. Donovan was mildly surprised at the flavor. He had been prepared for it to be bitter, even repugnant. Jim tasted sweet and tangy, better even than Donovan had been prepared for.

He needed to be inside of Jim, and now, deep inside of him. A smile wove its way across his face when a hand holding the bottle of lube suddenly appeared in front of him. He popped the lid open and poured some out on his 46 Stormy Glenn fingers, rubbing them together to warm the cold liquid up even as he dropped the bottle onto the mattress. His eyes widened as he looked down at Jim and found him with his legs pulled up to his chest as he bared himself to Donovan.

He looked up at Jim, an eyebrow raised. The moment Jim nodded, Donovan returned his attention to the treasure waiting for him. Concerned, he grabbed the bottle of lube and squirted more onto his fingers. As he started to push his finger into Jim, Donovan felt a shiver pass through his body. In a few minutes, that tight little hole would be wrapped around his cock. His balls had already drawn up tight against his body and he felt so close to a climax that he had to grip his cock at the base to keep from exploding.

Donovan quickly pressed a second finger in and started moving them both around, stretching Jim.

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Was Jim really enjoying this? Do you like this? He poured some more lube on his hands then dropped the bottle onto the bed and spreading the liquid on his aching cock. For just a moment, time stopped as they shared an intense awareness of each other, of what they were about to do. There was an invisible web building between them, the mating bond. Donovan could feel it, could feel Jim, down to the depths of his soul. Donovan was completely unprepared for the intensity of the emotions swamping him. He suddenly knew this was where he was meant to be and he never wanted to leave. There was no longer any question about accepting Jim.

Jim was his mate. Donovan looked up at Jim, growling low in his throat as he saw Jim look pointedly at him, then tilt his head to one side, baring his throat submissively to him. Donovan doubted Jim had a submissive bone in his body, but right now it was exactly what he needed, what he craved.

Immediately, Donovan was overwhelmed by the intense taste flowing into his mouth. But, Donovan wanted Jim with him when he came. This unusual writer excels at the creation of skewed, dreamlike parallel worlds. In his fourth novel, the rootless, emotionally frozen Martin Blom is blinded by a stray bullet: A new nocturnal existence and highly charged affair with a nightclub waitress follow, in a phantasmagorical meditation on repression and transgression, absence and invisibility.

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Vonnegut considered Sirens of Titan to be one of his best books , ranking it just below Slaughterhouse-Five. Featuring a dimension-swapping ultra-rich space explorer who can see the future, a robot messenger whose craft is powered by UVTW the Universal Will to Become and the newly established Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, Sirens of Titan manages to be classic 50s pulp, a literary sleight of hand, a cult novel of the 60s counterculture and unmistakably Vonnegut all at the same time. Young Jakob von Gunten enrols in a sinister academy that touchstone of Germanic fiction in which students learn how to be good servants.


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Originally published in four volumes, this far-future story presents a powerfully evocative portrait of Earth as the sun dies. Using the baroque language of fantasy to tell a story that is solidly science fiction, Wolfe follows Severian, a professional torturer exiled to wander the ruined planet and discover his fate as leader and then messiah for his people. Complex and challenging, this is perhaps one of the most significant publications in the last three decades of sci-fi. Triffids are possibly escapees from a Soviet laboratory; their takeover begins when a meteor shower blinds everyone who witnesses it.

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The one Victorian novel whose greatness no one contradicts. Dorothea marries the parson-scholar Edward Casaubon, only to discover his mind is unworthy of her. Amidst swirlingly connected plots, Dorothea now widowed eventually finds fulilment. Marner is a linen weaver in the village of Raveloe, who once belonged to a religious sect from which he was unjustly expelled: His store of gold is stolen by the son of the local squire; at the same time, a golden-haired foundling, later named Eppie, is left in his house.

