Faber & Faber are celebrating ninety years in publishing, starting with these beautiful and collectable Faber Stories. With a single short story in each volume, they're perfect for slipping into a pocket or a bag, short enough for a bus journey, long enough for a leisurely cup of tea. The stories span Faber's nine decades, from the early days with Djuna Barnes and Samuel Beckett, to the present day with Sally Rooney, and the covers pay homage to the designer Bernard Wolpe whose work defined the look of Faber through the fifties and sixties. There's much more to come from Faber in 2019 — poetry fans in particular have something to look forward to in the autumn!
My love for him felt so total and so annihilating that it was often impossible for me to see him clearly at all. Years ago, Sukie moved in with Nathan because her mother was dead and her father was difficult, and she had nowhere else to go.
A family sets out on a road trip in the American South. . Flannery O'Connor's famous fifties story evokes heat and dust, family and feuding, God and grace - and is utterly uncompromising in its brutality.
When Ray turns up to visit his old university friends Charlie and Emily, he's given a special task: to be so much his useless self that he makes Charlie look good by comparison. But Ray has his own buried feelings to contend with.
Her story was this: she had been an orphan, her mother probably a whore. That's true of what brought her here too: was she IRA, or did she just take risks for the sake of a friend? Julia O'Faolain paints a portrait of young Irish girls and their unseverable connection, showing solidarity in places politics cannot reach.
Lips the colour of blood, the sun an unprecedented orange, train wheels that sound like 'guilt, and guilt, and guilt': these are just some of the things Mary Ventura begins to notice on her journey to the ninth kingdom. 'But what is the ninth kingdom?' she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage.
Adrienne is living in a puritanical age, when the best compliment a childless woman can get is: 'You'd make a terrific mother'. That's when she goes to her friends' Labor Day picnic and accidentally kills their baby. The shock of this scene is expertly packed into two brief paragraphs.
Walking ahead of him on the heath, his wife turns to look at him over her shoulder, 'Topaz eyes glinting. Scorched face. Vixen.' In language harvested from nature, Sarah Hall tells a story of metamorphosis, of wildness and fecundity, and of a man reaching for reason, who cannot let go of the creature he loves.
'On the whole, it was easier than I had expected. Only once did I feel myself at risk. Took her away from you some people might say. Didn't you feel any grievance?" I had been expecting this question. I knew exactly what I would say.' The late, great P. James takes us inside the mind of a murderer.
Brian Aldiss, who died in 2017, was best known for his science fiction - and in particular for a short story optioned by Stanley Kubrick, which would, under the direction of Steven Spielberg, become the film A.I. 'Sadness is just happiness in reverse,' says someone in a story within the story, 'We humans have to put up with it.'
As he stood up, he suddenly felt aroused by Mrs Shaw's large breasts, boy's haircut, and little-girl sneakers. Gopal wanted to put his hands on her waist and pull her toward him. But when his neighbour comes to borrow his lawnmower, Gopal thinks he might find something similar right here in New Jersey.
Sonny Liston gave Kid Dynamite the slightest hint of a smile and winked. In the build-up to a fight, Kid Dynamite's head swirls - with thoughts of his estranged father, his difficult relationship with his stepfather, the time he met his hero, and the sense that his own life is reaching a moment of change.
'Thinking Betty was in the bath Graham was watching a late-night programme on Channel 4 called Footballers with Their Shirts Off when she unexpectedly came in on the trail of the hairdryer. "I didn't know you were interested in football," said Betty.' No one must ever find out that Graham is 'not the marrying sort'.
The government has cleaned up Harare for the Queen of England's visit. 'The townships are too full of people, they said, gather them up and put them in the places the Queen will not see.' Four waves of people have settled on Easterly Farm since then, living on the margins in homes that will soon be destroyed. Among them is Martha Mupengo.
In perhaps the most magnificent of what he called his 'strange stories', Robert Aickman blurs the lines between memory, premonition and the hallucinated life. Lene, a woman now recovering from the losses of the Second World War, recalls a gothic dolls' house of her childhood and the way in which its uncanny inhabitants entered her dreams.