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The Dumb House

The Dumb House

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1446412237
Pages: 224
Year: 2010-12-15
As a child, Luke’s mother often tells him the story of the Dumb House, an experiment on newborn babies raised in silence, designed to test the innateness of language. As Luke grows up, his interest in language and the delicate balance of life and death leads to amateur dissections of small animals – tiny hearts revealed still pumping, as life trickles away. But as an adult, following the death of his mother, Luke’s obsession deepens, resulting in a haunting and bizarre experiment on Luke’s own children.
The Dumb House

The Dumb House

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1446412237
Pages: 224
Year: 2010-12-15
As a child, Luke’s mother often tells him the story of the Dumb House, an experiment on newborn babies raised in silence, designed to test the innateness of language. As Luke grows up, his interest in language and the delicate balance of life and death leads to amateur dissections of small animals – tiny hearts revealed still pumping, as life trickles away. But as an adult, following the death of his mother, Luke’s obsession deepens, resulting in a haunting and bizarre experiment on Luke’s own children.
Uncle John's Presents Book of the Dumb 2

Uncle John's Presents Book of the Dumb 2

Author: John Scalzi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1607106868
Pages: 320
Year: 2012-10-01
In this sequel to the best-selling Uncle John’s Presents Book of the Dumb, guest author John Scalzi casts a wide net to bring readers more mind-boggling dumbosities perpetrated by dumb-doers. This time, to prove that dumb-nastics are not a modern phenomenon, Scalzi digs into the past to unearth some of history’s most ill-advised blunders. The lesson: Dumb is as dumb does. And you’ll be smarter for reading it.
Black Cat Bone

Black Cat Bone

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Graywolf Press
ISBN: 1555979041
Pages: 80
Year: 2015-07-07
Winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize, Black Cat Bone is the first American publication of the poetry of John Burnside Before the songs I sang there were the songs they came from, patent shreds of Babel, and the secret Nineveh of back rooms in the dark. Hour after hour the night trains blundered through from towns so far away and innocent that everything I knew seemed fictional: —from "Death Room Blues" John Burnside's Black Cat Bone is full of poems of thwarted love and disappointment, raw desire, the stalking beast. One sequence tells of an obsessive lover coming to grief in echoes of the old murder ballads, and another longer poem describes a hunter losing himself in the woods while pursuing an unknown and possibly unknowable quarry. Black Cat Bone introduces American readers to one of the best poets writing across the Atlantic.
Something Like Happy

Something Like Happy

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0224097032
Pages: 243
Year: 2013-01-01
In these remarkable stories, John Burnside takes us into the lives of men and women trapped in marriage, ensnared by drink, diminished by disappointment; all kinds of women, all kinds of men âe" lonely, unfaithful, dying âe" driving empty roads at night. These are people for whom the idea of âe~homeâe(tm) has become increasingly intangible, hard to believe âe" and happiness, or grace, or freedom, all now seem to belong in some kind of dream, or a fable they might have read in a children's picture book. As he says in one story, âe~All a man has is his work and his sense of himself, all the secret life he holds inside that nobody else can know.âe(tm) But in each of these normal, damaged lives, we are shown something extraordinary: a dogged belief in some kind of hope or beauty that flies in the face of all reason and is, as a result, both transfiguring and heart-rending. John Burnside is unique in contemporary British letters: he is one of our best living poets, but he is also a thrillingly talented writer of fiction. These exquisitely written pieces, each weighted so perfectly, opens up the whole wound of a life in one moment âe" and each of these twelve short stories carries the freight and density of a great novel.
Poor Things

Poor Things

Author: Alasdair Gray
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
ISBN: 1564783073
Pages: 317
Year: 1992
"The greatest Scottish novelist since Sir Walter Scott." Anthony Burgess
The Locust Room

