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From A to X: A Story in Letters

A beautifully imagined story of love and resistance, by one of the foremost novelists of our age.
In the dusty, ramshackle town of Suse lives A’ida. Her insurgent husband Xavier has been imprisoned. Resolute, sensuous and tender, A’ida’s letters to the man she loves tell of daily events in the town, and of its motley collection of inhabitants whose lives flow through hers. But the town is under threat, and as a faceless power inexorably encroaches from outside, so the smallest details and acts of humanity assume for A’ida a life-affirming significance, acts of resistance against the forces that might otherwise extinguish them.

Reviews

  • “An exquisitely written and constructed novel.”
  • “Wrought with a miniaturist's precision.”
  • “John Berger has given us an exquisite thing. This is a book of controlled rage sculpted with tools of tenderness and a searing political vision.”
  • From A to X is one of the most tender and poignant books I have read for many years. Its power rests in its economy of means, its account of enduring love surviving oppression. It demonstrates that however foul the forces oppressing us, love and the human spirit are indestructible.”
  • “The record of one restless, committed, brilliant consciousness; a late showcase of astonishing range and depth, which should be read as an epic poem or lyrical essay as much as a novel.”

Blog

  • The Moment of Cubism

    In tribute to John Berger, who died on 2 January 2017, we excerpt ‘The Moment of Cubism’ from Landscapes, edited by Tom Overton. The 1967 essay of materialist art criticism, originally published in New Left Review, traces the lineages and legacies of Cubism. In it, Berger grapples with the sensation that “the most extreme Cubist works” – both “too optimistic and too revolutionary … to have been painted today” – are “caught, pinned down, in an enclave of time, waiting to be released and to continue a journey that began in 1907.”

    An interlocking world system of imperialism; opposed to it, a socialist international; the founding of modern physics, physiology and sociology; the increasing use of electricity, the invention of radio and the cinema; the beginnings of mass production; the publishing of mass-circulation newspapers; the new structural possibilities offered by the availability of steel and aluminium; the rapid development of chemical industries and the production of synthetic materials; the appearance of the motor-car and the aeroplane: What did all this mean?

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  • Good To Know You!

    Andy Merrifield pays tribute to John Berger, who passed away aged 90 on 2 January 2017. 

    John died yesterday. I’ll remember his voice, his laugh, his charm and generosity. His words. Stripped-down words, mystical and carefully chosen words, earthy words, fierce words. They’ll always grab us, make us think, feel and act, piss people off. To weep for John is to weep on the shoulder of life. Remember him, gazing up at Aesop, in front of Velázquez’s great canvas?  

    He’s intimidating, he has a kind of arrogance. A pause for thought. No, he’s not arrogant. But he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The presence of Aesop refers to nothing except what he has felt and seen. Refers to no possessions, to no institutions, to no authority or protection. If you weep on his shoulder, you’ll weep on the shoulder of his life. If you caress his body, it will recall the tenderness it knew in childhood.

    John didn’t suffer fools gladly, either. 


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  • Antiquarian and Revolutionary: Walter Benjamin

    Leading radical writer on art, John Berger, celebrates his ninetieth birthday this week. We're proud to have published many of his books, including the just-published Landscapes: John Berger on Art,a companion volume to Portraits: John Berger on Artists, both edited by Tom Overton. We have 40% off all the books on our John Berger bookshelf until Sunday 6th November to celebrate!

    In 'Antiquarian and Revolutionary: Walter Benjamin,' excerpted from Landscapes, Berger presents his singular engagement with one of his greatest enduring influences, the eclectic German critic and thinker Walter Benjamin. Widely considered to be the popularizer of the Benjamin's theories, Berger's seminal TV series Ways of Seeing made clear its relationship to Benjamin's influential 1935 essay 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'.


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Other books by John Berger

  • 9781784785840-max_141

    Landscapes

    “John Berger teaches us how to think, how to feel how to stare at things until we see what we thought wasn’t there. But above all, he teaches us how to love in the face of adversity. He is a master.” — Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things

    13 posts

  • 9781784781767-max_141

    Portraits

    “A volume whose breadth and depth bring it close to a definitive self-portrait of one of Britain’s most original thinkers” – Financial Times

    23 posts

  • 9781844676491-frontcover-max_141

    A Seventh Man

    New edition of this seminal exploration of migrant workers.

    21 posts