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Djuna Barnes

Lose yourself in the tortured love lives of expats in 1920s Paris in this iconic cult classic.

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Lose yourself in the tortured love lives of expats in 1920s Paris in this iconic cult classic.

Nightwood is itself. It is its own created world, exotic and strange, and reading it is like drinking wine with a pearl dissolving in the glass … From now on, a part of you is pearl-lined.’
Jeanette Winterson

‘Like a dark lesbian genius rolling in a giant heap of damp, dead leaves. What a great, shaking, grieving party this book is — the best.’ Eileen Myles

‘I read with the aching intensity of a person possessed … The story of passion and grief, of exile and loneliness, spoke directly to me, a young woman who [never] felt she quite belonged … A hymn to the dispossessed, the misbegotten and those who love too much. Siri Hustvedt

tells the stories of the love-lives of a group of American expats and Europeans in Paris in the 1920s – an exotic, night-time underworld, eccentric, seedy and beautiful. A modernist masterpiece, and one of the earliest novels to explicitly portray homosexuality, the influence of Djuna Barnes’s novel remains exceptional.

‘A bold, exceptionally well-written modernist prose poem … The closest thing to James Joyce.’ Andre Aciman

‘The great achievement of a style, the beauty of phrasing, the brilliance of wit and characterisation, and a quality of horror and doom very nearly related to that of Elizabethan tragedy.’ T.S. Eliot

‘One of the greatest books of the twentieth century.’ William S. Burroughs

‘A writer of wild and original gifts … To her name there is always to be attached the splendor of Nightwood, a lasting achievement of her great gifts and eccentricities — her passionate prose and, in this case, a genuineness of human passions.’ Elizabeth Hardwick


Djuna Barnes was born in 1892 in Cornwall-on-Hudson in New York State. In 1912 she enrolled as a student at Pratt Institute and then at the Art Students’ League, and while she was there she started to work as a reporter and illustrator for the Brooklyn Eagle. In 1921 she moved to Paris, where she lived for almost twenty years…

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