2016: A Year in Books for Adults

2016-in-review

 

It’s been a difficult year for many, but Alma’s 2016 has gone from strength to strength… Below is a round-up of the publishers’ favourite projects from this year, highlighting the diverse nature of our publishing ethos with a hefty amount of literature in translation.

(See also A Year in Books for Children)

 

 

January

9781847495815

A Game of Chess and Other Stories

When it is discovered that the reigning world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, is on board a cruiser heading for Buenos Aires, a fellow passenger challenges him to a game. Czentovic easily defeats him, but during the rematch a mysterious Austrian, Dr B., intervenes and, to the surprise of everyone, helps the underdog obtain a draw. When, the next day, Dr B. confides in a compatriot travelling on the same ship and decides to reveal the harrowing secret behind his formidable chess knowledge, a chilling tale of imprisonment and psychological torment unfolds.

RRP: £4.99 £3.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

February

9781847494726

Diaboliad

In Bulgakov’s ‘Diaboliad’, the modest and unassuming office clerk Korotkov is summarily sacked for a trifling error from his job at the Main Central Depot of Match Materials and tries to seek out his newly assigned superior, responsible for his dismissal. His quest through the labyrinth of Soviet bureaucracy takes on the increasingly surreal dimensions of a nightmare.

This early satirical story, reminiscent of Gogol and Dostoevsky, was first published in 1924 and incurred the wrath of pro-Soviet critics. Along with the three other stories in this volume, which also explore the themes of the absurd and bizarre, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the artistic development of the author of The Master and Margarita.

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

March

9781847495822

Journey by Moonlight

Travelling to Italy on their honeymoon, Erszi and Mihály are ready to take in all the beauties and pleasures of the country. But when they reach Venice, it is clear that Mihály prefers to roam around the back alleys and the canals on his own, and as they continue their journey through the Bel Paese there is a growing sense of unrest between them, until Mihály misses the train to Rome they were due to take together. Wandering alone from city to city, with his marriage rapidly falling apart, Mihály must confront the ghosts of his past and try to find a sense of purpose.

Originally written in 1937, and here presented in a brilliant new translation by Peter V. Czipott, Antal Szerb’s gently humorous and psychologically subtle exploration into the workings of a budding bourgeois marriage has been hailed as one of the great rediscovered classics of the twentieth century.

RRP: £4.99 £3.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

April

9781847495754

The Portrait of a Lady

Having travelled from her native New York to London to meet her relatives, Isabel Archer, a young, independently minded young woman, rejects the marriage proposals of two suitors in her determination to stay in control of her destiny. When she suddenly comes into a large legacy, Isabel believes that this windfall will finally ensure the freedom that she yearns for and embarks on an exhilarating journey through France and Italy, only to find her endeavours thwarted by the sinister plotting of some of her acquaintances.

Considered by many to be Henry James’s finest novel, The Portrait of a Lady is a subtle examination of Victorian society and power relations, providing a groundbreaking psychological study of its protagonist. This volume is based on the authoritative New York Edition, and includes the author’s seminal preface.

RRP: £4.99 £3.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

May

9781846883767

The Tower

Amman, Jordan. As an ambitious digitization project gathers pace in a vast building outside Amman, some unpublished writings by Giordano Bruno – flawed genius of the late Renaissance, renegade philosopher, occultist with a prodigious memory – disappear together with the Jesuit priest sent by the Vatican to study them.

When the priest is found dead and a series of mysterious threats ensues, it becomes clear that the stakes are high for all the parties openly or covertly involved. What dangerous ideas were contained in the stolen manuscript? What was the ultimate secret that Bruno tried to hide, even as he was persecuted, imprisoned and tortured by the Holy Inquisition?

In this riveting, meticulously researched new novel, Alessandro Gallenzi draws on his experience as a publisher in the digital era and casts a light on the darker side of our modern technological world, while revealing how a well-kept secret can change the course of history for ever.

