Top Five Summer Releases

Emma Castle
7th Feb 2017

If taking a chance on Book Depository bestsellers is your kind of thing, you will invariably wind up with a mixed bag of literary lollies.

Lucky for you, dear reader, we’ve already done the work so you don’t wind up the bookish equivalent of a pile of black jellybeans. Here’s the summer reads that made the grade this year.

1. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

A young woman living an underachieving existence in London accompanies her illness-riddled mother to a Spanish seaside town. While the mother undergoes paralysis treatment at an unorthodox clinic in the hills, the daughter explores her sexuality with a local lifeguard and a visiting Dutch seamstress. This story delves into themes of martyrdom, the push/pull relationships of women and the sticky ennui of a long, hot summer spent in isolation.

2. Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner

This collection of essays by one of Australia’s best known authors has the sharp steel edge characteristic of all of Garner’s work. Observations are cobbled together in an almost conversational way, stopping and starting, dealing in trivialities and family moments. Woven amongst the everyday, there are recollections of grief; a father’s death, a friend’s funeral, the heartbreak of being in love with a married man. Garner’s gimlet eye is as revealing and clear as ever.

3. Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain

This story is written from four points of view; a scorned wife, an estranged husband, a mother and a sister. Set between the rainy suburbs of Melbourne and the wild mountains of the Victorian bush, this is as much the story of a family unravelling as it is the tale of what held it together in the first place. Tenderness without sentimentality is rare and what makes this book even more poignant is that author Blain died from cancer soon after it was published.

4. The Good People by Hannah Kent

Yet another grim gem from the author that gave us Burial Rites, The Good People explores the case of a young boy murdered in a 19th century Irish village. Pathos for the victim is secondary to the scandal-mongering, superstition and abject desperation of the characters as they navigate their way between the emerging world of the hard line church, fairy folklore and the dark realities of sharing limited resources with neighbours during a long winter.

5. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Two frenemies who have been reluctantly stuck together since childhood find themselves socialising at a neighbour’s BBQ when something happens that will change their lives forever. This book follows the fall-out of the incident, revealing hidden weaknesses, dark truths and shocking soft spots. Moriarty extracts maximum grip from one central scene, and weaves a clever web around it that leaves the reader wriggling in anticipation.