Hurrah, it’s that time of year again, when I skip these shores for a couple of weeks of rest, relaxation and reading.
First up are a couple of books I wrote about a couple of weeks ago: ‘Offshore’ by Penelope Fitzgerald and ‘The Librarian’ by Salley Vickers. Next is ‘Returning to Riems’ by Didier Eribon. This was first published a few years ago but has just been reprinted in this fine Allen Lane version. It is a book which influenced Edouard Louis when writing ‘The End of Eddy’ in that it concerns Eribon, a respected writer and academic, returning to his small-town working class roots to survey what has happened to his people since his departure and how his own separation has affected him and his relations with them.
A final choice, and my attempt to read native literature when abroad, is Javier Marias collection of short stories, ‘When I was Mortal’. I don’t know much about Marias, except that he is an ‘internationally respected writer’ and that this collection of stories has been described as ‘Worldly, elegant, detached, this modern Spanish Dr. Watson discovers a lurid world of greed, lust and murder under every seemingly innocuous encounter.’
Of course, there may still be additions and substitutions to the list before I finally get on the plane…after all, what is a holiday without an Agatha Christie?
P.S. A day to go and, yes, another slender tome added to my haul: ‘Parfums’ by Philippe Claude. I stumbled across this a while ago in a bookshop, attracted by the pretty cover…and intrigued by the premise: ‘In sixty three elusive episodes we roan freely across the countryside of Lorraine, north-east France, from kitchen to farm to a lover’s bed.’ ‘Recognising the bittersweet nostalgia of a scent that slips away on the summer breeze‘, these episodes have intriguing titles: ‘Mist’; ‘Cellar’; ‘Cemetery’; ‘Communal Shower’; ‘Umbellifers’; ‘Prison’; ‘Waking Up’ and ‘Old Age’ to select just a few.