The Locust Room

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448114187
Pages: 288
Year: 2011-11-30
Twenty five years ago, during the spring and summer of 1975, a rapist stalked the streets of Cambridge, attacking young, single women in their bed-sits and flats and subjecting them to horrifying and increasingly violent assaults. For several months the city endured a climate of fear and suspicion, where the old assumptions about sexual relations and civic decency fell into question, and no male could be taken at face value. These events for the background to The Locust Room, John Burnside's extraordinary new novel, in which a young photographer is forced by circumstances to examine his relations with women, with other men and with his family at home. Over one dramatic summer, he becomes involved in a series of sexual intrigues and acts of subtle violence as he journeys towards tentative self-definition and what he comes to see as honourable isolation. What emerges from this atmosphere of tension and terror is Burnside's finest novel so far; an exquisitely written, beautifully observed fiction - and a moving examination of the possibilities of male tenderness, individual autonomy and personal grace.
All One Breath

All One Breath

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448139910
Pages: 96
Year: 2014-02-06
Shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection ‘There are lines in All One Breath for instance, that brand themselves into your brain with the fire of painful recognition. And yet it is also part of his genius to be ever alert to beauty, too.’ - Sebastian Barry, a New Statesman Book of the Year In this absorbing, brilliant new collection – his first since Black Cat Bone – John Burnside examines our shared experience of this mortal world: how we are ‘all one breath’ and – with that breath – how we must strive towards the harmony of choir. Recognising that our attitudes to other creatures – human and non-human – cause too much damage and hurt, that ‘we’ve been going at this for years: / a steady delete / of anything that tells us what we are’, these poems celebrate the fleeting, charged moments where, through measured and gracious encounters with other lives, we find our true selves, and bring some brief, insubstantial goodness and beauty into being. He presents the world in a series of still lifes, in tableaux vivants and tableaux morts, in laboratory tests, anatomy lessons, in a Spiegelkabinett where the reflections in the mirrors, distorted as they seem, reveal buried truths. All the images are in some sense self-portraits: all are, in some way, elegies. One of the finest and most celebrated lyric poets at work today, John Burnside is a master of the moment – when the frames of our film seem to slow and stop and a life slips through the gap in between – and each poem here is a perfect, uncanny hymn to humanity, set down ‘to tell the lives of others’.
The Girl Who Couldn’t Read

The Girl Who Couldn’t Read

Author: John Harding
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
ISBN: 0007562101
Pages: 304
Year: 2014-08-28
A sinister Gothic tale in the tradition of The Woman in Black and The Fall of the House of Usher
Still Life with Feeding Snake

Still Life with Feeding Snake

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1473524040
Pages: 104
Year: 2017-02-02
From our earliest childhood experiences, we learn to see the world as contested space: a battleground between received ideas, entrenched conventions and myriad Authorised Versions on the one hand, and new discoveries, terrible dangers, and everyday miracles on the other. As we grow, that world expands further, to include new species, lost continents, the realm of the dead and the lives of others: cosmonauts swim in distant space, unseen creatures pass through a garden at dusk; we are surrounded by delectable mysteries. The question of this contested, liminal world sits at the centre of Still Life with Feeding Snake, whose poems live at the edge of loss, or on the cusp of epiphany, always seeking that brief instant of grace when we see what is before us, and not just what we expected to find. In ‘Approaching Sixty’, the poet watches as a woman unclasps her hair: ‘so the nape of her neck/is visible, slender and pale/for moments, before the spill/of light and russet/falls down to her waist’. This, like each poem in the book, becomes an essay in still life and a memento mori, illuminating transient experience with a profound clarity and a charged, sensual beauty.
A Lie About My Father

A Lie About My Father

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1409017095
Pages: 336
Year: 2010-08-31
A moving, unforgettable memoir of two lost men: a father and his child. He had his final heart attack in the Silver Band Club in Corby, somewhere between the bar and the cigarette machine. A foundling; a fantasist; a morose, threatening drinker who was quick with his hands, he hadn't seen his son for years. John Burnside's extraordinary story of this failed relationship is a beautifully written evocation of a lost and damaged world of childhood and the constants of his father's world: men defined by the drink they could take and the pain they could stand, men shaped by their guilt and machismo. A Lie About My Father is about forgiving but not forgetting, about examining the way men are made and how they fall apart, about understanding that in order to have a good son you must have a good father. Saltire Scottish Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom

