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Half A Life

Half a Life
by V. S. Naipaul

One of the finest living writers in the English language, V. S. Naipaul gives us a tale as wholly unexpected as it is affecting, his first novel since the exultantly acclaimed A Way in the World, published seven years ago.

Half a Life is the story of Willie Chandran, whose father, heeding the call of Mahatma Gandhi, turned his back on his brahmin heritage and married a woman of low caste—a disastrous union he would live to regret, as he would the children that issued from it. When Willie reaches manhood, his flight from the travails of his mixed birth takes him from India to London, where, in the shabby haunts of immigrants and literary bohemians of the 1950s, he contrives a new identity. This is what happens as he tries to defeat self-doubt in sexual adventures and in the struggle to become a writer—strivings that bring him to the brink of exhaustion, from which he is rescued, to his amazement, only by the love of a good woman. And this is what happens when he returns with her—carried along, really—to her home in Africa, to live, until the last doomed days of colonialism, yet another life not his own.

In a luminous narrative that takes us across three continents, Naipaul explores his great theme of inheritance with an intimacy and directness unsurpassed in his extraordinary body of work. And even as he lays bare the bitter comical ironies of assumed identities, he gives us a poignant spectacle of the enervation peculiar to a borrowed life. In one man’s determined refusal of what he has been given to be, Naipaul reveals the way of all our experience. As Willie comes to see, “Everything goes on a bias. The world should stop, but it goes on.” A masterpiece of economy and emotional nuance, Half a Life is an indelible feat of the imagination.

From the Hardcover edition.


Half a Life
by Darin Strauss

In this powerful, unforgettable memoir, acclaimed novelist Darin Strauss examines the far-reaching consequences of the tragic moment that has shadowed his whole life. In his last month of high school, he was behind the wheel of his dad’s Oldsmobile, driving with friends, heading off to play mini-golf. Then: a classmate swerved in front of his car. The collision resulted in her death. With piercing insight and stark prose, Darin Strauss leads us on a deeply personal, immediate, and emotional journey—graduating high school, going away to college, starting his writing career, falling in love with his future wife, becoming a father. Along the way, he takes a hard look at loss and guilt, maturity and accountability, hope and, at last, acceptance. The result is a staggering, uplifting tour de force.

Look for special features inside, including an interview with Colum McCann.


Half a Life
by Jill Ciment

Jill Ciment weaves an unforgettable tale of survival, compassion, and courage, in this haunting recollection of a child surrounded by confusion and madness, and her struggle to find an identity.

  Half a Life  traces Jill Ciment’s family from Toronto to the California desert – -a landscape and culture so alien to her father that the last vestiges of sanity leave him.  As madness engulfs him he becomes increasingly brutal and the family, grasping at survival, throws him out the door.  Having no understanding that he has done anything wrong, he first lives in his car at the end of the driveway, waiting to be invited back in, before exiting completely from their lives.

Poor and fatherless, Ciment spends the years from age fourteen to seventeen, as a gang girl, a professional forger, a stripper, a corporate spy, and finally, a high school dropout who by age eighteen has seduced her art teacher, a man  nearly three decades her senior and bluffed her way into college in an effort to shape a  future.  

Ciment is cutting, insightful and clearly unapologetic as she details the confusion and bravado of a child heroine whose dreams and tenacity allow her finally, to create the life she has been so desperately seeking.


Becoming a Man
by Paul Monette

The National Book Award–winning coming-out memoir. “One of the most complex, moral, personal, and political books to have been written about gay life” (LA Weekly).

Paul Monette grew up all-American, Catholic, overachieving . . . and closeted. As a child of the 1950s, a time when a kid suspected of being a “homo” would routinely be beaten up, Monette kept his secret throughout his adolescence. He wrestled with his sexuality for the first thirty years of his life, priding himself on his ability to “pass” for straight. The story of his journey to adulthood and to self-acceptance with grace and honesty, this intimate portrait of a young man’s struggle with his own desires is witty, humorous, and deeply felt.

Before his death of complications from AIDS in 1995, Monette was an outspoken activist crusading for gay rights. Becoming a Man shows his courageous path to stand up for his own right to love and be loved.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Paul Monette including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the Paul Monette papers of the UCLA Library Special Collections.


