Melville House Digital

  • The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll’s classic masterpiece of nonsense verse, takes the reader on a wonderfully witty and inventive hunt for the ever-elusive Snark. The tantalizing mysteries of the poem are here perfectly matched in these brilliant new illustrations by artist Mahendra Singh, who has created a visual treasure hunt, full of riddles, puns, and allusions.
    When asked what his poem meant, Carroll would always reply that he did not know. But, on one occasion, he did write to friends that perhaps “…the whole book is an allegory on the search for happiness.”
    “To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
    To pursue it with forks and hope,
    To threaten its life with a railway-share;
    To charm it with smiles and soap!”

  • Hailed by Jean Cocteau as a "masterpiece," and by the Guardian as "Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero, avant la lettre," this taut tale written by a teenager in the form of a frank "confession" is a gem of early twentieth century romanticism. Long unavailable in the U.S., it is here presented in a sparkling new translation.
    Set in Paris during the First World War, it tells the story of Francois, the 16-year-old narrator, who falls in love with Marthe, an older, married woman whose husband is off fighting at the front. What seems to begin as a charming tale of puppy love quickly darkens, and they launch into a steamy affair. In the tense environment of the wartime city, their love takes on a desperation transcending their youthfulness.
    And as the badly-kept secret of their relationship unfolds, scandal descends, leading the story to a final, startling conclusion--and causing the book itself to become a scandal when it was first published in 1923, just before the author's death at the age of 20.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Anglais Adolphe

    Benjamin Constant

    We are such volatile creatures that we finally feel the sentiments we feign.
    First published in 1816, Adolphe is the story of a young man with all the privileges and advantages of a noble birth, bt who's still haunted by the meaninglessness of life. He seeks distraction in the pursuit of the beautiful, but older and married Ellenore, a fictionalized version of Madame de Stael. The young Adolphe, inexperienced in love, falls for her unexpectedly and falters under the burden of the illicit love.
    The Art of The Novella Series
    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

  • ...it was touching to discover that this lonely spot was not without its pilgrims.
    The story of an endearing, unlikely friendship set against the backdrop of a remote and beautiful Maine coastal town, The Country of Pointed Firs is one of Sarah Orne Jewett's most loved works, and it quickly earned her a reputation as a talented writer upon its publication. Praised by Alice Brown for its "idyllic atmosphere of country life," Jewett's moving novel shows her intimate understanding of New England and its unique inhabitants, whose prickly exteriors often concealed a warm and loyal nature.
    Willa Cather (My Antonia, Death of The Archbishop) remarked that The Country of The Pointed Firs was one of three American books destined for imortality, placing it beside Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
    The Art of The Novella Series
    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

  • "It's an ugly business, Watson, an ugly dangerous business, and the more I see of it the less I like it."
    Sherlock Holmes had been dead for eight years--killed of in another story--when Arthur Conan Doyle decided to bring the famous detective back for a new story that he told friends was turning into "a real creeper".
    The tale about the chilling re-animation of a curse haunting the Baskerville family since Medieval times, wherein a supernatural beast stalks the gloomy moors, would be the most sensationally successful of all the Holmes stories, and a century later, it is still the most thrilling of them all. Full of moody atmospherics, suspicious characters, and dramatic discoveries, The Hound of the Baskervilles also shows off something often overlooked about Doyle: his wonderful prose. Presented here as it first appeared in The Strand magazine in 1901, this great mystery still strikes many as the best ever written.
    The Art of The Novella Series
    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.

  • Set mostly in Manhattan--although also featuring Atlantic City, Brooklyn, GMail Chat, and Gainsville, Florida--this autobiographical novella, spanning two years in the life of a young writer with a cultish following, has been described by the author as “A shoplifting book about vague relationships,” “2 parts shoplifting arrest, 5 parts vague relationship issues,” and “An ultimately life-affirming book about how the unidirectional nature of time renders everything beautiful and sad.”
    From VIP rooms in hip New York City clubs to central booking in Chinatown, from New York University’s Bobst Library to a bus in someone’s backyard in a college-town in Florida, from Bret Easton Ellis to Lorrie Moore, and from Moby to Ghost Mice, it explores class, culture, and the arts in all their American forms through the funny, journalistic, and existentially-minded narrative of someone trying to both “not be a bad person” and “find some kind of happiness or something,” while he is driven by his failures and successes at managing his art, morals, finances, relationships, loneliness, confusion, boredom, future, and depression.