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

June

9781846883774

Selected Writings

Available for the first time in an English translation, this selection gives non-Francophone readers the chance to encounter the many incarnations of renowned Belgian painter René Magritte – the artist, the man, the aspiring noirist, the fire-breathing theorist – in his own words. Through whimsical personal letters, biting apologia, appreciations of fellow artists, pugnacious interviews, farcical film scripts, prose poems, manifestos and much more, a new Magritte emerges: part Surrealist, part literalist, part celebrity, part rascal.

While this book is bound to appeal to admirers of Magritte’s art and those who are curious about his personal life, there is also much to delight all readers interested in the history and theory of art, philosophy and politics, as well as lovers of creativity and the inner workings of a probing, inquisitive mind unrestricted by genre, medium or fashion.

RRP: £20.00 £16.00

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

July

9781846883941

Desire for Chocolate

Three women, three centuries and the same porcelain chocolate pot: Sara, the scion of a dynasty of chocolatiers from Barcelona, who prides herself on maintaining the family tradition; Aurora, the daughter of a nineteenth-century maidservant, for whom chocolate is a forbidden luxury; Mariana, the wife of a famous seventeenth-century chocolate manufacturer, an official purveyor to the French court and the inventor of a revolutionary chocolate mill.

In Desire for Chocolate, Care Santos takes us on a spellbinding journey, masterfully juxtaposing the destinies of her protagonists, chronicling the history of our favourite confection and exploring Europe’s changing social norms. Luscious and addictive, this novel will delight the reader’s senses from start to finish.

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

August

9781847495891

Night Flight

Under the pressure of his boss, the intransigent Rivière, the airmail pilot Fabien attempts a perilous flight during a heavy night-time thunderstorm in Argentina. As conditions get worse and the radio communication with Fabien becomes increasingly difficult, Rivière begins to question his uncompromising methods, and his distress turns to guilt when the pilot’s wife comes to find him in search of answers.

Based on Saint-Exupéry’s own experiences as a commercial pilot, Night Flight is a haunting and lyrical examination of duty, destiny and the individual, as well as an authentic and tragic portrayal of the intrepid early days of human air travel.

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

September

9781846884122

Silent Music

Growing up in London in the aftermath of the Second World War, Ruth is an observant and thoughtful child who finds herself in a confusing and mysterious adult world. She seeks refuge in her memories of her idyllic stays with her grandparents in the picturesque East Anglian countryside – which provide comforting visions of a simpler life. As she comes to terms with her surroundings and her own adolescence, Ruth finds the motivation to pursue her dream of becoming an accomplished pianist, and discovers some family secrets along the way.

A coming-of-age novel about the unpredictable nature of human behaviour and about taking control of one’s destiny, Silent Music is a timeless portrait of post-war Britain, as well as a lyrical paean to hope and aspiration.

RRP: £9.99 £7.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

October

9781847496140

The Great Gatsby (Evergreens edition)

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.

Regarded as Fitzgerald’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a vivid chronicle of the excesses and decadence of the “Jazz Age”, as well as a timeless cautionary critique of the American dream.

RRP: £4.99 £3.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

November

9781847495761

A Hero of Our Time

On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity.

Causing an uproar in Russia when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov’s brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism – accompanied here by the unfinished novel Princess Ligovskaya – remains compelling to this day.

RRP: £4.99 £3.99

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

December

9781847495907

A Nest of the Gentry

Coming back to the “nest” of his family home in Russia after years of fruitless endeavours away from his roots, Lavretsky decides to turn his back on the vacuous salons of Paris and his frivolous and unfaithful wife Varvara Pavlovna. On his return he meets Liza, the daughter of one of his cousins, whom he had known when they were children and who rekindles in him long-smothered feelings of love. News of Varvara’s death arrive from France, offering Lavretsky the prospect of a new life, but a cruel twist threatens to shatter his dreams and forces him to re-evaluate his plans.

Hailed as a masterpiece of Russian literature, A Nest of the Gentry, Turgenev’s most successful and widely read novel – here presented in a new translation by Michael Pursglove – deals with the personal struggles of the individual in a period of turbulent social change.

RRP: £7.99 £6.39

buy-button-blue

 

 

 

(See also A Year in Books for Children)