Based on a True Story
In 1965, six climbers died while attempting to climb Mount Poroshiri in Japan's northern island. One climber, Odagiri, is known to have survived four days longer than his companions. This stream-of-consciousness novel imagines his thoughts as the cold and sleepiness start to overwhelm him and his death approaches. Slightly off-mint.
Petronius’ debauched, yet exhilarating adventure dates back to the first century CE and the reign of Nero. It follows the exploits of Encolpius, an impoverished gladiator and his boy-lover Giton, and their encounters with a host of lewd and comical rogues. Read by Jonathan Keeble. Unabridged.
Franz Kafka’s strange tale of Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous bug, is open to many interpretations – probably as many as it has readers. Metamorphosis was written in 1912. Translated from the German, with a short introduction, by William Aaltonen.
Concerned with the theme of identity – both individual and national – Skujins' narrative switches between a carnivalesque depiction of aristocratic life in 18th-century Vidzeme in Latvia and an unnamed orphan's experience of growing up under Nazi occupation in Riga, the country’s capital.
The Seventh Cross
Seven prisoners escape from a concentration camp, so the commandant prepares crosses for their punishment: as they strive to reach asylum the prisoners encounter a cross-range of ordinary Germans. Published in 1942, this novel highlighted the horrors of the Nazi regime, which the author had escaped.
Rabbits and Boa Constrictors
Fazil Iskander (1929–2016) was famously described as the ‘Abkhazian Mark Twain’, having a similar sense of humour to the American author. Written in 1989, this novel tells of a struggle between rabbits and boa constrictors – the manipulators and the manipulated trying to function in a failed utopia.