  • A masterful tale set in postSoviet Kiev that's both darklyfunny and ominous...
    In the widely hailed prequel to Penguin Lost, aspiring writer Viktor Zolotaryov leads a downandout life in povertyandviolencewracked Kievyes'>mdash;he’s out of work and his only friend is a penguin, Misha, that he rescued when the local zoo started getting rid of animals. Even more nervewracking: a local mobster has taken a shine to Misha and wants to keep borrowing him for events.
    But Viktor thinks he’s finally caught a break when he lands a wellpaying job at the Kiev newspaper writing yes'>ldquo;living obituariesyes'>rdquo; of local dignitariesyes'>mdash;articles to be filed for use when the time comes.
    The only thing is, it seems the time always comes as soon as Viktor writes the article. Slowly understanding that his own life may be in jeopardy, Viktor also realizes that the only thing that might be keeping him alive is his penguin.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • THE STORY OF SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND LITTLE-KNOWN ACTIVISTS OF THE 1960s, IN A DEEPLY SOURCED NARRATIVE HISTORY
    The historians of the late 1960s have emphasized the work of a group of white college activists who courageously took to the streets to protest the war in Vietnam and continuing racial inequality. Poor and working-class whites have tended to be painted as spectators, reactionaries, and, even, racists. Most Americans, the story goes, just watched the political movements of the sixties go by.
    James Tracy and Amy Sonnie, who have been interviewing activists from the era for nearly ten years, reject this old narrative. They show that poor and working-class radicals, inspired by the Civil Rights movement, the Black Panthers, and progressive populism, started to organize significant political struggles against racism and inequality during the 1960s and 1970s. Among these groups:
    + JOIN Community Union brought together southern migrants, student radicals, and welfare recipients in Chicago to fight for housing, health, and welfare . . .
    + The Young Patriots Organization and Rising Up Angry organized self-identified hillbillies, Chicago greasers, Vietnam vets, and young feminists into a legendary “Rainbow Coalition” with Black and Puerto Rican activists . . .
    + In Philadelphia, the October 4th Organization united residents of industrial Kensington against big business, war, and a repressive police force . . .
    + In the Bronx, White Lightning occupied hospitals and built coalitions with doctors to fight for the rights of drug addicts and the poor.
    Exploring an untold history of the New Left, the book shows how these groups helped to redefine community organizing--and transforms the way we think about a pivotal moment in U.S. history.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • The history of the vocoder: how popular music hijacked the Pentagon's speech scrambling weapon
    The vocoder, invented by Bell Labs in 1928, once guarded phones from eavesdroppers during World War II; by the Vietnam War, it was repurposed as a voice-altering tool for musicians, and is now the ubiquitous voice of popular music.
    In How to Wreck a Nice Beach--from a mis-hearing of the vocoder-rendered phrase "how to recognize speech"--music journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin's gulags, from the 1939 World's Fair to Hiroshima, from artificial larynges to Auto-Tune.
    We see the vocoder brush up against FDR, JFK, Stanley Kubrick, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Kraftwerk, the Cylons, Henry Kissinger, and Winston Churchill, who boomed, when vocoderized on V-E Day, "We must go off!" And now vocoder technology is a cell phone standard, allowing a digital replica of your voice to sound human.
    From T-Mobile to T-Pain, How to Wreck a Nice Beach is a riveting saga of technology and culture, illuminating the work of some of music's most provocative innovators.
    From the Hardcover edition.

  • Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”
    At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement--self exile--on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography--a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character--and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive... Nor when I’m dead, either.” Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • A vagrant de Tocqueville gives an eloquent, dry-eyed report of his tramping adventures in the violent underworld of late 19th century America and Britain
    An untutored Welsh tramp who became a popular poet acclaimed by the conservative Georgians and the vanguard Ezra Pound alike, W. H. Davies surprised his contemporaries with the unlikeliest portrait of the artist as a young man ever written.
    After a delinquent childhood Davies renounced home and apprenticeship and at twenty-two sailed to America--the first of more than a dozen Atlantic crossings, often made by cattle boat. From 1893 to 1899 he was schooled by the hard men of the road, disdaining regular work and subsisting by begging. Crossing Canada to join the “Klondyke” gold rush, Davies fell while hopping a train. His foot was crushed and his leg amputated. “All the wildness had been taken out of me,” Davies wrote, “and my adventures after this were not of my own seeking.”
    Praised by Osbert Sitwell for his “primitive splendour and directness,” Davies evokes the beauty and frontier violence of turn-of-the-century America in prose that George Bernard Shaw commended to “literary experts for its style alone.” The insurgent wanderlust that found an American voice in Jack London and Jack Kerouac is expressed here in a raucous true adventure story by the man Shaw called “the incorrigible Supertramp who wrote this amazing book.”
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • A fable for children and adults: a story of life, death, and terrorism--in the grand tradition of Exupery’s The Little Prince
    When we first meet 93-year-old millionaire Baron Lamberto, he has been diagnosed with 24 life-threatening ailments--one for each of the 24 banks he owns. But when he takes the advice of an Egyptian mystic and hires servants to chant his name over and over again, he seems to not only get better, but younger.
    Except then a terrorist group lays siege to his island villa, his team of bank managers has to be bussed in to help with the ransom negotiations, and a media spectacle breaks out . . .
    A hilarious and strangely moving tale that seems ripped from the headlines--although actually written during the time the Red Brigades were terrorizing Italy--Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto has become one of Italy’s most beloved fables. Never before translated into English, the novel is a reminder, as Rodari writes, that “there are things that only happen in fairytales.”
    From the Hardcover edition.

  • One of the great American iconoclasts holds forth on politics, war, books and writers, and his personal life in a series of conversations--including his last published interview.
    During his long career Kurt Vonnegut won international praise for his novels, plays, and essays. In this new anthology of conversations with Vonnegut--which collects interviews from throughout his career--we learn much about what drove Vonnegut to write and how he viewed his work at the end.
    From Kurt Vonnegut's Last Interview
    Is there another book in you, by chance?
    No. Look, I’m 84 years old. Writers of fiction have usually done their best work by the time they’re 45. Chess masters are through when they’re 35, and so are baseball players. There are plenty of other people writing. Let them do it.
    So what’s the old man’s game, then?
    My country is in ruins. So I’m a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I’m mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now. I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That’s why I served in World War II, and that’s why I wrote books.
    When someone reads one of your books, what would you like them to take from the experience?
    Well, I’d like the guy--or the girl, of course--to put the book down and think, “This is the greatest man who ever lived.”

  • A hilarious debut novel about the tricky period between graduating from college and moving out of your parents’ house
    What to do when you’ve just graduated from college and your plans conflict with those of your parents? That is, when your plans to hang out on the couch, re-read your favorite children’s books, and take old prescription tranquilizers, conflict with your parents plans that you, well, get a job?
    Without a fallback plan, Eshter Kohler decides she has no choice but to take the job her mother has lined up for her: babysitting for their neighbors, the Browns.
    It’s a tricky job, though. Six months earlier, the Browns’ youngest child died. Still, as Esther finds herself falling in love with their surviving daughter May, and distracted by a confusing romance with one of her friends, she doesn’t notice quite how tricky the job is … until she finds herself assuming the role of confidante to May’s mother Amy, and partner in crime to Amy’s husband Nate. Trapped in conflicting roles doomed to collide, Esther is forced to come up with a better idea of who she really is.
    Both hilarious and heartbreaking, The Fallback Plan is a beautifully written and moving story of what we must leave behind, and what we manage to hold on to, as we navigate the treacherous terrain between youth and adulthood.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Who’s killing the Upper East Side trophy wives?
    Unleashing the pent-up fury most Americans feel over the financial crisis, Brenda Cullerton’s wickedly riotous tale of an interior “desecrator” turned murderess is a flaming arrow into the dark heart of Manhattan’s filthy rich.
    Working on New York’s Upper East Side for phenomenally rich and frighteningly skinny women who are suffering from BBS (Birkin Bag Syndrome--a muscle ailment due to carrying heavy pocketbooks) has driven interior designer Charlotte Wolfe mad. It seems to her that the insatiable pursuit of luxury breeds monsters. She gets even angrier when she begins to encounter the same thing over and over again: these women are so cheap they go on Craigslist to sell things their husband kept from wife number one.
    As the financial crisis escalates and Charlotte’s own resources dwindle, her rage leads her to not only bite the well-manicured hands that feed her, but to do something more--to really clean house. A razor-sharp satire that’s both laugh-out-loud funny and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, The Craigslist Murders will inspire readers to cheer an unlikely heroine, whose nightmares are the stuff of a poor person’s dreams.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Anglais Eeeee Eee Eeee

