8 Vintage books to take you places (no passport required)

Whether you’ll be spending the warmer months catching some rays in the garden, on a gondola in Venice, or in a hammock on a pristine Caribbean beach, you’ll need a summer story to keep you company. From the mango tree-lined streets of Ceylon to the docks of Georgian London, be transported by a great book this summer, wherever you are.

1.The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

On a September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock’s life is turned upside down when one of his captains sells one of his ships for a ‘mermaid’. Take a journey through the parlours, brothels and coffee shops of Georgian England within the pages of this escapist summer jaunt.

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2.Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

From the author of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje’s new book is ideal for those who like their summer reads with a side order of intrigue. In post-war London, 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. A dozen years later Nathaniel sets out to uncover the truth behind their shadowy carer, a thrilling and vivid journey you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from.

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3.So Much Life Left Overby Louis de Bernières

For a family epic spanning continents, it has to be this sweeping, heartbreaking novel from Louis de Bernières. We follow Daniel in his troubled marriage with Rosie who have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder every day. True to life, their story is humorous and tragic, and this is a brilliant portrayal of the extraordinary interwar years both in England and abroad.

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4.The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Loved Orange is the New Black? Meet Romy Hall, a former lap dancer at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Severed from her San Francisco home and her seven-year-old son, Jackson, with only the absurdities of institutional living for comfort; Romy’s story is told with such blistering wit and urgency, you’ll be on the edge of your poolside deckchair.

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