6 Dazzling New Beach Reads (Plus 15 Classics)
Read them by the sea, by the pool, on the porch. Each one is secret
vacation inside your vacation.
5 of 21
The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
Having given up her artsy Seattle life as a photographer in order to
care for her elderly father, thirty-something Amina returns to her childhood
home of Albuquerque, N.M. Once there, she must confront not only her past but her
parents’ as well, revisiting an old disastrous visit to India and the tragedies
that subsequently resulted, including an act of arson. This is sprawling,
poignant, often humorous novel that’s worth missing cocktails on the deck in
order to finish a chapter. The pleasure of it comes in the world Mira Jacob so
evocatively creates: the family home in Southern India, suburban '80s America
(replete with cold war anti-nuke rallies), the quirky, lavish corporate culture
of the West Coast dotcom heyday. And let’s not overlook the emotional payoff. Told with humor
and sympathy for its characters, the book serves as a bittersweet lesson in the
binding power of family, even when we seek to break out from it. “Why is it
that fathers so often ensure the outcome they are trying to avoid?” Jacob asks.
An indispensable read whether your summer plans mean escaping from—or bracing
for—encounters with relatives.
— Elisabeth Witchel