Alma Classics – now available as eBooks

We are slowly making our classics available as eBooks, and the first in the new eBook series are below – available through all the major eBook retailers, including Amazon’s kindleApple’s iBooksKobo, and many more besides.

 

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The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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.

eBook ISBN 9781847493354

 

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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Franz Kafka

When the young salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning transformed into a monstrous insect, his shock and incomprehension are coupled with the panic of being late for work and having to reveal his appearance to family and colleagues. Although over the following weeks he gradually becomes used to this new existence confined within the bounds of the apartment, and his parents and sister adapt to living with a grotesque bug, Gregor notices that their attitudes towards him are changing and he feels increasingly alienated.

One of the masterpieces of twentieth-century world literature, ‘The Metamorphosis’ is accompanied in this volume by a selection of other classic tales and sketches by Kafka – such as ‘The Judgement’, ‘In the Penal Colony’ and ‘A Country Doctor’ – all presented in a lively and meticulous new translation by Christopher Moncrieff.

eBook ISBN 9781847493965

 

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Exercises in Style

Raymond Queneau

On a crowded bus at midday, the narrator observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man takes it. Later, in another part of town, the man is spotted again, while being advised by a friend to have another button sewn onto his overcoat.

Exercises in Style retells this apparently unremarkable tale ninety-nine times, employing a variety of styles, ranging from sonnet to cockney to mathematical formula. Too funny to be merely a pedantic thesis, this virtuoso set of themes and variations is a linguistic rust-remover, a guide to literary forms and a demonstration of imagery and inventiveness.

eBook ISBN 9781846884245

 

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The Theatre and Its Double

Antonin Artaud

First published in 1938, The Theatre and Its Double is a collection of essays detailing Antonin Artaud’s radical theories on drama, which he saw as being stifled by conservatism and lack of experimentation. It contains the famous manifestos of the ‘Theatre of Cruelty’, analyses the underlying impulses of performance, provides some suggestions on a physical training method for actors and actresses, and features a long appreciation of the expressive values of eastern dance drama. Also included is ‘Seraphim’s Theatre’, in which Artaud attempts an actor’s application of the Taoist principles of fullness and emptiness.

This groundbreaking text is widely read throughout the world for the beauty of its style and as a source of inspiration for new drama, and will appeal to those in search of the essence of theatre.

eBook ISBN 9781847494252

 

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Pushkin Hills

Sergei Dovlatov

An unsuccessful writer and an inveterate alcoholic, Boris Alikhanov is running out of money and has recently divorced from his wife Tatyana, who intends to emigrate to the West with their daughter Masha. The prospect of a summer job as a tourist guide at the Pushkin Hills preserve offers him hope of bringing back some balance into his existence, but during his stay in the rural estate of Mikhaylovskoye, Alikhanov’s life continues to unravel.

Populated with unforgettable characters, such as Alikhanov’s fellow guides Mitrofanov and Pototsky and the KGB officer Belyaev, and presented here for the first time in the English language, Pushkin Hills is arguably Dovlatov’s most personal work and a poignant portrayal of the Russian attitude towards life and art.

eBook ISBN 9781847493569


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The Ladies’ Paradise

Émile Zola

Recently adapted for BBC1’s lavish production The Paradise

Encapsulating, with luxurious detail, the phenomenon of consumer society‚ obsessed with image, fashion and instant gratification‚ The Ladies’ Paradise depicts the growth of capitalism through the workings of a new economic entity, the department store. The novel centres around the story of the young Denise, who is seeking work in Paris, and Octave Mouret, the aspirational director of the shopping emporium.

Set in the heart of the city, Zola’s novel evokes the giddy pace of Paris’s transition into a modern city and the changes in sexual attitudes and class relations taking place at the end of the century.

eBook ISBN 9781847493149

 

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The Double

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Constantly rebuffed from the social circles he aspires to frequent, the timid clerk Golyadkin is confronted by the sudden appearance of his double, a more brazen, confident and socially successful version of himself, who abuses and victimizes the original. As he is increasingly persecuted, Golyadkin finds his social, romantic and professional life unravelling, in a spiral that leads to a catastrophic denouement.

The Double, Dostoevsky’s second published work of fiction, which foreshadows in its themes many of his mature novels, is the surreal and hallucinatory tale of an unfortunate anti-hero, at once chilling in its depiction of the dark sides of human nature and exuberantly comical.

eBook ISBN 9781847493910

 

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Young Adam

Alexander Trocchi

Set on a canal linking Glasgow and Edinburgh, Young Adam is the masterly literary debut by one of the most important British post-war novelists.

Trocchi’s narrator is an outsider, a drifter working for the skipper of a barge. Together they discover a young woman’s corpse floating in the canal, and tensions increase further in cramped confines with the narrator’s highly charged seduction of the skipper’s wife. Conventional morality and the objective meaning of events are stripped away in a work that proves compulsively readable.

eBook ISBN 9781847493590

 

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Cain’s Book

Alexander Trocchi

Written in America while Trocchi was working on a scow on the Hudson River, Cain’s Book is an extraordinary autobiographical account about a junky’s life, and an honest, raunchy, eye-opening trip through hell.