She humanises the miser and when her rich father reveals himself, Eppie refuses to leave her adoptive parent. A pioneering novel about being black in America, by a pioneer black American author. It is framed as a journal by an un-named African-American, following his post-college career. Can youthful idealism withstand the disillusions of age? Flaubert asks what is ultimately of most value to us: In his sequel to The Sportswriter , Ford picks up the story of Frank Bascombe, now a New Jersey estate agent, as he navigates the fraught emotional territory of a holiday weekend.

An ex-wife, a disturbed son and a dangerous universe: An ambitious, almost encyclopedic novel about modern America, structured around the seemingly hackneyed idea of a dysfunctional family getting together for Christmas. The parents, Enid and Alfred, confront old age, illness and frustrated ambitions. The elusive central character is Wyatt Gwyon, intended by his family for the ministry but instead a forger of those objects of religious devotion: The novel renders the passion with which he creates truly original fakes, credited to Flemish masters.

The other leading characters are also counterfeiters, like Otto, the playwright, who plagiarises authors he has never read, or the conman Frank Sinisterra. Much of the novel consists of dialogues in which ideas about religion, art and truthfulness are fearlessly elaborated. All turns out well. The novel in which Gaskell set out to be scrupulously fair to the Lancashire mill-owners whom she had earlier criticised in Mary Barton Initially appalled, Margaret is gradually won over by the rough northern community and its tough but moral textile workers. When Bernard, a student, is told he is illegitimate, he runs away from home and ends up in the bed of his schoolfriend Olivier.

Bernard becomes secretary to Edouard — who is working on a novel called The Counterfeiters. While writing the novel, Gide kept a journal detailing its composition, which he published separately in Unwilling to share their fate, their younger sister Monica marries a wealthy man who makes her miserable. George Orwell said of this bitter, brilliant novel that it retains its capacity to disquiet. Though set in late 19th-century London, its study of the corrosion of the literary world by self-promotion and commercialism is more relevant today than ever. Edwin Reardon and Jasper Milvain are two young writers who both realise that the values of the new literary industry are base.

Milvain plays the game and prospers; Reardon chooses not to compromise and fails. Led to safety and protected by July, their faithful black servant, the Smales in turn become subservient to him. Rosalind Porter Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. In a greasy factory suburb, Pelageya Nilovna is a downtrodden woman whose only solace is religion. When her son, Pavel Vlassov, declares himself a socialist, she is afraid and ashamed. In her eyes, socialists murder tsars. Yet through her love for her son, she overcomes her habits of subservience. A strange, huge picture of Glasgow written by an author as renowned for his artwork as for his writing.

The challenge to the reader is to follow the connections between the two.

The early-morning march of hobnail boots on cobbles and the clack-clack-clack of the cotton mills may document a distant time, but rising unemployment, pressure on wages and means testing still shatters lives today. Michael Henchard, a drunken journeyman labourer, sells his wife to a sailor at a local fair. On sobering up, he vows not to drink for 21 years. He rises in the world as a corn-factor and is elected mayor of Casterbridge Dorchester, bleakly depicted , but his fall once again is precipitous, and he dies, as he began, a labourer. Neglected by his parents, bullied by his brother, beaten and belittled at school, Billy Casper has little hope of a future beyond the pit in his deprived northern town, a destiny signalled by the coal- heaps which loom over the playground.

The most popular novel among both armies in the American civil war. On his release, he steals some silver candlesticks from a bishop, who forgives him. This act of kindness sets Valjean on the path of righteousness. He becomes a successful industrialist, mayor and family man — although always haunted by his criminal past.

Hugo introduces spectacular wartime and street-revolution set pieces. Greeks, Germans and Italians march through the town. Making use of the rawness of folklore and tapping into the strange logic of dreams, Kadare takes the lunacy of war and spins it into his own Balkan myth. He seems to have lost his sight, though he remembers little of what has happened. The third-person narrative does not merely inhabit his thoughts, it also uses a version of his demotic Scots, replete with obsenities, but charged with feeling.

