What's On the bookshelf: 4 favourite books on isolation
Our friends at Emirates Literature Foundation share their four favourite isolation books…
Along with the rest of the world, the Emirates Literature Foundation team has been reading ferociously during this period of social distancing. And when we haven’t been reading, we have been thinking about books. We have also been talking about reading on our brand new podcast, the Boundless Book Club. We recently discussed isolation and books that in some way connect to physical and social segregation.
These are our favourite isolation books.
Men without Women, by Haruki Murakami
In seven short stories, Haruki Murakami lets us observe men who, for one reason or another, find themselves alone. Expect all the traits of a Murakami tale; vanishing cats, smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. This is another fantastic collection by one of the world’s greatest contemporary authors.
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
A father and his young son journey along the road through a charred, bleak and dangerous landscape. They are walking south to survive the winter. Everything is still and empty, yet alive with menace. All they have in the world is bundled in a trolley, while dangerous men stalk the road. If they are caught, they would lose more than just their possessions.
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The Road is an astonishing post-apocalyptic, Pulitzer Prize-winning modern classic. Perhaps not for the faint of heart. This novel will haunt your dreams for a long time.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
In late 1969, the handsome Chase Andrews is found dead. The locals of the small North Carolina coastal town immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. She has survived alone in the marsh for years using her smarts. Then two young men from the town become intrigued by her wild beauty. A vision of another life begins to form. For the first time, Kya is seeing possibilities – until the unthinkable happens.
The History of Wolves, by Emily Fridlund
This one-time Booker-nominated story is a beautifully told, heartbreaking tale of a lonely teenager in rural Minnesota, as she discovers the things people do and don’t do for love. Intrigued by the family that moves in across the lake, Linda begins babysitting the young boy, Paul and idolising his young mother Patra. But as the summer progresses, we learn together with Linda that all is not as it seems. Together we feel the slow creeping of horror of realisation as we struggle to understand that love is not a guarantee of safety.