The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories

Overview

This anthology is in many ways a 'best of the best', containing gems from thirty-four of Britain's outstanding contemporary writers. It is a book to dip into, to read from cover to cover, to lend to friends and read again. It includes stories of love and crime, stories touched with comedy and the supernatural, stories set in London, Los Angeles, Bucharest and Tokyo. Above all, as you will discover, it satisfies Samuel Butler's anarchic pleasure principle: 'I should like to like Schumann's music better than I do; ...
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1989 Paperback New trade paperback. The cover shows some shelf wear.

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Overview

This anthology is in many ways a 'best of the best', containing gems from thirty-four of Britain's outstanding contemporary writers. It is a book to dip into, to read from cover to cover, to lend to friends and read again. It includes stories of love and crime, stories touched with comedy and the supernatural, stories set in London, Los Angeles, Bucharest and Tokyo. Above all, as you will discover, it satisfies Samuel Butler's anarchic pleasure principle: 'I should like to like Schumann's music better than I do; I daresay I could make myself like it better if I tried; but I do not like having to try to make myself like things; I like things that make me like them at once and no trying at all...'

Long-established writers such as Samuel Beckett join with Adam Mars-Jones and other more modern contributors in an anthology of 34 stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These 34 stories have all the hallmarks of post-1945 British culture: an amused attitude toward Americans and Australians, a comic fascination with sex, a baffling affection for a cold evening meal called ``tea.'' In most cases, though, as the narrator of Adam Mars-Jones's ``Structural Anthropology'' says, ``just below the surface of story . . . lies the tangled richness of myth.'' Stylistically, the works vary from Samuel Beckett's succinct avant-gardism to Doris Lessing's extended revisiting of naturalism a la Flaubert. The entire volume is recommended, especially Ian McEwan's ``Psychopolis,'' which makes it clear why many consider him Great Britain's leading writer. David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140063066
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1989
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.77 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Bradbury is a novelist, critic, television dramatist and Emeritus Professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is author of the novels Eating People is Wrong (1959); Stepping Westward (1965); The History Man (1975); which won the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and was adapted as a famous television series; Rates of Exchange (1983) which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Cuts: A Very Short Novel (1987), also televised; and Doctor Criminale (1992). His critical works include The Modern American Novel (1984; revised edition, 1992); No, Not Bloomsbury (essays, 1987); The Modern world: Ten Great Writers (1988); From Puritanism to Post-modernism: A History of American Literature (with Richard Ruland, 1991) He is the author of a collection of seven stories and nine parodies, entitled Who Do You Think You Are? (1976), and of several works of humour and satire, including Why Come to Slaka? (1986), Unsent Letters (1988; revised edition, 1995) and Mensonge (1987). Many of his books are published by Penguin. In addition, he has written many television plays and the television 'novel' The Gravy Train and The Gravy Train Goes East. He has adapted several television series, including Tom Sharpe's Porterhouse Blue, Kinglsey Amis's The Green Man and Stella Gibbon's' Cold Comfort Farm, now a feature film.

Malcolm Bradbury lives in Norwich, travels good deal, and in 1991 he was awarded the CBE.

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Table of Contents

Modern British Short Stories Acknowledgements
Introduction

Malcolm Lowry: Strange Comfort Afforded by the Profession
(from Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy Dwelling Place)

Samuel Beckett: Ping
(from Collected Shorter Prose 1945-80)

Elizabeth Bowen: Mysterious Kor
(from The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen)

V. S. Pritchett: A Family Man
(from V. S. Pritchett: Collected Stories)

Dylan Thomas: The Burning Baby
(from Adventures in the Skin Trade)

Graham Greene: The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen
(from May We Borrow Your Husband)

Angus Wilson: More Friend Than Lodger
(from A Bit Off the Map)

Jean Rhys: The Lotus
(from Tigers Are Better Looking)

William Golding: Miss Pulkinhorn
(from Encounter, August 1960)

Kingsley Amis: My Enemy's Enemy
(from Kingsley Amis: Collected Short Stories)

Ted Hughes: The Rain Horse
(from Wodwo)

Alan Sillitoe: The Fishing-boat Picture
(from The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner)

Doris Lessing: To Room Nineteen
(from A Man and Two Women)

Muriel Spark: The House of the Famous Poet
(from Bang Bang You're Dead)

John Fowles: The Enigma
(from The Ebony Tower)

J. G. Ballard: Memories of the Space Age
(from Firebird 3)

William Trevor: A Meeting in Middle Age
(from The Stories of William Trevor)

Edna O'Brien: In the Hours of Darkness
(from Mrs. Reinhardt and Other Stories)

B. S. Johnson: A Few Selected Sentences
(from Aren't You Rather Young to be Writing Your Memoirs?)

Malcolm Bradbury: Composition
(from Who Do You Think You Are?)

Fay Weldon: Weekend
(from Watching Me Watching You)

David Lodge: Hotel Des Boobs
(from Cosmopolitan, 1986)

Beryl Bainbridge: Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie
(from Mum and Mrs. Armitage)

Ian McEwan: Psychopolis
(from In Between the Sheets)

Angela Carter: Flesh and the Mirror
(from Fireworks)

Martin Amis: Let Me Count the Times
(from Granta 4)

Rose Tremain: My Wife is a White Russian
(from Granta 7)

Salman Rushdie: The Prophet's Hair
(from London Review of Books, 16 August 1981)

Julian Barnes: One of a Kind
(from New Stories 7)

Emma Tennant: Philomela
(from Bananas Anthology)

Clive Sinclair: Bedbugs
(from Bedbugs)

Graham Swift: Seraglio
(from Learning to Swim)

Kazuo Ishiguro: A Family Supper
(from Firebird 2)

Adam Mars-Jones: Structural Anthropology
(from Firebird 1)

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