The East End of Long Island
is a favorite getaway of mine and I was lucky enough to enjoy Memorial Day weekend there with my family. We ate some great meals, from Goldberg’s Bagels to Harvest on Fort Pond, visited Longhouse Reserve, the incredible outdoor sculpture garden, enjoyed a bit of beach time, took long walks and played a lot of Rummy Q.
We debated over the reason for the lack of crowds and came to the conclusion that everyone was either in Europe or at the Taylor Swift concert! We also had a lot of laughs, even at the expense of one of our own!
Perfect Beach Weekend Reading …
A few days prior I attended an author talk with Emma Cline at the East Hampton Library in conjunction with Book Hampton and I was intrigued. I bought her new book, was immersed immediately and finished it in a day!
The Guest by Emma Cline
In 2016 Emma Cline’s debut, The Girls, a story inspired by the Manson Family and the murder of actress Sharon Tate, was shortlisted for the John Leonard Award from the National Book Critics Circle and the Center for Fiction’s First novel Prize. I found her new novel, The Guest, even more enjoyable albeit very different. This one is focused on Alex, a 22 year old sex worker who is vacationing out east for a month with her self described boyfriend, a man in his 50s. Her drug dealer is after her for money, her roommates have essentially kicked her out, so with no place to return to, she deludes herself into thinking this temporary summer getaway can offer her a possible permanent new living arrangement. With Anna Delvey and Talented Mr. Ripley vibes, the con artist main character attempts to fool everyone, including herself, into thinking she belongs.
With lyrical prose I was tempted to read out loud, Emma Cline creates tension in this tight shot focused on Alex and her survival in a closed community. Alex is consistently on painkillers and disassociated from her own experiences as she observes the wealthy people who lead frictionless lives. Cline’s writing creates a feeling of urgency, setting the scenes in her mysterious story with the landscape and the ocean. The Guest is not a light and easy, typical beach book, but the perfect “anti-beach read” to read on the beach!
A Quitter’s Paradise by Elysha Chang
Reading this new book on the exact beach where I met Sarah Jessica Parker years ago seems fitting as this debut is the first book published by SJPs new imprint, SJPLit along with Zando Projects. In A Quitter’s Paradise, author Elysha Chang creates a humorous, flawed character who makes some questionable personal decisions that shake up her world, including her job and relationships. Choosing not to face the grief due to her mother’s death, Eleanor keeps secrets from her husband, quits her PHD program, does unapproved scientific research and kidnaps a lab animal. In the dual timeline, with the reveal of family secrets and the history of her parents in Taiwan, Chang provides the reader with reasons for Eleanor’s inner conflicts, allowing for greater understanding as it forces Eleanor to face her past and confront her present. A little dark and a lot funny, A Quitter’s Paradise is a worthwhile and enjoyable read.