What we're about
Upcoming events (5)
Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers. To most Americans, Abraham Lincoln is a monolithic figure, the Great Emancipator and Savior of the Union, beloved by all. In Gore Vidal's Lincoln we meet Lincoln the man and Lincoln the political animal, the president who entered a besieged capital where most of the population supported the South and where even those favoring the Union had serious doubts that the man from Illinois could save it. Far from steadfast in his abhorrence of slavery, Lincoln agonizes over the best course of action and comes to his great decision only when all else seems to fail. As the Civil War ravages his nation, Lincoln must face deep personal turmoil, the loss of his dearest son, and the harangues of a wife seen as a traitor for her Southern connections. Brilliantly conceived, masterfully executed, Gore Vidal's Lincoln allows the man to breathe again.
Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath. Here, in the first Ripley novel, we are introduced to suave Tom Ripley, a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.
First published in 1904, “Nostromo” is widely considered one of Joseph Conrad’s best works. Set in the fictitious mining town of Sulaco, a port city in the imaginary South American country of Costaguana, it is the story of Senõr Gould, an English expatriate who owns the silver-mining concession in the country. When the country becomes engulfed in increasing violence and chaos, Senõr Gould charges Nostromo, his trusted head longshoreman, with the duty of hiding his silver so that it does not fall into the hands of his political enemies. Nostromo is highly respected by his fellow citizens and is viewed as being incorruptible, so he is a natural choice for such a serious task. Nostromo succeeds in hiding the silver, but his good deed does not bring him the favor and respect that he feels is his due and his bitterness morphs into greed. Even the perfect and pure Nostromo cannot resist the power of the silver and it is his eventual undoing. Set against the lush landscape and turbulent politics of South America, “Nostromo” is a Conrad’s masterful tale of the power of money, its ability to corrupt, and the destruction it leaves behind.