    Tao Lin

    "Tao Lin writes from moods that less radical writers would let pass--from laziness, from vacancy, from boredom. And it turns out that his report from these places is moving and necessary, not to mention frequently hilarious."
    - Miranda July, author of No One Belongs Here More Than You
    "Tao Lin is the most distinctive young writer I've come upon in a long time: the most intrepid, the funniest, the strangest. He is completely unlike anyone else."
    - Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening
    Confused yet intelligent animals attempt to interact with confused yet intelligent humans, resulting in the death of Elijah Wood, Salman Rushdie, and Wong Kar-Wai; the destruction of a Domino's Pizza delivery car in Orlando; and a vegan dinner at a sushi restaurant in Manhattan attended by a dolphin, a bear, a moose, an alien, three humans, and the President of the United States of America, who lectures on the arbitrary nature of consciousness, truth, and the universe before getting drunk and playing poker.
    "Tao Lin's fiction will kick your ass and say thank you afterwards!"
    - Amy Fusselman, author of The Pharmacist's Mate
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Anglais Bed

    Tao Lin

    College students, recent graduates, and their parents work at Denny's, volunteer at a public library in suburban Florida, attend satanic ska/punk concerts, eat Chinese food with the homeless of New York City, and go to the same Japanese restaurant in Manhattan three times in two sleepless days, all while yearning constantly for love, a better kind of love, or something better than love, things which--much like the Loch Ness Monster--they know probably do not exist, but are rumored to exist and therefore "good enough."
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Acclaimed author Noa Weber has a successful "feminist" life: a strong career, a wonderful daughter she raised alone, and she is a recognized and respected cultural figure. Yet her interior life is bound by her obsessive love for one man--Alek, a Russian émigré and the father of her child, who has drifted in and out of her life.
    Trying to understand--as well as free herself from--this lifelong obsession, Noa turns her pen on herself, and with relentless honesty dissects her life. Against the evocative setting of turbulent, modernday Israel, this examination becomes a quest to transform irrational desire into a greater, transcendent understanding of love.
    The Confessions of Noa Weber introduces a startlingly talented writer in a rich tale that illuminates the desires, yearnings, and complexities of life in Israel.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • "The native American Voltaire, the enemy of all puritans, the heretic in the Sunday school, the one-man demolition crew of the genteel tradition."
    --Alistair Cooke
    Fiercely intelligent, scathingly honest, and hysterically funny, H.L. Mencken’s coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial so galvanized the nation that it eventually inspired a Broadway play and the classic Hollywood movie Inherit the Wind.
    Mencken’s no-nonsense sensibility is still exciting: his perceptive rendering of the courtroom drama; his piercing portrayals of key figures Scopes, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan; his ferocious take on the fundamentalist culture surrounding it all--including a raucous midnight trip into the woods to witness a secret “holy roller” service.
    Shockingly, these reports have never been gathered together into a book of their own--until now.
    A Religious Orgy In Tennessee includes all of Mencken’s reports for The Baltimore Sun, The Nation, and The American Mercury. It even includes his coverage of Bryan’s death just days after the trial--an obituary so withering Mencken was forced by his editors to rewrite it, angering him and leading him to rewrite it yet again in a third version even less forgiving than the first. All three versions are included, as is a complete transcript of the trial’s most legendary exchange: Darrow’s blistering cross-examination of Bryan.
    With the rise of “intelligent design,” H.L. Mencken’s work has never seemed more unnervingly timely--or timeless.

