Works that unveil the beauty of landscapes lost to nostalgia.
In her beloved Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Ann Brashares has created four startlingly distinct female characters–Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget–who capture the power and complexity of friendship. Now that the girls have grown up into adults with problems that go beyond the heartache of summer romance, the themes addressed in Brashares’ novels have grown darker and more complicated. But what endures, as evidenced by her new entry in the series, Sisterhood Everlasting, is the importance of staying close to the people who matter most. This week, Ann Brashares recommends three favorites.
By Giuseppe di Lampedusa
“This is an achingly beautiful novel set in Sicily during the Risorgimento. It was written by Lampedusa late in his life, and I believe it was rejected for publication until after his death. It is the story of a Sicilian Prince (the author himself was the 11th Prince of Lampedusa) watching the slow death of the old regime from his very high perch. A self-absorbed aristocrat, Don Fabrizio proves a strangely insightful and moving protagonist as he finds himself in a world he doesn’t know how to live in anymore.”
By Marc Reisner
“It’s subject is the history of water in the American West. If that strikes you as narrow, I promise it is not. By Reisner’s account the history of water is nothing less than the history of the West. His thesis is that the West is essentially an uninhabitable desert. Diverting the great rivers into countless dams allows (at least for the time) that region’s explosive population growth and stupendous food production. The way he writes about the exploration of the Colorado River is worth the price of the book alone.”
By Larry McMurtry
“Both a literary masterpiece and an old-fashioned Western page-turner. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t really want to read a book about a cattle drive,’ but it turned out I passionately did. I felt lucky to get to live inside the book for 800 pages, and at the end felt terribly mournful to leave. Gus McCrae is one of the all-time great characters. I just don’t see how you can’t love this book.”