Author: Jarvis Jay Masters
Publisher: BookBaby
ISBN: 1881847519
Pages: 179
Year: 1997-05-15
Finding Freedom is a deeply moving, life-affirming memoir written from the netherworld of San Quentin’s Death Row. Offering stories that are sometimes sad, funny, poignant, revelatory, frightening, soul-stirring, painful, and uplifting, Jarvis Masters traces his remarkable spiritual growth in an environment where despair and death are constant companions. His book is a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit and the talent of a fine writer. Masters' tales are a must-read pass to San Quentin when it was a Level IV (of four criminal/felony levels) prison and the inmates ran the blocks. His book is a word album of people and incidents on the yards, on the tiers and in the cells as races and cultures collide in a setting of despair and boredom. In one of his most powerful chapters, "Sanctuary," Masters enters the upper yard on his first day, facing down the stairs of the established cons as they inspect the "fish"; then the door slams on his 5 x 9' cell that will be his home for the rest of his life. The recidivists, the young parole violators who cycle through San Quentin on 90 day plus terms, generally for drug use, with little hope for treatment, jobs or housing on the outside, are the antagonists in many of his stories. And this brings us to the present. The California prison system and San Quentin are still largely populated by young parole violators, incarcerated for drug convictions or dry outs. These youngsters, unaware, ignorant or plainly apathetic about informal prison rules, seek to achieve the "OG" (Old Gangster) status of long time inmates through predatory violence. Masters writes of his frustrating attempts to cope with them at a time that Level IV inmates all mingled together. San Quentin is now a Level II prison, confining a gentler, generally nonviolent person within its massive perimeter, and Masters now is a practicing Buddhist, a transformation remarkably documented in the book's timeline "Three Strikes" laws and the huge campaign contributions of the CCPOA, the California prison guards' union, have lead to unparalleled growth in California's prison population with Lifers (2nd degree murder or kidnapping crimes) eligible for parole and violators routinely jammed together in every facility. California's Level IV violent cons are housed in Pelican Bay and other specially designated Security Housing Units (SHU), yet Masters' Death Row for men remains at San Quentin. And the timelessness of Masters' stories is reflected by the fact that Lifers still have the respect of almost all groups in the prison, while the California Governor fosters despair and hopelessness with an anti-parole stance. This book is an electrifying read if you have never been incarcerated. You can share Masters' gradual transformation from a mind-your-own-business, somewhat antisocial individual, to a compassionate prosocial inmate.
The Mountain Lion

The Mountain Lion

Author: Jean Stafford
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1466896604
Pages: 248
Year: 2017-04-04
Coming of age in pre-World War II California and Colorado brings tragedy to Molly and Ralph Fawcett in Jean Stafford's classic semi-autobiographical novel, The Mountain Lion, first published in 1947. Torn between their mother's world of genteel respectability and their grandfather's and uncle's world of cowboy masculinity, neither Molly nor Ralph can find an acceptable adult role to aspire to. As events move to their swift and inevitable conclusion, Stafford uncovers and indicts the social forces that require boys to sacrifice the feminine in order to become men and doom intelligent girls who aren't pretty.
The Mercy Boys

The Mercy Boys

Author: John Burnside
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1448130778
Pages: 272
Year: 2012-02-29
The Mercy Boys are four Dundee men who meet every day in their local pub and drink: first to find order, then oblivion. Each has his own ghosts, his dreams of escape. But when death comes to the Mercy Boys it comes suddenly and with staggering violence, and their dreams of leaving bleed into nightmares.
The Book Collector

The Book Collector

Author: Alice Thompson
Publisher:
ISBN: 1784630438
Pages: 224
Year: 2015-11-05
Alice Thompson's new novel is a Gothic story of book collecting, mutilation and madness. Violet is obsessed with the books of fairy tales her husband acquires, but her growing delusions see her confined in an asylum. As she recovers and is realead a terrifying series of events is unleashed.