• “A tremendous novel--droll, savvy, original. An invigorating blast of fiction.”
    --William Boyd, Author of Any Human Heart and Restless.”
    A hurricane sweeps off the Gulf of Mexico and, in the back country of Alabama, assembles a passenger jet out of old bean cans and junkyard waste. This piques the interest of the enigmatic Directorate of the Extremely Improbable. Their fascination with this random event sets into motion a madcap caper that will bring together a hilarious cast of characters, including: an eccentric mathematician, last heard of investigating the physics of free will; a lovelorn Cambridge postgraduate who has set off to America with a ring in his pocket and hope in his heart; and a member of the Directorate with no capacity for imagination. What ensues is a chaotic chase across a fully realized, hyper-real America, haunted by madness, murder, mistaken identity, and conspiracy. The Coincidence Engine is a lively, boisterous debut that heralds the arrival of a major new talent.

  • Anglais Lord Berners

    Leith Sam

    Here lies Lord Berners/One of life's learners,Thanks be to the Lord/He was never bored.So reads the epitaph on the gravestone of Lord Berners. In its witty way, it hints at his range of accomplishment. He was a composer (admired by Stravinsky), writer, painter, aesthete and eccentric, indeed in Mark Amory's words 'The Last Eccentric', famously dyeing the pigeons at his house, Faringdon, in vibrant colours, and, for a time, having a giraffe as a pet and tea companion. His literary and artistic milieu was glittering: Stravinsky, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Siegfried Sassoon, John Betjeman, the Sitwells, Harold Nicolson, Frederick Ashton and Gertrude Stein - they all belonged to it.In fiction, he was famously portrayed as Lord Merlin in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love.'As social history and a chronicle of a mad-cap English eccentric this long awaited, much needed and beautifully written book is, to use a simple cliché, indispensable.' Alexander Waugh, Literary Review'In Amory, this engaging character has found the ideal biographer. Getting the exact measure of its subject throughout, written in a dry, wittily ironic prose ... the biography offers of sheer bliss.' Gilbert Adair, Sunday Times

  • Once seen as a prediction of the sinking of the Titanic, The Wreck of the Titan was written fourteen years before that ill-fated event of 1912. Now, on the centenary anniversary of the sinking, the striking similarities between the fate of the Titan and Titanic can be examined again in this new edition. In this 1898 novella, John Rowland, a disgraced former Royal Navy lieutenant, has taken employment as a lowly deck hand aboard the largest ship ever to have sailed, the Titan. One night in deep fog in the North Atlantic, the Titan strikes a gigantic iceberg and sinks almost immediately. The foreword is by Sam Leith, who has examined chance and coincidence in his novel, The Coincidence Machine.

  • Anglais Sod's Law

    Leith Sam

    To every explorer with his map upside down, to every air-traffic controller suddenly receiving Magic FM through his headphones, to every astronomer whose new planet turns out to be a bit of bran-flake on the eyepiece of his telescope, Sod's Law says: you are not alone. Sam Leith tells the hilarious - and painful - stories of the unsinkable boat that sunk, the unbeatable horse that lost, and the fireproof theatre that burned to the ground. Sod's Law demonstrates that the entire universe is actually set up to ensure that your toast always lands butter side down and, what's more, that it lands precisely where the cat has shed hair all over the carpet.In this age of doubt, fewer and fewer of us are able to believe that a higher power takes an interest in our fate. This book reassures us that indeed it does - and that that higher power is hell bent on buggering things up. Only by laughing heartlessly at the misfortunes of others can we make ourselves feel better. Sod's Law enables us to do just that.To every explorer with his map upside down, to every air-traffic controller suddenly receiving Magic FM through his headphones, to every astronomer whose new planet turns out to be a bit of bran-flake on the eyepiece of his telescope, Sod's Law says: you are not alone. Sam Leith tells the hilarious - and painful - stories of the unsinkable boat that sunk, the unbeatable horse that lost, and the fireproof theatre that burned to the ground. Sod's Law demonstrates that the entire universe is actually set up to ensure that your toast always lands butter side down and, what's more, that it lands precisely where the cat has shed hair all over the carpet.In this age of doubt, fewer and fewer of us are able to believe that a higher power takes an interest in our fate. This book reassures us that indeed it does - and that that higher power is hell bent on buggering things up. Only by laughing heartlessly at the misfortunes of others can we make ourselves feel better. Sod's Law enables us to do just that.

  • Anglais You Talkin' To Me?

    Sam Leith

    Rhetoric is what gives words power. It's nothing to be afraid of. It isn't the exclusive preserve of politicians: it's everywhere, from your argument with the insurance company to your plea to the waitress for a table near the window. It convicts criminals (and then frees them on appeal). It causes governments to rise and fall, best men to be shunned by brides, and people to march with steady purpose towards machine guns.
    In this highly entertaining (and persuasive) book, Sam Leith examines how people have taught, practised and thought about rhetoric from its Attic origins to its twenty-first century apotheosis. Along the way, he tells the stories of its heroes and villains, from Cicero and Erasmus, to Hitler, Obama - and Gyles Brandreth.

  • A hurricane sweeps off the Gulf of Mexico and in, the back-country of Alabama, assembles a passenger jet out of old bean-cans and junkyard waste. An eccentric mathematician - last heard of investigating the physics of free will and ranting about the devil - vanishes in the French Pyrenees. And the thuggish operatives of a multinational arms conglomerate are closing in on Alex Smart - a harmless Cambridge postgraduate who has set off with hope in his heart and a ring in his pocket to ask his American girlfriend to marry him.
    At the Directorate of the Extremely Improbable - an organisation so secret that many of its operatives aren't 100 per cent sure it exists -- Red Queen takes an interest. What ensues is a chaotic chase across an imaginary America, haunted by madness, murder, mistaken identity, and a very large number of unhealthy but delicious snacks. The Coincidence Engine exists. And it has started to work.
    The Coincidence Engine is consistently engaging - one of the most enjoyable, entertaining debut novels you'll come across for ages.

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