Summer Reading: Part 2


Fiction set in a shared holiday house has become a cliché. But it’s still an interesting experience to read when you are actually in a holiday house yourself, shared or otherwise. Here are some of my favourites:


Summer’s Lease – John Mortimer (1988) Summer's Lease by John Mortimer

The first novel I ever came across set in a Tuscan holiday villa. Maybe Mortimor was ahead of his time. Witty and perceptive.





Love In Idleness – Amanda Craig (2003)

Love In Idleness by Amanda CraigAnother Tuscan idyll, comically riffing on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as both children and adults trespass in magical territory.





Swimming Home – Deborah Levy (2011)

This time the shared holiday house is in the south of France. An unlikely mix of characters and a jigsaw puzzle of emotional chaos.


The Red House – Mark Haddon (2012)

Closer to home, an extended family share a very recognisable holiday house on the Welsh border. As much mist and rain as sunshine here, so a typical British summer with tensions awash and a-sizzle.

Any suggestions that I have missed?



6 thoughts on “Summer Reading: Part 2

  1. ‘The Red House’ is near the top of my bedside pile… Sadly I can’t think of any titles in the category you describe though I’m sure I’ve seen two or three films with great British thespians on this theme, but those titles have also eluded me…

    • Maybe you are thinking of Summer’s Lease which was televised in 1989 by the BBC with Sir John Gielgud, Rosemary Leach, Susan Fleetood, Michael Pennington, and Leslie Philips in it. (Thanks to internet, as I couldn’t remember the stars – and that’s quite a roster, some once-familiar names I’d quite forgotten about.)

      • Yes, sounds familiar, but there’s a more recent one which I’m determined now to find…

        And congrats on new book, looking forward to acquiring a copy soon!

      • I’m intrigued…Are you thinking of Stealing Beauty, with Jeremy Irons and a young Liv Tyler?

        And I do urge you to read The Red House if you know the area around Hay-on-Wye, and especially if you’ve read Owen Sheers’ remarkable novel Resistance, which is set in the same area but during an alternative-reality World War 2. (Short cut: there’s a rather good film version, too.) Obviously, The Red House is a lighter story but, put together, I had a very strong and atmospheric impression of the local landscape, which I love in books. Move it to the top of your to-be-read pile!

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