Probably the most famous novel about drug addiction and the hazards and excitements of an addict’s life after Burrough’s Naked Lunch, this modern classic – which was prosecuted in Britain for obscenity in 1965 – still shocks in its frankness and is relevant to this day.

eBook ISBN 9781847493606

 

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Childhood Memories and Other Stories

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of one of the most poignant and enduringly popular novels of the twentieth century, left only a few other pieces of fiction when he died prematurely at the age of sixty. Childhood Memories and Other Stories, here presented in a new translation by Stephen Parkin and including previously deleted passages and the unpublished fragment ‘Torretta’, collects all of Lampedusa’s extant shorter fiction and provides a revealing glimpse into the writer’s workshop and the background to the composition of his masterpiece.

From the atmospheric recollections of the Palazzo Lampedusa and the Palazzo Filangeri Cutò at the turn of the twentieth century in ‘Childhood Memories’ to the delightful fable ‘The Siren’, from the gently humorous, bitter­sweet tones of ‘Joy and the Law’ to ‘The Blind Kittens’ – the first chapter of what was intended to be a sequel to The Leopard – this volume showcases Lampedusa’s unparalleled ob­ser­vational powers and narrative skills.

eBook ISBN 9781847493392

 

 

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The Story of a Nobody

Anton Chekhov

A secret terrorist group infiltrates the household of a government official’s son, with a view to spying on the father and, ultimately, assassinating him. But the young man entrusted with the task – an ailing, world-weary “nobody” – seized with the purposelessness of life and a sense of his own impending death, gradually becomes disillusioned with his mission, and decides to embark on a new path which will lead him to tragedy.

Combining psychological detail with a strong sense of place and time, The Story of a Nobody bears all the hallmarks of Chekhov’s genius, and perfectly captures the political and social tensions of its day.

eBook ISBN 9781847493958

 

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Diaries and Selected Letters

Mikhail Bulgakov

The career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of Master and Margarita – now regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century literature – was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diary was seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his friends and family, as well as to public figures such as Stalin and his fellow Soviet writer Gorky, while also encouraging his wife Yelena to keep a diary, with many entries influenced or even dictated by him.

This ample selection from the diaries and letters of the Bulgakovs, mostly translated for the first time into English, provides an insightful glimpse into a fascinating period of Russian history and literature, telling the tragic tale of the fate of an artist under a totalitarian regime.

eBook ISBN 9781847493385


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Notes on a Cuff

Mikhail Bulgakov

Begun in 1920 while Bulgakov was employed in a hospital in the remote Caucasian outpost of Vladikavkaz, and continued when he started working for a government literary department in Moscow, Notes on a Cuff is a series of journalistic sketches which show the young doctor trying to embark on a literary career among the chaos of war, disease, politics and bureaucracy.

Stylistically brilliant and brimming with humour and literary allusion, Notes on a Cuff is presented here in a new translation, along with a collection of other short pieces by Bulgakov, many of them – such as ‘The Cockroach’ and ‘A Dissolute Man’ – published for the first time in the English language.

eBook ISBN 9781847493880

 

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The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov

Russia’s literary world is shaken to its foundations when a mysterious gentleman – a professor of black magic – arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a bizarre retinue of servants. It soon becomes clear that he is the Devil himself, come to wreak havoc among the cultural elite of a disbelieving capital. But the Devil’s mission quickly becomes entangled with the fate of the Master – a man who has turned his back on his former life and taken refuge in a lunatic asylum – and his past lover, Margarita.

Both a satirical romp and a daring analysis of the nature of good and evil, innocence and guilt, The Master and Margarita is the crowning achievement of one of the greatest Russian writers of the twentieth century.

eBook ISBN 9781847493927

 

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The Fatal Eggs

Mikhail Bulgakov

Professor Persikov, an eccentric zoologist, stumbles upon a new light ray that accelerates growth and reproduction rates in living organisms. In the wake of a plague that has decimated the country’s poultry stocks, Persikov’s discovery is exploited as a means to correct the problem. As foreign agents, the state and the Soviet media all seize upon the red ray, matters get out of hand…

Set in 1928 but written four years earlier, during Stalin’s rise to power, The Fatal Eggs is both an early piece of science fiction reminiscent of H.G. Wells and a biting, brilliant satire on the consequences of the abuse of power and knowledge.

eBook ISBN 9781847493934

 

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A Young Doctor’s Notebook

Mikhail Bulgakov

Now adapted into a new series on Sky Arts starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe

“The perverse inability of we humans to learn from our mistakes is what beats at the black heart of A Young Doctor’s Notebook (Sky Arts 1)” Metro

In this collection of short stories, drawing heavily from the author’s own experiences as a medical graduate on the eve of the Russian Revolution, Bulgakov describes a young doctor’s turbulent and often brutal introduction to his practice in the backward village of Muryovo.

Using a sharply realistic and humorous style, Bulgakov reveals his doubts about his own competence and the immense burden of responsibility, as he deals with a superstitious and poorly educated people struggling to enter the modern age. This acclaimed collection contains some of Bulgakov’s most personal and insightful observations on youth, isolation and progress.

This edition also includes the famous piece ‘Morphine’ by Bulgakov.

eBook ISBN 9781847493156


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Journey to the End of the Night

Louis-Ferdinand Céline

First published in 1932, Journey to the End of the Night was immediately acclaimed as a masterpiece and a turning point in French literature. Told in the first person by Céline’s fictional alter ego Bardamu, the novel is loosely based on the author’s own experiences during the First World War, in French colonial Africa, in the USA and, later, as a young doctor in a working-class suburb in Paris.

Céline’s disgust with human folly, malice, greed and the chaotic state in which man has left society lies behind the bitterness that distinguishes his idiosyncratic, colloquial and visionary writing and gives it its force.

eBook ISBN 9781847493101

 

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