Half a Creature from the Sea
by Almond David

May Malone is said to have a monster in her house, but what Norman finds there may just be the angel he needs. Joe Quinn’s house is noisy with poltergeists, or could it be Davie’s raging causing the disturbance? Fragile Annie learns the truth about herself in a photograph taken by a traveling man near the sea. Set in the northern English Tyneside country of the author’s childhood, these eight short stories by the incomparable David Almond evoke gritty realities and ineffable longings, experiences both ordinary and magical. In autobiographical preludes to each story, the writer shows how all things can be turned into tales, reflecting on a time of wonder, tenderness, and joy.

Half A Life-Time Ago
by Elizabeth Gaskell

Popular nineteenth-century writer Elizabeth Gaskell packed her fiction with the kind of riveting social details that keep contemporary readers and fans of historical drama glued to the page. This collection of short stories offers a comprehensive introduction to her body of work, which rivaled Dickens’ in terms of popularity at the height of her career.

A Study Guide for V.S. Naipaul’s “Half a Life”
by Gale, Cengage Learning

A Study Guide for V.S. Naipaul’s "Half a Life," excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Novels for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Novels for Students for all of your research needs.

Life and a Half
by Sony Lab’Ou Tansi

Listed as one of the 100 best books on Africa, Life and a Half was Sony Labou Tansi’s response to the death of close friends during a bloody military and political crackdown in Congo. The novel takes place in an imaginary African country run by the latest in a series of cannibalistic dictators who has captured Martial, the leader of the opposition, and his family. Though shot, knifed, butchered, and bled, Martial’s spirit lives on to guide his followers in their fight against the dictators. Facing censorship, Tansi insisted that his book was a fable and that if he were ever given the opportunity to write about real events, he would be much more direct rather than follow the torturous paths of a novel. This crisp translation by Alison Dundy maintains the fast-paced action and bitingly satiric tone of the original.


Half a Life
by George Webbe Dasent

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts – the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

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In A Free State

In a Free State
by V. S. Naipaul

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.

In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people—Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious “compound wife”—are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin’s Uganda. And the farther Naipaul’s protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.


A Free State
by Tom Piazza

The author of City of Refuge returns with a startling and powerful novel of race, violence, and identity set on the eve of the Civil War.

The year is 1855. Blackface minstrelsy is the most popular form of entertainment in a nation about to be torn apart by the battle over slavery. Henry Sims, a fugitive slave and a brilliant musician, has escaped to Philadelphia, where he earns money living by his wits and performing on the street. He is befriended by James Douglass, leader of a popular minstrel troupe struggling to compete with dozens of similar ensembles, who imagines that Henry’s skill and magnetism might restore his troupe’s sagging fortunes.

The problem is that black and white performers are not allowed to appear together onstage. Together, the two concoct a masquerade to protect Henry’s identity, and Henry creates a sensation in his first appearances with the troupe. Yet even as their plan begins to reverse the troupe’s decline, a brutal slave hunter named Tull Burton has been employed by Henry’s former master to track down the runaway and retrieve him, by any means necessary.

Bursting with narrative tension and unforgettable characters, shot through with unexpected turns and insight, A Free State is a thrilling reimagining of the American story by a novelist at the height of his powers.


The Free State of Jones
by Victoria E. Bynum

Between late 1863 and mid-1864, an armed band of Confederate deserters battled Confederate cavalry in the Piney Woods region of Jones County, Mississippi. Calling themselves the Knight Company after their captain, Newton Knight, they set up headquarters i

Against Marriage
by Clare Chambers

Against Marriage is a radical argument for the abolition of state-recognised marriage. Clare Chambers argues that state-recognised marriage violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead Chambers proposes the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status. Part I makes the case against marriage. Chambers investigates the critique of marriage that has developed within feminist and liberal theory. Feminists have long argued that marriage is a violation of equality since it is both sexist and heterosexist. Chambers endorses the feminist view and argues, in contrast to recent egalitarian pro-marriage movements, that same-sex marriage is not enough to make marriage equal. Chambers argues that state-recognised marriage is also problematic for liberalism, particularly political liberalism, since it imposes a controversial, hierarchical conception of the family that excludes many adults and children. Part II sets out the case for the marriage-free state. Chambers critically assesses recent theories that attempt to make marriage egalitarian, either by replacing it with relationship contracts or by replacing it with alternative statuses such as civil union. She then sets out a new model for the legal regulation of personal relationships. In the marriage-free state regulation is based on relationship practices not relationship status, and these practices are regulated separately rather than as a bundle. The marriage-free state thus employs piecemeal, practice-based regulation. Finally, Chambers considers how the marriage-free state should respond to unequal religious marriage. The result is an inspiring egalitarian approach that fits the diversity of real relationships.

