5 summer beach books

You’ve been waiting for this all year: the moment when you can finally stretch out near the waves and open a book. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of books to pack in your suitcase.

Cover photo: Vlad Patana

#1 Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi

In the alleyways of Tehran, we follow the destiny of Nasser Ali Khan, a talented musician immersed in sadness after he breaks his instrument. Chicken with Plums is the other masterpiece by Iranian author Marjane Satrapi, better known for her Persepolis saga. In this graphic novel, we embark on a sensorial journey, in which art and music unfurl in all their splendour. Incredibly delicate, the illustrations transport us from the beach to a dreamlike world, at the border between reality and the imagination.

88 pages, published in France by L’Association (€15)

#2 The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

It’s a story of destinies, crossed paths and Freudian slips. Juggling harmoniously between past and present, Miranda Cowley Heller retraces the life of Elle, a woman, mother and wife who had an affair for the first time with her best friend Jonas the day before. Between the life that she built with her husband Peter and her three children, and the one she imagined from childhood with Jonas, Elle takes us from one memory to the next. A poetic story that you’ll return to with pleasure between dips in the ocean.

372 pages, published in France by Penguin (€16)

#3 Their Children After Them by Nicolas Mathieu

Based on his native Lorraine region, Nicolas Mathieu pulls us deep into the lives of teenagers in rural areas, of which we know so little. A savvy look at the social diversity of these adolescents, and later young adults, that implicitly analyses this meeting ground for youth from very different horizons (residential, rural, urban or bourgeois areas). We see them grow up collectively, while each takes their destiny in hand. Over the space of four summers (with a lapse of two years between each period), we witness their first setbacks and savour slices of life steeped in the carefree feeling of youth.

425 pages, published in France by Actes Sud (€22.80)

#4 People who lunch: essays on work, leisure & loose living by Sally Olds

Across a series of essays, Australian author Sally Olds probes themes of work, need, money, love and pleasure. Her own curiosity fuels all these stories, driving her to explore how precariousness completely changes how we see life. An array of subjects that can be enjoyed in any order.

220 pages, Upswell Publishing (€25)

#5 De purs hommes by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr

The book opens with a couple watching a video of a man’s body being dug up from his tomb and thrown out of the cemetery where he rested in peace just moments earlier. By weaving the life story of this unknown man, Senegalese novelist Mohamed Mbougar Sarr delves into the issue of homosexuality on the African continent. As he does so, he raises a number of questions … How can you find the courage to be fully yourself? How can you do this without betraying or lying to yourself? What is the price to pay? A deeply moving text on so many levels.

132 pages, published in France by LGF/Le Livre de Poche (€7.70)

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