JM Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. The most famous poet of his era, Larkin as a young man published two novels, of which this is the second. Published in austerity Britain, in a year which saw the worst winter of the century, the narrative is very much of its time. But no one reading it will fail to wonder whether there was not a great novelist struggling to get out of a great poet.

At separate tables in a rooftop cafe, two black women take tea and pass as white. It is a chance encounter between childhood friends. Irene is a respectable black woman committed to her home and family. Clare travels the world with her white husband who, unwittingly, calls her Nig. Passing broke literary ground as the story of two racially and sexually ambiguous women written by another.

Social boundaries can be permeated, but not without cost. Nearly 60 years before winning the Nobel prize, Lessing was acclaimed for a stunning debut which tells the story of Dick and Mary Turner, farmers in a remote part of Rhodesia. The lure and contradictions of colonial life are brilliantly analysed as a tragedy unfolds. Here his target is dollar- driven evangelism.

Elmer, a jock who lives for football, booze and girls, gets religion at college. The end of the novel sees him triumphantly preaching his message: We shall yet make these United States a moral nation. The novel remained on the New York Times bestseller list for two years and still strikes a chord. Imagine Sex and the City with a social conscience, with characters saying things like: Michael Moran is a former IRA guerrilla whose fails to adjust to civilian life after the Irish war of independence and is bitterly resentful of the new free state government.

He takes it out on his family, for whom he is the ultimate patriarch. Employing an appropriately louche prose style, he spins an enjoyable, self-deprecating yarn as his hapless hero tries to interest householders in the Sucko brand and whiles away his spare time romancing the wife of a fellow salesman. It begins with the unreality of a fairy tale: Their family takes hi in but contact with Gemmy Fairly, a white man who has lived with the blacks and is a stranger even to himself, has repercussions for the whole community. Fascinated with this place high up in the Swiss Alps, where illness is championed — not without vanity — as a triumph of the intellect over the body, he stays for seven years and falls ill along the way.

Featuring lengthy debates between humanist freemasons and Jews-turned-Catholics, a long love-scene written entirely in French and a brilliant hallucinatory journey down the snowy slopes, it merits multiple readings. A novel for a lifetime not just a rainy afternoon. With wry commentary on the abuse of power, epic set pieces from the Thirty Years war and graphic depictions of the horrors of the plague, it is the classic of 19th-century Italian literature and is as important in that country as the works of Thackeray, Dickens, Fielding and Hardy rolled into one.

Maupassant turns his cynical imagination to the squalor and decadent gloryof late 19th-century Paris. There his splendidly moustachioed hero, Georges Duroy, immerses himself in the amoral world of political journalism and climbs to the top of society, over the bodies of colleagues and quickly discarded mistresses. At once detestable and delightful, Duroy works his charm on the reader as seductively as on the women he misuses. The result is a masterpiece — a page-turner as well as a vivid chronicle of a sordid world. One of the greatest novels of the late 20th-century.

India comes alive in an inspiring contemplation of power and the powerless, of compassion and terror, of comedy and cruelty. Mistry has the heart of Dickens, the sweep of Victor Hugo and the command of words of a great poet. Carmel Callil Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. Moravia started his study of two days in the life of a middle-class widow and her troublesome children when he was 18, having been challenged by friends.

A bracing blast of social-realism, played out in San Francisco and detailing the rise and fall of a knuckle-headed dentist. This was, of course, the life of Lena Zavaroni, but Personality is a long way from a biographical study. We create celebrities for our pleasure, then destroy them: Animals, led by the pigs, resolve to take their farm from its human owner, Mr Jones.

Once the revolution is achieved, the ruthless porker Napoleon Stalin imposes an even harsher dictatorship than that run by his capitalist, two-legged predecessor. The less intelligent beasts are slaughtered or worked to death while the pigs morph into the capitalists of old.

