John Banville is an Irish novelist and screenwriter born in 1945. He sometimes writes under the pseudonym Benjamin Black. His eighteenth novel, The Sea, won the Man Booker Prize in 2005. Banville is known for the dark humor of his arch narrators and his cold, inventive prose style. In this novel, Banville's main character is Max Morden, an art historian, who has recently suffered the demise of his beloved wife Anna. It is a journey back down the earliest roadways and alleys of Max's memory. Intertwined within this story are Max’s memories of his wife, Anna and of their life together; his relationship with his grown daughter, Claire, who is desperate to pull him from his grief; and with the other boarders at the house where he is staying, where the past beats inside him “like a second heart.” John Banville, famous for his poetic language, now gives us a uniquely reflective novel about loss, love and the transfiguring power of memory. ...
Written in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be one of the author’s greatest works. Set in New York City and Long Island during the Roaring Twenties, the focus of the story is (of course) its title character, Jay Gatsby, and his unswerving desire to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. However, Nick Carraway, who happens to be both Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, narrates Gatsby's journey from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death. The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of the greatest American literary documents of the 1920s, the decade for which Fitzgerald himself coined the term “Jazz Age.” However, in writing the book, Fitzgerald was in fact holding up a mirror to the society of which he was a part. In true Modernist fashion, The Great Gatsby addresses the social issues of the period — namely materialism and displaced spirituality — that ultimately led the decline of the era. The novel’s initial sales situation was less than impressive; fewer than 25,000 copies were sold by Fitzgerald’s death in 1940. But The Great Gatsby gained great popularity during WWII as the critical mainstream began to embrace the author’s work. The Armed Services Editions circulated 150,000 copies to troops alone. Today, The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide, sells an additional 500,000 copies annually, and is Scribner's most popular title. Ranked #2 on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the novel is also listed on their Top 100 Novels as well as The Observer’s All-Time 100 Best Novels and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Modern Novels. The Great Gatsby has resulted in a number of adaptations, including Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. ...
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The Beat Generation was born out of WWII, and it still continues to exert considerable influence on today's literary scene. Biblio sellers have a fantastic collection of Beat Generation books and ephemera for browsing.
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