  • With death looming, Jacques Derrida, the world's most famous philosopher-known as the father of "deconstruction"-sat down with journalist Jean Birnbaum of the French daily Le Monde. They revisited his life's work and his impending death in a long, surprisingly accessible, and moving final interview.
    Sometimes called "obscure" and branded "abstruse" by his critics, the Derrida found in this book is open and engaging, reflecting on a long career challenging important tenets of European philosophy from Plato to Marx.
    The contemporary meaning of Derrida's work is also examined, including a discussion of his many political activities. But, as Derrida says, "To philosophize is to learn to die"; as such, this philosophical discussion turns to the realities of his imminent death-including life with a fatal cancer. In the end, this interview remains a touching final look at a long and distinguished career.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Written in an encrypted notebook while incarcerated in a Nazi insane asylum and discovered after his death, The Drinker may be Hans Fallada’s most breathtaking piece of craftsmanship. It is an intense yet absorbing study of the descent into drunkenness by an intelligent man who fears he’s lost it all.
    ***
    This is a Hybrid Book.
    Melville House HybridBooks combine print and digital media into an enhanced reading experience by including with each title additional curated material called Illuminations -- maps, photographs, illustrations, and further writing about the author and the book. The Melville House Illuminations are free with the purchase of any title in the HybridBook series, no matter the format.
    /> From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • The longawaited sequel to the acclaimed Death and the Penguin
    Andrey Kurkov’s first book to be published in English, Death and the Penguin, was hailed by leading critics in the US and the UK as yes'>ldquo;a tragicomic masterpieceyes'>rdquo; (The Daily Telegraph) of suspense about life on the crimeriddled streets of an impoverished, postSoviet Kiev. But until now, fans haven’t been able to read the sequel and find out what happened to Viktor and his silent cohort, the penguin Misha, whom Viktor was forced to abandon at the end of the novel while fleeing Mafia vengeance.
    Admirers need wait no longer. Now available for the first time in the US, Penguin Lost sees Viktor grab at the opportunity to return to Kiev incognito and launch an intensive, guiltwracked search for Misha.
    It’s a search that will take Viktor across the Ukraine to Moscow and back, vividly depicting a troubled landscape. It once again lands Viktor in league with a series of criminals and corrupt officials, each of whom know something of what happened to Misha, and each of whom are willing to pass that information along if Viktor will just help them with one more job. . . And it’s a tale told once again in a style that’s part Bulgakov and part Hitchcock, simultaneously funny and ominous, nearly absurd and alltooreal.
    Readers may find themselves rooting even harder for Viktor this time, as he presses forward on his odyssey under even more dagerous circumstances, in another brilliantly rich and topical book from a contemporary Russian master.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • "All crowds have to howl."Although F.Scott Fitzgerald is known for the kind of subtle, polished social commentary found in his masterpiece The Great Gatsby, his little-known novella May Day is unique in that it is the most raw, directly political commentary he ever wrote, and one of the most desperate works in his oeuvre.
    It is a tale of the brutalities of the American class system-of privileged college boys, returned from a bloody war, and a group of intellectual left-wing journalists, all coming into confrontation in the heart of New York City on Mayday at the end of World War I. Fitzgerald's fine eye for detail is on special display and his relentless plot leads to one of his most shocking climaxes, in what is the first and only stand alone version of this rarity.
    The Art of The Novella Series
    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • There is no explanation.
    Written eight years after the publication of Anna Karenina--a time during which, despite the global success of his novels, Leo Tolstoy renounced fiction in favor of religious and philosophical tracts--The Death of Ivan Ilych represents perhaps the most keenly realized melding of Tolstoy’s spirituality with his artistic skills.
    Here in a vibrant new translation, the tale of a judge who slowly comes to understand that his illness is fatal was inspired by Tolstoy’s observation at his local train station of hundreds of shackled prisoners being sent off to Siberia, many for petty crimes. When he learned that the sentencing judge had died, Tolstoy was roused to consider the judge’s thoughts during his final days--a study on the acceptance of mortality only deepened by the death, during its writing, of one of Tolstoy’s own young children.
    The final result is a magisterial story, both chilling and beguiling in the fullness of its empathy, its quotidian detail, and the beauty of its prose, and is, as many have claimed it to be, one of the most moving novellas ever written.
    The Art of The Novella Series
    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
    From the Trade Paperback edition.

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