What to pack along with the aftersun and flipflops? From novels about lesbian footballers and updated Greek classics to biographies and verse, our guest critics offer their holiday must-reads
Colm Tibn s exhilarating House of Names ( Viking 14.99) is a retelling of Aeschyluss drama on the sacrificing by Agamemnon of his daughter Cassandra and its tragic outcomes, including the murder of Agamemnon by his wife, Clytemnestra. The book has a controlled, hushed quality, like that of a Morandi still life, which only serves to heighten the terror and pity of the tale. Michael Longley s latest collection, Angel Hill ( Jonathan Cape 10) what a genius he has for titles is at once lush and elegiac, delicate and muscular, melancholy and thrilling. I shall not be going anywhere hate vacations but will stay blithely at home, rereading Evelyn Waugh s second world war Sword of Honour trilogy( Penguin 14.99 ). Pure bliss.
With five children to entertain, Im not sure how much read Ill actually do on holiday in Santander this summer, but fortunately I have already romped through my best summer books.
Haunted by the shadow of a parent killed in a motorbike collision, William Giraldi s The Heros Body ( No Exit Press 9.99) is a terse, gripping memoir set in working-class New Jersey. Giraldis hyper-masculine childhood is a foil for his revelations on the true fragility of male identity. I loved Elizabeth Day s glamorous thriller The Party ( 4th Estate 12.99 ), about a sinister secret between two friends that unravels in midlife. Days writing is both elegant and claustrophobic, and profoundly revealing of how entrenched questions of class remain today. I could not put it down. And I galloped through Mr Darleys Arabian ( John Murray 25 ), Christopher McGrath s brilliantly colorful cavort through the extraordinary ponies and scandalous characters who make up the history of British horse racing.