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The Cattle Truck

240 pp paperback with flaps

ISBN 978 1 897959 48 0



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Jorge Semprun The Cattle Truck
Translated by Richard Seaver

Gasping for breath in a cattle truck occupied by 119 other men, a young Spaniard captured fighting with the French Resistance counts off the days and nights as the train rolls slowly but inexorably towards Buchenwald.

On the five seemingly endless days of the journey, he talks to an unnamed Frenchman from Semur. Sometimes the conversation sends him into daydreams about his childhood; sometimes he looks into the future and the nightmare setting in which his friend's memory will come back to haunt him.

When at last the concentration camp's Wagnerian gates come into sight, 'the guy from Semur' dies suddenly and inexplicably and the young Spaniard has to face the camp alone.

'Elegant and powerful'
The Independent

'Crucial ... It deserves to be widely read'
New York Times

'The diabolical plot of this extraordinary novel was supplied by the Nazis, who had no idea that Jorge Semprun would use it one day for purposes both humane and cautionary. The Cattle Truck is a work of fiction founded on unimaginable fact.'
Paul Bailey

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'A beautiful translation ... Semprun waited almost 20 years before writing the story of a Spanish teenager who fought in the Maquis in France, was captured by the Germans and sent as a Red, a political prisoner, a non-Jew, to Buchenwald. He gives us a different perspective on hell and the power and glory of the human spirit.'
Martha Gellhorn, Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph

'The cattle truck is of course one of the most evocative images of the Holocaust. This book describes one man's experience of a journey in one, but it extends far beyond the confines of the truck to explore themes of personal and collective responsibility.'
John Jacobs, Jewish Chronicle

'Tells the story of the slow journey into hell made by dissidents and undesirables who were sentenced to deportation by the Nazi invaders of France. Semprun, a Spaniard, was a member of the French Resistance and was himself arrested and deported to Buchenwald. In this extraordinary novel he gives an account of a similar journey, told by "Gerard" several years later, who relives significant incidents as the trip plays over in his mind.

'This novel is the more harrowing for what it represents and the way the nightmare vision of the death camps is revealed in moments of simple recognition. The effectiveness of Gerard's sudden memory of a child taking a smaller one's hand as they are made to race from their murders cannot be underestimated.'
Moy McCrory, The Times

'His concerns are highlighted by conversations with other forced passengers, particularly "the guy from Semur", and with German guards, with whom he communicated in their own language. This creates some of the most moving moments in the book, when the ability to communicate finally overcomes any indiscriminate elimination of the "other" and allows Semprun the ultimate magnanimity: the power to award life, not death, to an enemy.

'Everything in this book is multi-dimensional, reflecting forward as well as back. The beauty of a beech tree is as timelessly vital as the agony of the journey. And the journey is one that goes beyond the transit from Compiegne to Buchenwald, or even from youth to imposed maturity. For Semprun, from the age of seventeen, was fighting in two of the great European conflicts of this century and for its apparently clearest moral causes.

'That he did so as a volunteer and not a victim renders him a freedom fighter in both senses of the phrase. That he is prepared to use hindsight blended with memory renders him brave in another sense, as he reviews earlier convictions and draws fresh conclusions. That he is also a passionate and philosophical writer renders his books essential reading. Many of them have been missed for too long: make this one unmissable.'
Amanda Hopkinson, New Statesman

'A brilliantly structured, highly disturbing book that deserves a place among the best of Holocaust literature.'
Ian Critchley, Sunday Times

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Bigot Hall

160 pp paperback

ISBN 978 1 897959 20 6


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Steve Aylett Bigot Hall

Bigot Hall is the nightmare home of a family that most people would prefer to forget, but which Steve Aylett chooses to celebrate. Uncle Burst believes his face is made of pasta; the violent, grill-mouthed Uncle Snapper is confined to a treehouse; Uncle Blute is drowned in the lake at the wheel of his Morris Traveller where he remains perfectly preserved listening to classical music on the car radio; and Nanny Jack strikes terror into the community as she abandons yet another grave to return home.

Through this strangely happy breed strolls a nameless anti-hero who, when not evading blowtorch-wielding nuns, is passionately in love with his beautiful, spaced-out sister ...

'Steve Aylett is without doubt one of the most ambitious and talented writers to emerge in England in recent years. While his work echoes the best of William Burroughs, it has the mark of real originality. It's hip, cool and eloquent.'
Michael Moorcock

'Aylett is one of the great eccentrics of British genre fiction.'
The Guardian

'Aylett's prose is like poetry.'
The Independent

'The most original and most consciousness-altering living writer in the English language, not to mention one of the funniest.'
Alan Moore

The Crime Studio

0 pp

ISBN 978 1 897959 12 1

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Steve Aylett The Crime Studio

'Savage talked about his life as a re-offender. How could someone be offended by the same thing twice? Was nothing learnt?'

Beerlight, the city of all of our futures, is not a safe place. Weaponry, rather than fast cars or designer clothes, is the ultimate status symbol. The populace is dedicated to law-breaking, politically incorrect views and hurling abuse and hand grenades at each other.

Combining elements of surrealism, film noir and punk rock ethos, Aylett creates a darkly comic landscape that's a cross between a Tarantino film and a Bosch painting, where murder is the ultimate expression of art.

The cast of hoodlums includes burglar extraordinaire Billy Panacea, conman-cum-lawyer Harpoon Specter and other fun-loving felons who hang out at the Delayed Reaction Bar on Valentine Street reading the Parole Violators Bugle.

'Very funny and eminently readable'

'Make no mistake, Aylett knows his stuff'

'Hilarious and horrifying dismemberment of the urban hardboiled style. Beerlight is a scary suburb located at the exact mid-point between then and now, between Mare Street and Main Street, where no-goods, no-hopers and ne'er-do-wells do not hesitate to pump each other full of holes or drugs. Practitioners of street mime are subject to particularly gruesome atrocitites. Comic-book imagery—like Jim Steranko on steroids—mingles with a noiriste's worst nightmare in this distressingly brilliant debut'
The Guardian

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'Aylett hurls puns, allusions, and sarcastic asides with postmodern panache ... He is warped and perversely funny'
Washington Post Book World

'With half a dozen others, hacking away at sacred trees, British accent and buckskin fringe blowing in the breeze, he's blazed a unique trail into the contemporary urban forest.'
Boston Globe

'Steve Aylett's The Crime Studio is a clutch of spoof linked tales set in a post-apocalyptic, morally-inverted, gun-crazy, amyl nitrate-ventilated American city called Beerlight, where crime is the only going concern. The noirness of Beerlight owes something to Brecht's Mahagonny, but then Aylett seems to have rummaged through the works of many, including Damon Runyon, Mickey Spillane and Tank Girl, and stolen with abandon—although not without effect. Sometimes Aylett is as funny and as good with a pen ('a guy whose face resembled something glimpsed through the porthole of a bathysphere') as he thinks he is, while the cartoon criminal denizens get more and more stand-up. The book has cult status written all over it.'
Time Out

'Beerlight is a city of the future. An urban streetscape peopled entirely by criminals, psychotics and idiot savants; Brute Parker, owner of the all-nite gun shop, Billy Panacea, burglar extraordinaire, Sally the Gat who shoots someone "at such close range the cops drew a chalk body-outline on the ceiling" ... An allegorical comic strip veined with mutant metaphors and amphetamine-crazed one-liners, Aylett's miniaturist polyglutted novel is immoral, indecent and wears its colours of Political Incorrectness like a bullet-riddled flag ... Aylett is as smart as he thinks he is. Which is pretty scary.'
Evening Standard

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