Let’s face it, there are few such essential piece of holiday kit than the books you pack (you don’t pack…you download?? Oh, let’s not even go there…). Everyone can remember the mini break ruined by an unsatisfactory novel or the long train journey that seemed to go on forever because you had–gasp–nothing to read!
Here at West End Lane Books we take holiday recommendations very seriously. They’re like prescriptions, for heaven’s sake. How do you want to feel? Do you like your books fictional or real? Slow or high-octane? Here are some suggestions for this summer, from books we’ve most recently savoured…in no particular order
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell: keep this in your hand luggage, because you won’t want to be parted from it for long. Psychological drama involving a successful novelist and an aspiring student writer who becomes obsessed with her…or is it the other way around?
The Lie Of The Land by Amanda Craig. Beautifully written and realised, zeitgesity tale of our times: the Bredins can’t afford to divorce so they rent out their London home, move to a much cheaper pile in the country and plan to part when they’ve saved enough money. A post-Brexit story of money, desire, country and city.
The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser. Family and friends saga in shades of Elizabeth Jane Howard. Opes at a country house gathering in 1936; behind the country idyll there are already tensions set to combust. Travels through to the outbreak and end of WW2. A highly readable story of commitment, loyalty, duty and love.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Startlingly fresh, bright and impressive debut finds Dublin undergraduate friends and sometimes lovers Frances and Bobbi drawn into the milieu of 30 something alpha couple Melissa and Nick. Sophisticated, perceptive, funny and smart.
Dear Mr M by Herman Koch. More disturbingly dark and ingeniously plotted fiction from the quirky Dutch writer who can do no wrong as far as we’re concerned (remember The Dinner?). Here we have a ebbing, aging novelist and a devoted fan/stalker with a vested interest in the writer’s most famous work: the story of of a a teacher, his student, an affair and a brutal murder…although the body never did get found
Upstairs Room by Kate Murray Browne. An urban ghost story de nos jours. North London/gentrification/property prices/relationship anxiety…and an uneasy feeling about the house you can’t afford but have just bought