The Free State of Winston
by Don Dodd, Amy Bartlett-Dodd

Based on a lifetime of researching and writing about their home county of Winston, the husband and wife team of Don and Amy Dodd have crafted a unique pictorial retrospective that conveys a serene sense of what it was like to grow up in the hills of Winston. Outlining the highlights of this Appalachian county’s history, from its opposition to the Confederacy to its slow evolution from its rustic, rural roots of the mid-nineteenth century, two hundred photographs illustrate a century of hill country culture. A sparsely settled, isolated county of small farms with uncultivated, forested land, most of Winston County was out of the mainstream of

Southern life for much of its history. The creation of the Bankhead National Forest preserved almost 200,000 acres of forested land, primarily in Winston, to perpetuate this “stranded frontier” into the post-World War II era. The story setting is scenic–fast-flowing creeks, waterfalls, bluffs, caves, natural bridges, and dense forests–and the

characters match the stage–individualistic, rugged pioneers, more than a thousand mentioned by name within these pages. Winston has long resisted change, has held fast to traditional values, and, as seen in this treasured volume, is a place as unique as any other in America.


Southern Slaves in Free State Courts
by Paul Finkelman

Southern Slaves in Free State Courts: The Pamphlet Literature. New York: Garland, 1988. 3 Vols. 1,704 pp. With a New Introduction by Paul Finkelman. Reprinted 2007, 2013 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. Set ISBN-13: 9781584777380. Set ISBN-10:1584777389. Hardcover. New.

34 Pamphlets reprinted in fascimile, in 3 volumes, with a New Introduction by Paul Finkelman:
1. Francis Hargrave. An Argument in the Case of James Sommersett aNegro, Lately Determined by the Court of King’s Bench: Wherein it is Attempted to Demonstrate the Present Unlawfulness of Domestic Slavery in England. To Which is Prefixed a State of the Case. London, 1772. 82pp.
2. Edward Long. Candid Reflections Upon the Judgement Lately Awarded by the Court of King’s Bench, in Westminster-Hall, on What is Commonly Called the Negro Cause, by a Planter. London, 1772. 76 pp.
3. Britannia Libera, or a Defence of the Free State of Man in England, Against the Claim of Any Man There as a Slave. London, 1772. 47 pp.
4. Samuel Estwick. Considerations on the Negro Cause Commonly so Called, Addressed to the Right Honorable Lord Mansfield. London, 1763. [96] pp.
5. A Letter to Philo Africanus, Upon Slavery; In Answer to His of the 22nd of November, in the General Evening Post, Together With the Opinions of Sir John Strange, and Other Eminent Lawyers Upon This Subject, With the Sentence of Lord Mansfield, in the Case of Somerset and Knowles, 1772, With His Lordship’s Explanation of That Opinion in 1786. London, 1788. 40 pp.
6. John Haggard. The Judgment of the Right Hon. Lord Stowell, Respecting the Slavery of the Mongrel Woman, Grace, On An Appeal From The Vice-Admirality Court of Antigua. London, 1827. [50] pp.
7. Considerations on Certain Remarks on the Negro Slavery and Abolition Questions, in Lord Stowell’s Judgment in the Case of the Slave “Grace.” By a Briton. Newcastle, 1827. 18 pp.
8. Case of the Slave-Child Med. Report of the Arguments of Counsel and of the Opinion of the Court, in the Case of Commonwealth vs. Aves;Tried and Determined in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Boston, 1836. 40 pp.

Please contact us for a complete list of titles contained in these three volumes. Originally published as a part of the series Slavery, Race, and the American Legal System, 1700-1872, this set contains facsimiles of 34 rare pamphlets relating to court cases involving the status of slaves in non-slave jurisdictions, including Somerset v. Stewart (1772) and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). As in the companion set Fugitive Slaves and American Courts, some pamphlets were part of the public debate over judicial decisions. Others used a case to promote the antislavery cause or, in some instances, support or justify slavery.