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Essential Stories Series

Found in Literary Fiction
Fresh angles on classic stories from around the globe: new selections and new translations of the world’s greatest authors.
Of Sunshine and Bedbugs by Isaac Babel
Latest in the Series

Of Sunshine and Bedbugs

Book 12
Paperback $18

Essential Stories Series : Titles in Order

Book 14
A stunning new collection featuring fresh translations of Bruno Schulz’s 15 most captivating short stories, in a beautiful Pushkin Collection edition

Includes a new translation of a recently discovered story, believed to be the first-ever published work by this legendary cult writer

The stories in this collection are rich, tangled, and suffused with mystery and wonder. In the narrowing, winding city streets, strange figures roam. Great flocks of birds soar over rooftops, obscuring the sun. Cockroaches appear through cracks and scuttle across floorboards. Individuals careen from university buildings to dimly lit parlour rooms, through strange shops and endless storms.

Crowded with moments of stunning beauty, the 15 stories in his collection showcases Schulz’s darkly modern sensibility, and his essential status as one of the great transformers of the ordinary into the fantastical:
August, A Visitation, Birds, Pan, Cinnamon Shops, The Street of Crocodiles, Cockroaches, The Gale, The Night of the Great Season (from Cinnamon Shops)The Book, The Age of Genius, A July Night, My Father Joins the Firefighters, Father’s Final Escape (from Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass)Undula–a new translation of Schulz’s recently discovered first published story
Book 13
Enchanting, fresh translations of the finest stories by Brazil’s greatest writer and author of short stories, cited as the greatest black writer in Western literature

“Machado de Assis showed the human comedy is the same everywhere, and in conflicts between man and society, society usually wins.”  –The New Yorker

Machado de Assis is one of the most enigmatic and fascinating story writers who ever lived. What appear at first to be stately social satires reveal unanticipated depths through flashes of darkness and winking surrealism. This new selection of his finest work, translated by the prize-winning Daniel Hahn, showcases the many facets of his mercurial genius.

A brilliant scientist opens the first asylum in his home town, only to start finding signs of insanity all around him. A young lieutenant basks in praise, but in solitude feels his identity fray into nothing. The reading of a much-loved elder statesman’s journals reveals hidden thoughts of merciless cruelty.
 
This beautiful new collection of fresh translations offers the perfect gathering of his most beloved stories:
The Fortune-TellerThe Posthumous Portrait GalleryThe LoanThe Tale of the CabrioletThe StickThe Secret CauseThe Canon, or Metaphysics of StyleThe AlienistThe Looking-GlassMidnight Mass
Book 12
A new selection of Isaac Babel’s 26 most vital and beautiful stories, in acclaimed translations by Boris Dralyuk

Isaac Babel honed one of the most distinctive styles in all Russian literature. Brashly conversational one moment, dreamily lyrical the next, his stories exult in the richness of everyday speech and sensual pleasure only to be shaken by brutal jolts of violence.

These stories take us from the underworld of Babel’s native Odessa, city of gangsters and lowlives, of drunken brawls and bleeding sunsets, to the terror and absurdity of life as a soldier in the Polish-Soviet War.
 
Selected and translated by the prize-winning Boris Dralyuk, this collection captures the irreverence, passion and coarse beauty of Babel’s singular voice.
Book 11
A stunning new edition featuring fresh translations of six of this classic Russian writer’s most thrilling short stories in a beautiful Pushkin Collection edition.

This vivid collection of new translations by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater illuminates Dostoevsky’s dazzling versatility as a writer.
 
His remarkable short fiction swings from wickedly sharp humour to gripping psychological intensity, from cynical social mockery to moments of unexpected tenderness.
 
The stories in this collection range from impossible fantasy to scorching satire.
A civil servant finds a new passion for his work when he’s swallowed alive by a crocodile. A struggling writer stumbles on a cemetery where the dead still talk to each other.An arrogant but well-intentioned gentleman provokes an uproar at an aide’s wedding, and in the marital bed.A young boy finds unexpected salvation on a cold and desolate Christmas Eve.
Book 10
A new selection of Melville’s darkest and most enthralling stories in a beautiful Pushkin Collection edition
 
Includes “Bartleby, the Scrivener”, “Benito Cereno” and “The Lightning-Rod Man”

A lawyer hires a new copyist, only to be met with stubborn, confounding resistance. A nameless guide discovers hidden worlds of luxury and bleak exploitation. After boarding a beleaguered Spanish slave ship, an American trader’s cheerful outlook is repeatedly shadowed by paralyzing unease.

In these stories of the surreal mundanity of office life and obscure tensions at sea, Melville’s darkly modern sensibility plunges us into a world of irony and mystery, where nothing is as it first appears.
Book 9
A beguiling new selection of Katherine Mansfield’s finest stories, focused on her mysterious, complex portrayals of relationships between women

Katherine Mansfield was one of the true pioneers of the short story. Her style shifts subtly between the comic and the tragic, as calm surfaces are punctured by moments of disruption, insight and strange beauty.

This new collection gathers together the best of Mansfield’s work exploring different facets of relationships between women. From complex expressions of desire and connection to shared experiences of frustration and release, these stories capture fleeting movements of feeling with unmatched precision.
Book 8
A dazzling new collection of Pushkin’s fiction, in definitive translations by the acclaimed Anthony Briggs

As complex as they are gripping, Pushkin’s stories are some of the greatest and most influential ever written. Foundational to the development of Russian prose, they retain stunning freshness and clarity, more than ever in Anthony Briggs’s finely nuanced translations.

