17 Books That Will Transport You to Another World
Let these beguiling novels help you travel back in time,
around the globe or straight into the fantastic.
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I suppose this is really a travel book," writes Diane
Johnson—known for Le
Divorce and her other novels set in Paris—in her breezy
memoir, which moves from contemporary France to the 18th-century Illinois
frontier. Prompted by a French friend's comment about Americans'
"indifference to history," Johnson reconstructs the lives of her
Midwestern ancestors and her own small-town upbringing, drawing connections
between the two, such as her rustic childhood summers on Lake Huron, where her
parents "loved living the life of forbearers." Johnson's
admirers will be hooked on her candid reports of her own adult life, so
different from her great-great-grandmother in her log cabin: the summer
internship at Mademoiselle with Sylvia Plath, working with
Kubrick writing The Shining, escaping an unhappy marriage by
taking her four young children to live in London. But it's her insights that
will delight any reader, on subjects as varied as the redeeming qualities of
gossip to the worldview of petite women and how "the lives of people long
ago are so unlike and so like ours." In the tradition of her
pioneering ancestors, Johnson is a seeker, including in that most risky of all
places, the blank page.
— Amy Shearn