Choose Your Own Adventure
Who needs planes, trains and automobiles? You can still get away this summer by traveling through these new novels’ imagined worlds. Ticket prices are low, security’s a breeze, and you still get to select your dream destination.
Turn to: The Painter from Shanghai , by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Why: Because every seductive detail of famous 20th-century painter Pan Yuliang’s life story (she's sold into a brothel at 14 and later flees to Paris because of her controversial painted nudes) makes your life melt away.
Turn to: Real World , by Natsuo Kirino
Why: Her unflinching depiction of five Tokyo teens unravels the truth about Japan’s youth — uncovering why they aren’t merely obsessed with cartoon characters and murder can seem like joyful escape.
Where: Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Sicily
Turn to: The Size of the World by Joan Silber
Why: Just because you’re not leaving familiar digs to shack up in a foreign country doesn’t mean reading about characters who do— while engaging in cross-cultural affairs and suspect business ventures — won’t be just as transformative.
Where: North Africa, Europe and Americaa
Turn to: Theft by N.S. Koenings
Why: These five entrancing stories leap across continents, collide with global cultures, and illuminate desires universal to all characters, including a Belgian socialite awakened by her American goddaughter, a British medium haunted by an African ghost, or you—local girl with nose in a book.
Turn to: Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis
Why: Spirited 12-year-old Nenita searches for the heart of her life, in love, friendship, travel, stories, and of course food.
Where: 1930s Honolulu
Turn to: Murder Casts a Shadow by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl
Why: Bishop Museum’s portrait of King Kalakaua has been stolen, its curator abducted, people murdered, a reporter and playwright sent to investigate—and you’ll beg to be along for the ride from the first intriguing and unconventional lines.