In conjunction with our energetic new distribution partners, IPM in the USA and Login in Canada, Real Reads is embarking on an ambitious programme of North American classics to add to the Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville titles which are already firm favourites. Where better to start than with The Great Gatsby, sensationally revitalised through Baz Luhrmann’s movie adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan?
Summer of 2014 saw another four key Real Reads American classics – Stephen Crane’s moving Civil War narrative The Red Badge of Courage, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s powerful tale of honour and redemption The Scarlet Letter, Jack London’s tale of animal fortitude The Call of the Wild, and Kate Chopin’s pioneering feminist classic The Awakening.
The Great Gatsby
Nick Carraway’s mysterious neighbour Gatsby gazes across the dark bay at a distant green light.
As the summer unfolds, Nick is drawn into Gatsby’s world of luxury cars, speedboats and extravagant parties. But the more he hears about Gatsby – even from what Gatsby himself tells him – the less he is sure of the truth. Did Gatsby really go to Oxford University? Was he a hero in the war? Did he once kill a man?
Nick recalls how he came to know Gatsby. He recounts how he enters the world of his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom. But does their money make them any happier? How do everybody’s stories connect?
Will you come to know the real Gatsby after reading Nick’s account of that fateful summer?
The Red Badge of Courage
Henry Fleming leaves his widowed mother behind and marches off to join a war that is tearing his country apart.
His regiment has yet to be tested in the fire of battle. Together the soldiers wait while distant guns rumble and the lights of enemy campfires flicker on the hills beyond a darkened river.
The young man recalls his childhood dreams of valiant combat. Will he pass the test and return home to tell others of his triumphs on the battlefield? Or will he flee at the first sign of real danger?
And what of his fellow soldiers, whose lives are caught up with his once the fighting begins? Will they examine the young man for any sign of real courage – or will he slink away in shame?
The Scarlet Letter
Hester Prynne stands defiantly on a scaffold before hostile Puritans in seventeenth-century Boston, Massachusetts.
The baby in her arms and the bright scarlet letter ‘A’ on her gown are evidence and punishment for the shame she has brought on her religious neighbours.
Will Hester continue to conceal the name of the husband who sent her away from Europe years before as well as that of the father of her baby? Will the husband get his revenge on the man who has shamed him? Will that man admit his past, and join Hester and her daughter Pearl?
Or is the matter out of their hands, waiting to be decided between the forces of the Lord and of Satan?
The Call of the Wild
Buck recognised the wild brother. He was whining softly, and they touched noses. A second wolf, old and battle-scarred, came forward and sniffed noses with him; he sat down, pointed his nose at the moon, and broke out in a long wolf howl. Buck, too, sat down and howled.
Buck, a big, powerful dog, is kidnapped from his California home and sold as a sled dog in the Arctic. In his new environment he must learn quickly how to deal with man’s club and dog’s fang, or he will not be able to survive.
He is transformed by two opposing forces – his love for John Thornton who saved his life, and the memories that awaken within him of the ways of his ancestors, both dogs and wolves. How will Buck survive, and not just survive, but become a leader of dogs and eventually a leader of wolves?
What price will Edna Pontellier pay to be free?
She seems to have everything she needs – her loving husband Léonce, two beautiful children, and a wonderful home in turn-of-the-century New Orleans. But deep inside her burns a creative fire that longs to be unleashed.
One summer changes everything. When Edna meets Robert, she starts to question all that she was taught to believe. Is her comfortable marriage nothing more than a cage? Will she ever be able to explore her creativity and passion to the full? Is it possible for a woman to be responsible for the needs of others and still to live her own life to the full?
© Real Reads 2017.