Slum thuggery represents freedom from the conventions of politics and morality. His mission is transformed when he discovers that Absalom has been charged with the murder of a white liberal activist. As memories of his childhood rise from the landscape, so do the bodies of those who were killed during the conflict — grisly evidence of the past polluting the present. In Headlong Hall, the equally absurd Mr Escot, the pessimist, and Mr Foster, the optimist, rehearse the arguments of, respectively, Malthus and Rousseau.

Atwater, the narrator, is almost a perfect blank, propelled forward only by a vague desire for cocktails and women. Roth offers an elegy to relatively benign imperial rule and explores the meaninglessness that sets in when an ideal is destroyed. American Pastoral spotlights a nation in spiritual crisis, staggering towards a horrified self-awareness. Except Silk is not what he seems. He is a man of secrets; at once noble and cowardly, confident and compromised. In the guise of his alter-ego, Nathan Zuckerman, Roth rails against a climate of sexual and racial hypocrisy.

Along the way he produces a tragedy substantial in its weight, scope and ambition — an Othello for the Clinton era. A great English novel that hardly mentions England and has no major English characters. Yet while it spans much of the history of India in the 20th century, and is heady with the smells and colours of the sub-continent, it also borrows from a great tradition of English fiction.

They are at once united and divided — the book is a thinly-veiled study of the relationship between Zia ul-Haq, president of Pakistan, and his overthrown predecessor, Zulkifar Ali Bhutto. Connected is the story of Suiya Zenobia, whose failure to be born a boy instils within her a limitless capacity for shame. In this short and elegantly brutal detective novel set in Sicily, Sciascia, an Italian writer and moral and cultural commentator, takes on a society that had acceded to fascism and the mafia. When two locals are murdered, everyone knows who is responsible. A comic, moving novel that looks at the handover of independence to India through the eyes of a retired British colonial couple, Colonel Tusker Smalley and his wife Lily, who decide to stay on in the home they have made.

Scott is brilliant on the division between Indian nd colonialist, and moving on the plight of the Smalleys as they try to retain control over their lives. They are at once symbolic of a whole system and vividly distinct, in a way that makes their slow demise heartbreaking. Initially conceived as a bundle of connected short stories, it is set in the savage, degenerate post-war Brooklyn projects. Last Exit is both ultra-realistic and abrupt in a stream-of- consciousness, lagrantly ungrammatical style.

The city around him is changing colour fast: In this landmark novel, which progresses through the dreadful Senegalese Union Railroad strike of , the women gradually usurp the men and take centre stage. When the ruling French try to bring down the workers by cutting off their food and water supply, it is the women who defend themselves with violence and clash with the armed forces of their colonial rulers. Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. The author committed suicide in , his spirit broken. A muckraking novel about the Chicago stockyards and meat-packing industry, the narrative follows the fortunes of a Lithuanian immigrant, Jurgis Rudkus.

Newly arrived in the country with his family, and newly married, Jurgis is idealistic about the new world. But the heartless industrial machine which produces canned food — adulterated and frequently poisonous — for the American table uses him until his strength, health and family are utterly broken. Jurgis takes to drink but finally sees a glimmer of hope in socialism. Theodore Roosevelt was so shocked by the sanitary standards Sinclair described that he sent a presidential commission to investigate the stockyards.

As in the poetry for which she is also famous, Smith herself, witty, brilliant, wandering of mind yet eternally perspicacious, erupts through every word of this remarkable novel. She misses not a trick, and through her love affairs, her friendships, her love of love and her revealing experiences in Nazi Germany, a comic masterpiece emerges. Zadie Smith burst on to the literary scene with this rich and fizzy vision of multicultural Britain. Immigration and pregnancy, friendship and genetics, fundamentalism and class, beauty and luck: Cleared for publication by Nikita Khrushchev himself, who had to bully his colleagues on the politburo into reading it, this daring account of life in the Soviet gulag was an instant sensation in Russia, and made Solzhenitsyn world- famous within weeks.

