10 ESCAPIST SUMMER READS

No matter where you are in the world, an evocatively written book can transport you to destinations far and wide. From a coming-of-age tale on the sun-soaked island of Hydra, to a story of self-discovery spanning Rome, India and Bali, these are the escapist reads on our summer reading list.

 

A THEATRE FOR DREAMERS, POLLY SAMSON 

After escaping her controlling father in London, 18-year-old Erica travels to the idyllic island of Hydra to spend an endless summer among the resident bohemian community of writers, musicians and painters. Love, heartbreak, grief, hope – passions burn as brightly at the Mediterranean heat of 1960's Greece.

 

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, ELENA FERRANTE 

The first novel in Ferrante's celebrated Neapolitan Quartet, this immersive tale centres around Elena and Lila, two best friends who live in a vibrant neighbourhood in Naples, Italy. Starting in the 1950's, follow the friendship as it unfolds, twisting and turning as the city around it also transforms.

 

PACHINKO, MIN JIN LEE

The story starts in a small fishing village on the banks of the East Sea, where Sunja falls pregnant by a wealthy stranger. On discovering he is already married, she refuses to become his mistress and accepts a proposal from a sickly minister to move to Osaka, Japan as his new wife. A tale of survival, identity, love and death spanning over eighty years and four generations, the novel travels from bustling street markets to university halls and the pachinko parlours of the criminal underworld. 

 

 

 

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, ANDRÉ ACIMAN

During a long hot summer in the coastal town of Bordighera, 17-year-old Elio becomes infatuated with a guest staying at his parents' cliffside mansion. The two embark on an intense romance, fraught with desire and longing. An absorbing read filled with love, angst and the sun-drenched atmosphere of the Italian Riviera. 

 

EAT PRAY LOVE, ELIZABETH GILBERT

This acclaimed memoir follows author Elizabeth Gilbert, as she undertakes an epic yearlong, solo journey of self-discovery and spiritual-awakening. After getting divorced, Gilbert quits her job and travels around the world to gain a new perspective on life, discovering the art of enjoyment (and pasta) in Rome, devotion in India, balance and unexpected love in Bali.

 

THE ISLAND OF MISSING TREES, ELIF SHAFAK

In a honeysuckle-covered taverna in Cyprus, teenagers Kostas and Defne meet in secret to conduct their star-crossed love affair. An old fig tree – the only witness to their hushed meetings – becomes a physical manifestation of their blossoming love, and an enduring beacon of hope after the outbreak of war forces the young lovers to flee their homeland. 

 



TENDER IS THE NIGHT, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

In the late 1920s, glamorous couple Dick and Nicole Diver rent a villa in the South of France where they play host to a group of equally dazzling American expatriates, including film star Rosemary Hoyt. As passion sparks between Dick and Rosemary, Nicole and her husband's relationship unravels with devastating effect. Romance and tragedy set against a backdrop of the French Riviera during the twilight of the Jazz Age. 

 

THE PAPER PALACE, MIRANDA COWLEY HELLER

On a sunny August morning, Ellie Bishop takes a swim in the freshwater pond below her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. Suddenly she recalls a passionate encounter with her childhood sweetheart the night before, as her husband stood talking to her mother inside. What follows is a story of love, lies and secrets that spans decades and unfolds dramatically over twenty four hours. 

 

CATCH THE RABBIT, LANA BASTAŠIĆ

When Sara’s best friend, Lejla, asks her to come home, she packs up her life in Dublin and returns to Bosnia. The two embark on a road trip across the country to find Lejla’s missing brother. In doing so, Sara is forced to travel through her past, reconsidering the relationship between her and her best friend, and the social and religious forces that took their lives down different paths. 

 

MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS, GERALD DURRELL

Switching rainy England for sunny climes, the Durrell family set up home on the island of Corfu. Here, 10-year-old Gerald along with his mother and siblings, live an unconventional and happily chaotic life among the local fauna and wildlife. Frogs in the bath, butterflies in the bedroom – this witty autobiography is a full immersion into nature.

THE JOURNAL

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