fiction

Factotum - Charles Bukowski

The only person to have made a writing career about yo-yoing in and out of employment, Bukowski accounts the conditions in 1944 having faced rejection from the draft. Although racist, incredibly misogynistic and generally prejudiced to anyone including himself, this is an honest look at the tedium of work.

A fan's notes - Frederick Exley

A struggling alcoholic teacher reminiscences about a life of mental hospitals, failed job interviews and the feeling of being out of step with the American dream.

The man who killed Thursday - G.K Chesterton

A Scotland Yard detective goes undercover to infiltrate the European anarchist council where he finds himself under surveillance from another policeman within the group. The cover art was produced by Félix Vallotton, a Swiss painter and woodcutter sympathetic to anarchism.

Two short stories - Nanni Balestrini

Nanni Balestrini was born in Milan in 1935. Known both as an experimental writer of prose and verse and as a cultural and political activist, he played a leading role in avant-garde writing and publishing in the sixties. His involvement with the extra-parliamentary left in the seventies resulted in terrorism charges (of which he was subsequently acquitted) and a long period of self-imposed exile from Italy.

The unseen - Nanni Balestrini

For a brief explosive period in the mid-1970s, the young and the unemployed of Italy’s cities joined the workers in an unexpectedly militant movement known simply as Autonomy (Autonomia). Its “politics of refusal” united its opponents behind draconian measures more severe than any seen since the war.

The death ship - B. Traven

Examples of book covers

One of B. Traven's best known and earliest novels (first written in 1923 or '24). It's the story of a sailor who loses his papers and, unable to prove his very existence, ends up working on a "death ship" which is destined to be sunk for the insurance money. A cry from the heart against capitalist exploitation and all the bureaucratic paraphernalia of border control that goes with it. Working class grim humour at its finest!

Here presented in MOBI (Kindle format) and PDF.

Swastika night - Katherin Burdekin

Published in 1937, twelve years before Orwell's 1984, Swastika Night is an outstanding example of dystopian fiction. Weaving a tale of feudal Europe seven centuries into a post-Hitlerian society, Burdekin's novel explores the connection between gender and political power and anticipates modern feminist science fiction. Readers will be reminded of 1984 and Charlotte Perkin's Herland and note the sharp contrast between the women- centered world of Herland and the womenless one of Swastika Night.

Oil! - Upton Sinclair

The loose source for the film There Will Be Blood, Oil! pits oil tycoon father against socialist sympathetic son in the midst of the Teapot Dome Scandal and unionising trouble on the fields.

Accidental death of an anarchist - Dario Fo

Dario Fo's best known play, based on the events surrounding Giuseppe Pinelli's death.

Germinal - Émile Zola

Zola's masterpiece exposing the inhuman conditions of miners in France in 1860s. This powerful novel follows a young worker who enters a mining community and leads a strike against pay cuts. Despite its defeat, he retains his belief in struggle for a better world.