Synopses & Reviews
"Drabbles England is as intricate as Dickenss, her characters as headstrong as Austens, the morals at stake entirely Waughian, her powers of observation positively Woolf ." —Washington Post
An extraordinary blend of memoir, history, and the strange delights of puzzling, The Pattern in the Carpet
weaves prolific novelist Margaret Drabbles memories into a fascinating, and singular, survey of games and jigsaws, pastimes that have offered her relief from melancholy and depression throughout the years. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaws, Drabble introduces us to her remarkable Auntie Phyl—recounting their travels, the books they read, the jigsaws they completed—and offers penetrating insight into the importance of childhood play, into art and writing, and into aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a journey like no other.
"Unlike anything else in the bookstore." —Christian Science Monitor "Fascinating." —Boston Globe Margaret Drabble is the author of The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needles Eye, among other novels. She is the editor of the fifth and sixth editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.
The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws is an original and brilliant work. Margaret Drabble weaves her own story into a history of games, in particular jigsaws, which have offered her and many others relief from melancholy and depression. Alongside curious facts and discoveries about jigsaw puzzlesdid you know that the 1929 stock market crash was followed by a boom in puzzle sales?Drabble introduces us to her beloved Auntie Phyl, and describes childhood visits to the house in Long Bennington on the Great North Road, their first trip to London together, the books they read, and the jigsaws they completed. She offers penetrating sketches of her parents, siblings, and children, and shares her thoughts on the importance of childhood play, on art and writing, and on aging and memory. And she does so with her customary intelligence, energy, and wit. This is a memoir like no other.
A beautifully written and deeply personal book, a mix of memoir, jigsaw history, and the strange delights of puzzling.
A posthumously published collection of short stories that span the breadth of Italo Calvino's career.
“Everybody telephones everybody at every possible moment, and nobody can speak to anybody . . . Distance has been the warp that supports the weft of every love story.” — from Numbers in the Dark
Written between 1943 and 1984, the stories in Numbers in the Dark span the career of one of fiction’s modern masters: from Italo Calvino’s earliest fables, to tales informed by life in World War II–era Italy, to the delightful experimentation that would define his later work. Here are speculative stories on life in the digital age, genre-bending wonders, and “impossible interviews” with the likes of Montezuma and a Neanderthal. Deftly translated by Tim Parks, Numbers in the Dark shows off Calvino’s lifelong gift for subtle humor and shimmering philosophical insight.
“Numbers in the Dark is a glorious grab-bag . . . [with] enough gems from every phase in Calvino’s career to make it feel indispensable.” — Seattle Times
The first complete English-language edition of one of Calvino's important early short story collections.
“Calvino . . . managed effortlessly what no author in English could quite claim: his novels and stories and fables were both classically modernist and giddily postmodern, embracing both experiment and tradition, at once conceptual and humane, intimate and mythic.” — Jonathan Lethem, New York Times Book Review
Blending reality and illusion with elegance and precision, the stories in this collection take place in a World War II–era and postwar Italy tinged with the visionary and fablelike qualities. A trio of gluttonous burglars invades a pastry shop; two children trespass upon a forbidden garden; a wealthy family invites a rustic goatherd to lunch, only to mock him. In the title story, a compact masterpiece of shifting perspectives, a panicked soldier tries to keep his wits—and his life—when he faces off against a young partisan with a loaded rifle and miraculous aim.
Select stories from Last Comes the Raven have been published in translation, but the collection as a whole has never appeared in English. This volume, including several stories newly translated by Ann Goldstein, is an important addition to Calvino’s legacy.
About the Author
ITALO CALVINO’s superb storytelling gifts earned him international renown and a reputation as “one of the world's best fabulists” (New York Times Book Review). He is the author of numerous works of fiction, as well as essays, criticism, and literary anthologies. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino was raised in Italy, where he lived most of his life. At the time of his death, in Siena in 1985, he was the most translated contemporary Italian writer.