We’re in the midst of another summer for new and exciting literature, and this month, Mitch Kaplan of Books & Books curates a list of fiction titles that make for great beach reads and excellent travel companions—whether your journey is external or internal. Also, all four novels are written by women.
The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
This 2020 Costa Book of the Year Award winner tells of an ancient woman named Aycayia whose punishment for beauty was a curse rendering her a mermaid, leaving her to wander the seas. In more present times, she finds herself ensnared in the fishing net of two American anglers visiting the fictional Black Conch island. David, a fisherman who drew the attention of Aycayia with his singing while he was out fishing back in 1973, comes to the rescue, taking her back to his house to take care of her. She finds herself starting to transform back into a human, leaving David to help her readjust to her new body and life. This exciting read navigates womanhood, jealousy, love and sexuality, all while portraying Caribbean mythology.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Gabrielle Zevin is the best-selling author of several critically acclaimed novels, including The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Young Jane Young. Her latest adventurous title with an echoing name explores the friendship of Sam and Sadie. Their relationship could be complicated at times, but is always held together by their love of video games. The two grow, drift apart and come back together, evolving from playing Super Mario Bros to designing and building their own video game together. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a story of friendship that touches on disability and identity, failure and success, and, above all, love in different forms.
Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark
Fellowship Point is about saving something that matters to you. Agnes Lee, a children’s book author, is determined to preserve a place in Maine called Fellowship Point. To do this, she has to convince those who are shareholders of the land to dissolve their partnerships. Agnes’ best friend Polly happens to be one of those people. Polly, torn between her best friend and her three sons’ desires, has to decide her course of action. The book explores the relationship between women, along with class divides and the protection of nature.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield
In this thoughtful narrative of a marriage tested by unforeseen circumstances, Leah is a marine biologist who sets out for an expedition via submarine when something goes wrong. After returning from being stranded at the bottom of the ocean, Leah is not herself. Her wife Miri notices that she’s distant, and can be found wandering the apartment lost in her thoughts. Whatever happened in that submarine, Leah is left to deal with the mental aftermath, and Miri is left wondering if her wife will ever be herself again.
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