Summer reads

One of the big summer books this year has been The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh. Described by the Guardian as proving that literary fiction and erotica need not be mutually exclusive and by one reviewer as 50 shades of lemon.

It is the story of 40 something Jenn and dull academic husband Gregg on holiday in beautiful Deia (Mallorca) with her 15 year old step-daughter Emily and her slightly older boyfriend Nate. Jenn’s already difficult relationship with Emily gets frazzled further and she is unable to resist the youthful attractions of Nate.

Fast paced but ultimately unconvincing, uneven and disappointing.

Coming out in paperback next week is The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson. It is a taut psychological thriller who bumps into a former girlfriend in a bar who had disappeared a decade earlier in bizarre circumstances. The novel swaps between the two time periods with increasing tension with plenty of twists along the way. Recommended.

As promised I have also read the new Martin Amis, Zone of Interest, this week. It is set in Auschwitz and narrated by three independent voices, Golo Thomsen a well connected dilettante liaising between the industrial Buna Werke and the camp, Paul Doll the increasingly deranged commandant and Schmulz, a Jewish Sonderkommando compromised by the mass murders. It is darkly comic with the distinctive sardonic Amis tone constantly in evidence. It sounds a recipe for disaster but I think he succeeds, not in giving us an understanding of the Warum or why, but at least in throwing a little bit more light into the nature of this particular evil.