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Classic Stories of Summer

Posted on 15th June 2021 by Mark Skinner

With the coming months promising more glorious sunshine, get yourself in the summer mood with these iconic and evocative novels. Whether set in the sun-dappled gardens of an English stately home or the scorching heat of Western Africa, these stories of summer will transport you to idyllic locations packed with passion, intrigue and drama.  

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Written with a pace as blistering as the South East Asian sun, Alex Garland’s Generation X thriller of backpacker meltdown in Thailand has become a cult classic.
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Brilliantly capturing her young narrator's voice, Sagan's stiletto-sharp novella of entitlement, impetuosity and cruel tragedy on the Riviera is an ice-cool slice of essential summer fiction.
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Tom Ripley, charming yet petulant, reckless yet calculating, is one of the great literary anti-heroes, and his shocking actions across the jet-set Europe of the 1950s have thrilled and appalled millions of voracious readers.
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Opening outwards from a keenly observed summer wedding drawn from the cream of the East Coast’s Black bourgeoisie, West’s neglected classic grows to encompass five generations of a remarkable American family.
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A decade after his phenomenal bestseller One Day, David Nicholls returns with a bittersweet and brilliantly funny coming-of-age tale, that explores - over one life-changing summer - the transformative impact of first love in an ordinary life.
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The culmination of a hugely ambitious and fast-paced literary project, Summer continues the interplay between the recent past and modern day society that marked out Smith's preceding works as so resonant and insightful.
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A beautiful, understated examination of platonic love and profound friendship from the Nordic maestro, The Summer Book basks in the glow of a long Finnish summer as an elderly artist and her young granddaughter begin to develop a devoted bond.
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Arguably the first English novel and still the ultimate castaway narrative, Defoe’s iconic tale of shipwreck and survival retains its exoticism and adventure into the twenty-first century.
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Richly evocative of the heat, both intoxicating and oppressive, of Nigeria, Adichie’s profoundly affecting coming-of-age tale brings its protagonist Kambili out from the destructive influence of a fanatical father and into a world of love and laughter with her aunt.
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Intoxicatingly written, with a cast of characters to instantly fall for, Reid's debut is a nostalgia-fuelled trip into the hedonistic world of 70's L.A and the stratospheric rise and fall of a band whose sound defined an era.
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A quartet of indomitable women gather on the shores of the Mediterranean determined to transform their fortunes in Von Arnim’s light, enchanting character study written with exquisite poise and tenderness.
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From dope smuggling to unrequited love, a vacationing Poirot is dragged into investigating the murder of a sultry femme fatale on the English Riviera in one of Christie’s most accomplished and satisfying whodunits.
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An elegiac meditation on nature, loss and the passing of time, Carr’s classic novella is a moving account of two men trying to reclaim the peace and contentment they knew before the Great War.
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A tender-hearted, ebullient adventure across Afghanistan in the wake of the US invasion, 99 Nights in Logar sets a quartet of young friends on a quixotic quest to find a missing dog.
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Set amidst the snobbery and society of the interwar British aristocracy, The Pursuit of Love mines Nancy Mitford’s own larger-than-life experiences for an exquisitely funny comedy of manners and frothy coming-of-age tale.
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Suffused with the aroma and tang of the chocolatier’s art, Harris’s sensuous evocation of passion and intrigue in a picturesque French village has attained the status of a modern classic.
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A paean to the fading glamour and privilege of the interwar aristocracy, Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Flyte family and their opulent stately pile stands as the ultimate country house novel.
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Set in the author’s beloved small-town New England and filled with all the bittersweet promise of frustrated desire and forbidden love discovered and undone, Summer follows the tragic progress of Charity Royall and the passionate affair she begins with a charismatic outsider.
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Suffused with the exotic passion of Sufi mysticism and couched in lyrical prose, Shafak’s paean to rediscovering love and identity is an exquisitely judged testament to faith and belief.
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Lucy Honeychurch has her horizons broadened by a stimulating visit to the Pension Bertolini in Forster’s exquisite comedy of manners and hymn to the vitality and creative passion of early 20th century Florence.
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Heart-breaking and evocative, Call Me By Your Name chronicles the sexual awakening of seventeen-year-old Elio at the hands of the experienced Oliver in the warmth of the Italian Riviera.
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