Richard Lea Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. Still one of the most-read texts in American high-schools. Tom, recently out of prison, rejoins them as they prepare for their pilgrimage to California where, as advertisements assure them, life is easy. Telling the story of the young, impassioned hero, Julien Sorel, as he exerts himself to rise above his humble station using a mixture of native gifts and hypocrisy, Stendhal wrote in a style inimical to both Classicists and Romantics alike; and so the book reads astonishingly freshly today.

The words applied to Sorel at one point could apply to Stendhal himself: Arvid Falk, a disillusioned civil servant, becomes a journalist in Stockholm only to discover that man, in all his social guises, is a deceitful animal. Cultural institutions, business and philanthropy are merely the parasites of capitalism, driven by the pursuit of self-interest. Publishing is caricatured as the lifeless arm of faceless media empires, concerned with nothing but peddling celebrity biographies and manufacturing literary personalities.

On a prosperous Bengali estate in , housewife Bimala enjoys a life of contentment with her wealthy husband, Nikhil. But her happiness is endangered when she meets Sandip, the charismatic leader of the Swadeshi movement, which aims to end colonial rule in India.

His persuasive rhetoric encourages Bimala to get involved in a cause that proved to be rooted in violence and corruption. Published as a serial over 18 months, Vanity Fair offers a panorama of English society which pivots on the Battle of Waterloo. Becky ends ennobled but disgraced; Amelia accepts Dobbin, who has always loved her. Since then it has become something of a sacred text among activists, and even the odd cabinet minister has claimed it as a favourite book. The storyline is summed up by a discarded title: Josiah Crawley, the cross-grained curate of Hogglestock, is suspected of having stolen a cheque.

Confused, he cannot remember how he came by the money. Virtue triumphs — but love does not, Trollope declined to allow his most beloved maiden heroine, Lily Dale, to marry her faithful lover, Johnny Eames. In which the aged Trollope lashed an English society that he felt had become pervasively dishonest. Dominating the narrative is the majestically dishonest Augustus Melmotte — a speculative railroad financier who buys an English society only too willing to sell itself. At the height of his rise, an MP courted by all the great in the land, Melmotte is disgraced and commits suicide.

His adventures are a series of boyish pranks and escapades — unlike Huck, he is a great reader of romance: He is also, although only some 12 years old, interested in the other kind of romance: A huge commercial success, Couples also caused outrage among commentators who attacked its unashamed fascination with adultery and sexual hedonism. Forty years on, the novel is often credited with revolutionising the depiction of sex in literary fiction. A study of the military dictatorship which ruled Greece in the s, Z revolves around the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis, a democratic politician killed by right-wing extremists in The letter, as well as the book, was banned by the junta.

Try to put the film out of your mind. This is a darker work; when it came out, its portrayal of Scottish junkies and psychopaths was seen by many as more an indictment of Tory-run Britain than a hip black comedy. But its use of the Scots vernacular, inspired by James Kelman, is superb and Renton, Spud, Begbie and the rest of the gang have been welcomed into the national consciousness.

The whole world is a soundstage for the clowns, tragedians and showgirls of this black-as-pitch Hollywood farce. But somehow, we suspect, we do. Amnesia makes him forget his beautiful wife Kitty, fixing instead on the dowdy and socially inferior Margaret from whom he had parted 15 years before. The repercussions of his illness, and his brutal cure, are described with insight in prose as elegant and precise as the world of the Edwardian country house in which their tragedy takes place.

Wharton is at her magnificent, merciless best here as she punishes her heroine Lily Bart for putting riches and status before love. Bart, a ravishing socialite in turn-of-the-century New York, sets out to find a husband who can keep her in luxurious living — and ends up a disgraced, debt-ridden suicide. The novel witheringly shows the savage side of high society, an impeccably mannered world of bridge and betrayal that simply spits Bart out.

