The Paying Guests
'There came the splash of water and the rub of heels as Mrs Barber stepped into the tub. After that there was a silence, broken only by the occasional echoey plink of drips from the tap...'Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought,was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.' It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways.
And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be. This is vintage Sarah Waters: beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises. It is above all a wonderful, compelling story.
Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the 1870's , AFFINITY is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story, a complex and intriguing literary mystery and a poignant love story with an unexpected twist in the tale. Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prisons more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist - Selina Dawes. Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions.
A classic, brilliant and layered novel that has been at the heart of racial identity discourse in America for almost a century.
Clare Kendry leads a dangerous life. Fair, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a white man unaware of her African American heritage and has severed all ties to her past. Clare's childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, but refuses to acknowledge the racism that continues to constrict her family's happiness. A chance encounter forces both women to confront the lies they have told others - and the secret fears they have buried within themselves.
On Being Different
Originally published in 1971, Merle Miller's On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in the United States. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote a poignant essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled "What It Means To Be a Homosexual" in response to a homophobic article published in Harper's Magazine. Described as "the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade," the article was developed into the remarkable short book On Being Different - one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.
Merle Miller (1919-1986) was an editor at Harper's Magazine, Time and The Nation and was the bestselling author of several books, including the novel A Gay and Melancholy Sound and Plain Speaking, a biography of Harry S Truman.
Dan Savage is the internationally syndicated columnist of 'Savage Love' and the author of several books.
Charles Kaiser is an author, journalist and blogger. His books include 1968 in America and The Gay Metropolis.
HOWL AND OTHER POEMS
"Howl" is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955, published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled "Howl and Other Poems." Ginsberg began work on "Howl" as early as 1954. "Howl" is considered to be one of the great works of American literature. It came to be associated with the group of writers known as the Beat Generation, which included Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. There is no foundation to the myth that "Howl" was written as a performance piece and later published by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books. This myth was perpetuated by Ferlinghetti as part of the defense's case during the poem's obscenity trial, as detailed below. Upon the poem's release, Ferlinghetti and the bookstore's manager, Shigeyoshi Murao, were charged with disseminating obscene literature, and both were arrested. On October 3, 1957, Judge Clayton W. Horn ruled that the poem was not obscene. Poems include: Howl -- Footnote To Howl -- A Supermarket in California -- Transcription of Organ Music -- Sunflower Sutra -- America -- In the Baggage Room at Greyhound ; Earlier Poems: An Asphodel -- Song -- Wild Orphan -- In Back of the Real.
The World Unseen
In the pressure cooker of apartheid South Africa, two women meet and their worlds are turned upside down. Miriam is a traditional Indian mother - hardworking and self-effacing. Amina breaks all the rules by driving a taxi and setting up a cafe with a local black man. In the face of outraged disapproval, their friendship flourishes. But the price, for Miriam, is the discovery of impossible truths about her marriage. In a system that divides white from black, black from Asian and the women from men, what chance is there for an unexpected love to survive?