Maybe you’re lucky enough to be heading on a beach holiday this summer or perhaps you’re staying firmly inside to escape the heat and crowds. Either way, summer is traditionally the time for book round-ups and recommendations.
Here are my three recommended reads for the long summer days and nights ahead.
Journey By Moonlight
By Antal Szerb
An arrestingly dreamlike novel about a young man’s flight from his respectable life in pursuit of the ghosts of his past. Written with Szerb’s characteristic light touch, the story is funny, sad and spooky all at once. It is sure to set you adrift in a sea of nostalgic wistfulness.
The Hearing Trumpet
By Leonora Carrington
Carrington, who died earlier this year, was perhaps better known as a Surrealist artist than as an author and I chanced upon this book just browsing in my local library. In short: a group of bee-worshipping women in an old people’s home open a gate into hell and bring about a second ice age. A giddy mix of folklore, religious mysticism, hysteria and Surrealism, this short novel is compelling in every sense.
Wish Her Safe At Home
By Stephen Benatar
Rachel, a middle-aged woman who inherits a beautiful house in Bristol, descends (or is it ascends?) into a delusional fantasy life full of success, romance and vibrant colour. Brilliant and humorous, this novel richly portrays Rachel’s breezy and joyous teeterings along the edge of self-styled eccentricity and a very real madness.
And, of course, I couldn’t possibly talk about my book recommendations without mentioning Théophile Gautier’s My Fantoms! We named our album after this wonderful collection of short stories translated by Richard Holmes and hope that some of its haunting sensuality (and humour) rubbed off on our songs.