Whew! With no end to this heat wave in sight, I think I’ll stay in and curl up with a good book this summer.
First up, I plan on reading Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision (Lookout Books). Not only did Pearlman win the PEN/Malamud award for this book, she received stunning reviews from Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, and the LA Times. I’m a sucker for stories that take me around the world: in Pearlman’s case, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. I can’t wait to travel with this one!
Next on my list is The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obreht. Another starred review from PW, this book follows Natalia, a doctor, as she crosses the border in search of answers about the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her on tales from the village he grew up in, and where, following German bombardment in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo in a nearby city and befriended a mysterious deaf-mute woman. If this line from Booklist’s starred review doesn’t pull you in, I don’t know what will: “Moments of breathtaking magic, wildness, and beauty are paired with chilling episodes in which superstition overrides reason; fear and hatred smother compassion; and inexplicable horror rules.”
And if you’re a fan of history and literature about North Carolina (of course you are, if you’re reading this blog), you’ll want to know my last pick: The Watery Part of the World, by Michael Parker. This book weaves together two historical anecdotes: the first a tale of Theodosia, daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr, who is left for dead off the Carolina coast after her ship is attacked by pirates, and the second a story of the last remaining residents of the same North Carolina island in 1970. Both sets of island people forge indelible allegiances to each other, linked as they are by blood and water.
Here’s to staying cool and reading some good books this summer!