These are stories that upend expectations at every turn: in ‘The Captain’s Daughter’, Pushkin’s masterful novella of love and rebellion set during the reign of Catherine the Great, a mysterious encounter proves fatally significant during a brutal uprising, while in ‘The Queen of Spades’ a man obsessively pursues an elderly woman’s secret for success at cards, with bizarre results.
Book 7
A stylishly original collection of seven newly translated stories from the iconic Japanese writer

The stories in this fantastical, unconventional collection are subtly wrought depictions of the darkness of our desires. From an isolated bamboo grove, to a lantern festival in Tokyo, to the Emperor’s court, they offer glimpses into moments of madness, murder, and obsession. Vividly translated by Bryan Karetnyk, they unfold in elegant, sometimes laconic, always gripping prose.

Akutagawa’s stories are characterised by their stylish originality; they are stories to be read again and again.
Book 6
Fresh, stylish new translations of Gogol’s greatest short stories collected in a beautiful edition

Admired by writers from Nabokov to Bulgakov to George Saunders, Gogol is considered one of the more enigmatic of the Russian greats. He only wrote one novel, Dead Souls, and destroyed much of his later work, so his stories constitute his major output.

In this collection, beautifully and skilfully translated by Oliver Ready, Gogol’s three greatest St Petersburg stories – ‘The Nose’, ‘The Overcoat’ and ‘The Diary of a Madman’ – are presented alongside three masterworks set in the Ukrainian and Russian provinces, demonstrating the breadth of Gogol’s work.

Gogol’s extraordinary work is characterised by his idiosyncratic and often very funny sensibility, and these stories offer us his unique, original and marvellously skewed perspective on the world.
Book 5
From the most romantic of the Russian greats, an enthralling selection of short stories and novellas

An icon of Russian literature, Turgenev was able to contain the narrative sweep of a novel in a single short story. His protagonists experience the joy and painful turbulence of first love, the thrilling adventures of youth, and the layered reflections of maturity. His great skill is to make his readers feel alongside these characters, rendering their complex interiorities, whether nobility or serf, in these stories charged with a profound social conscience.

This collection, in a lyrical new translation by Nicolas Slater, places Turgenev’s great novella First Love alongside a selection of his classic stories. From the evocative rural scenes of ‘Bezhin Meadow’ and ‘Rattling Wheels’, to the pathos and humanity of ‘The District Doctor’ and ‘Biryuk’, these are stories to be lingered over.
Book 4
New translations of the six greatest short stories by Joseph Roth, collected in a beautiful edition

Joseph Roth’s sensibility–both clear-eyed and nostalgic, harshly realistic and tenderly humane–produced some of the most distinctive fiction of the twentieth century. This collection of his most essential stories, in exquisite new translations by Ruth Martin, showcases the astonishing range and power of his short stories and novellas.

In prose of aching beauty and precision, Roth shows us isolated souls pursuing lost ideals and impossible desires. Forced to remove a bust of the fallen Austrian emperor from his house, an eccentric old count holds a funeral for it and intends to be buried in the same plot himself; a humble coral merchant, dissatisfied with his life and longing for the sea, chooses to adulterate his wares with false coral, with catastrophic results; young Fini, just entering the haze of early sexuality, falls into an unsatisfying relationship with an older musician. With the greatest craft and sensitivity, Roth unfolds the many fragilities of the human heart.
Book 3
Fresh translations of Tolstoy’s four richest shorter works by the award-winning Boris Dralyuk

Tolstoy’s stories contain many of the most acutely observed moments in his monumental body of work. This new selection of his shorter works, sensitively translated by the award-winning Boris Dralyuk, showcases the peerless economy with which Tolstoy could render the passions and conflicts of a life.

These are works that take us from a self-interested judge’s agonising deathbed to the bristling social world of horses in a stable yard, from the joyful vanity of youth to the painful doubts of sickness and old age. With unwavering precision, Tolstoy’s eye brings clarity and richness to the simplest materials.
Book 2
New translations of the best stories by the one of the twentieth century’s greatest and most influential writers

Kafka, whose name has generated an adjective, is one of the best loved writers of the twentieth century. Known for his dark, enigmatic stories, for the absurd nightmares he depicts, his extraordinary imaginative depth is clear in stories from ‘A Hunger Artist’ to ‘The Verdict’.
But Kafka also wrote fizzingly funny, fresh stories, and The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man contains all the aspects of this genius: the wit and the grit; the horror and the humour; the longing and the laughing. They range from bizarre, two-sentence stories about Don Quixote to the famous brutal depiction of violence and justice that is ‘In the Penal Colony’.
In a nimble new translation by the acclaimed Alexander Starritt, this collection of Kafka’s essential stories shows the genius at his very best.
Book 1
A beautiful collection of classic Russian short stories by “the greatest short story writer who has ever lived” (Raymond Chandler)

Without doubt one of the greatest observers of human nature in all its messy complexity, Chekhov’s short stories are exquisite masterpieces in miniature. His work ranged from the light-hearted comic tales of his early years to some of the most achingly profound stories ever composed, and this variety of tone and temper is collected in this essential new collection.

Chekhov wrote stories throughout his writing career, and this selection has been chosen from amongst his life’s work, including many of his greatest works, alongside unfamiliar discoveries, all newly translated. From the masterpiece of minimalism “The Beauties”, to the beloved classic “The Lady with the Little Dog”, and from “Rothschild’s Fiddle” to bitterly funny “A Living Chronicle”, the stories collected here are the essential collection of Chekhov’s greatest tales.

CONTENTS:
The Beauties (1888)
The Man in a Box (1898)
A Day in the Country (1886)
A Blunder (1886)
About Love (1898)
Grief (1886)
The Bet (1889)
A Misfortune (1886)
Sergeant Prishibeyev (1885)
The Lady with the Little Dog (1899)
The Huntsman (1885)
The Privy Councillor (1886)
The Kiss (1887)

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