Andrew Gilchrist Buy this book at the Guardian bookshop. His victim is neglected to death in the nearby public hospital. The remainder of the novel deals with the destruction of McCoy by the various special-interest groups who run New York Jewish politicians, Irish policemen, lack populists, the Gay Fist Strike Force and by the gutter ress.

He finds, however, that his sense of self cannot be so mechanically restored with pigment and silicone. An uncanny intellectual horror, this post-Hiroshima Metamorphosis looks beyond the surface of identity and social interaction, making the skin — and the mind — crawl. A novel about the March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy growing up in Massachusetts at the time of the civil war which has, over the years, come to be seen an archetypal depiction of girls growing up everywhere.

The novel tracks a series of domestic crises: Jo closest in character to the author is obliged to cut off and sell her crowning glory, her hair. Meg, the oldest, goes off to be a governess — very unhappily. Beth dies from scarlet fever. Amy is the youngest, and the family pet.

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The narrative follows the March girls into later life and marriage. Sentimental, but irresistible; the novel shows Alcott to be one of the great storytellers of fiction , and not just for girls growing up. As one reviewer wrote of this Whitbread book of the year, which breathed a rude new life into English regional fiction: A retrospective exhibition prompts artist Elaine Risley to recollect a s childhood spent at one with her scientist parents in the Canadian wilderness and at odds with her conformist contemporaries.

A beautifully observed novel about an awkward child finding a mature means of expression in a country coping with similar challenges. Few writers have explored the vicissitudes of female friendship with as much acuity as Atwood does here: Nothing much happens, which is very much the point; instead, digressions on Debussy, peanut butter, nose-picking, punctuation and aeroplanes pepper the narrative as Baker explores the parent-baby relationship in a touching spell of prolonged navel-gazing. He, however, has different ideas. When the other daughter, Anastasie, reveals to Goriot the vast debts racked up by her lover, he collapses with a stroke.

Neither daughter visits their father on his deathbed, and, Lear-like, he rages against their lack of filial love. More impressively, what follows avoids any whiff of anticlimax, as student Prentice McHoan returns to the bosom of his family to investigate the disappearance of a beloved uncle. The crow road is a reference to death, and Banks has his usual morbid fun imagining the possibilities, from a banal car crash to a frankly flamboyant lightning bolt. When year-old Jane Graham discovers she is pregnant, she is patronised by her doctor, rejected by her father and forced to hole up in a bed-bug-riddled Fulham boarding house.

Ours is both a refuge from the storm and the most violent of tempests. Two damaged souls entwined as one. We have bared our deepest, ugliest secrets to one another. Gideon is the mirror that reflects all my flaws. He has given me everything. Now, I must prove I can be the rock, the shelter for him that he is for me.

Together, we could stand against those who work so viciously to come between us. But our greatest battle may lie within the very vows that give us strength. Committing to love was only the beginning. Fighting for it will either set us free. Heartbreakingly and seductively poignant, One with You is the breathlessly awaited finale to the Crossfire saga, the searing love story that has captivated millions of readers worldwide.

Try Google Play with Chrome. He is her friend and lover who can satisfy all her sexual demands, especially for threesomes. But all that is about to change thanks to Avgar, a ruthless demon, who is her new apprentice on a mission to steal Christopher Columbus' soul. He knows she is hiding something and will do anything to find out what it is. If her secret were ever revealed, she and Sebastian would be banished to the deepest depths of Hell. If that weren't enough, Amato, a guardian angel, is sent to protect Christopher Columbus.

He knows her secret and is infatuated with the beautiful enchantress. Whenever they make physical contact, Belinda feels an electrical shock of rampant arousal. Can she tame her sexual urges for the angel or will her mission be jeopardized and her big secret be revealed? There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among the men. Flowing text, Original pages. Web, Tablet, Phone, eReader.