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The Best Escapist Fiction To Distance Yourself From The World

im电竞官网-Learn from a different reality via one of these transporting books

escapist fiction
Esquire

im电竞官网-There is a very good case for not turning away from the news right now, and for looking at things that pull you out of your comfort zone and make you see the world differently. That said, there are ways to do this that don't involve endlessly scrolling on your phone and instead seeking out experiences unlike your own in the pages of a book.

No form of escapism is more pure than a book, whose pages can pull you to the other side of the world and plant you in the middle of a stranger's life. Should you wish to escape reality for a while, these works offer distance from the familiar: whether that is another point in history, a different country to your own, or a point of view that feels more exciting than the here and now.

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1 An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
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im电竞官网-An unjust incarceration tears African-American newlyweds Celestial and Roy apart, leading to her finding comfort from her solitude in his best friend Andre. Jones' story is powerfully magnetic in drawing you into the lives of these people, showing the thousands of ripples that a wrongful conviction can have on people's lives and the will it takes to persevere under an unjust system.

2 Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
exciting times
W&N

Set in present day Hong Kong, Exciting Times catalogues the familiar yet strange world that ex-pat English teacher Ava finds herself in; a playground for bankers like her love interest Julian and intriguing new friend Edith. Told from a perspective deep inside Ava's mind. Dolan's caustic humour questions the ridiculousness of friendships, relationships, technology and so many other aspects of modern life.

3 Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
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The first novel from illustrious American novelist James Baldwin reckons with his own religious upbringing during the Thirties in Harlem, New York City. Like Baldwin, his protagonist Johnny Grimes struggles with living in the shadow of his abusive father, a simmering resentment that burns on the page in this intense novel which captures loneliness and deprivation so eloquently.

4 Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
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The film adaptation might have shot Aciman's novel, and star Timothée Chalamet, to fame, but the original material is well worth seeking out for its truly transportive prose. The story follows Elio, a precocious teenager spending the summer with his family in rural Italy where he falls for an older graduate student who comes to work with his father. A love story which makes you feel like you've had a summer romance in the sun-drenched fields of Italy by the last page.

5 The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
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New York Times best-selling author Brit Bennett tells the story of two identical twins who grow up in the South together, their lives later diverging when one lives with her black daughter in the same town while the other passes for white. The Vanishing Half im电竞官网-shows how a road can fork in two starkly different directions, how our appearance is what society judges us on and how the lives before us come to define our own.

6 Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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im电竞官网-Set in a gentrifying St. Paul, Minnesota, the location of this sprawling Franzen novel may not be that transportive, but the amount of life it captures makes you feel as though you've experienced 30 years after reading it. It follows Walter and Patty Berglund, as well as their children and good friend Richard Katz, zoning in on their extended family to examine the petty resentments and missed chances of life.

7 Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
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This remarkable debut novel follows Ada who, 'was born with one foot on the other side', as she grows up in Ezemi's native Nigeria. Freshwater looks at the Igbo idea of 'ogbanjeim电竞官网-' – a word which refers to a hostile spirit born into a human body. As such, the book fuses together fairytale – where the wild creatures are the spirits inside Ada – and the very real traumas of being a trans Nigerian writer.

8 Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
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Reading the New York Times writer's debut novel feels like falling into the upturned life of Dr Toby Fleishman, watching as he flounders after his wife vanishes, leaving him with his two children. Fleishman Is In Trouble masquerades as a fun but compulsive summer read, before revealing that something more sinister was there all along.

9 A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
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Salter's 1967 story aches with longing and is as sensually evocative today as it was when first published. The novel finds Yale dropout Phillip Dean rootless and driving through France, where he falls for a shopkeeper. They start a consuming affair, their romance a story of lust and desire which burns on every page.

10 The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
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The title of Kushner's 2018 novel takes its name from the strip club where narrator Romy dances in San Francisco, but the book opens with her serving time at brutal women's prison. Jumping between the two, we slowly learn what has led to her being imprisoned, all while exposing the casual violence, strange rituals and crushing isolation of inmate life.

11 Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James
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Marlon James, the Jamaican writer who won the Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings, here turns to fantasy with the story of a hunter who searches through a mythological Africa to find a lost child. On the way he finds others in search of the same boy, including a giant, a witch and a shape-shifting leopard. Branded an 'African Game of Thrones', James's novel is a more surreal addition to the fantasy genre than that epithet implies, one steeped in supernatural sightings.

12 The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
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In Emily St. John Mandel's previous novel, Station Elevenim电竞官网-, a pandemic flu wipes out most of earth's population leaving the survivors to roam what remains on earth. Luckily, her follow-up offers a little more escapism in its focus on a shimmering glass hotel on the edge of the waters of Vancouver Island, exploring the lives that intersect here and beyond the hotel walls.

13 There There by Tommy Orange
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Twelve characters' lives collide when they meet at the Big Oakland Powwow, where they are looking for answers to the problems in their lives. Orange, himself a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, tells the untold stories of modern native American communities in this tender debut which transports you through its lyrical prose.

14 Sex and Rage: A Novel by Eve Babitz
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Jacaranda –'"Jack-ah-ran-dah." as in jack-o'-lan-tern, the same rhythm' – is the barefoot heroine of Eve Babitz's iconic novel of Seventies LA's grit and glamour. Capturing the era during which Babitz herself was a writer's muse, Jacaranda introduces us to the parties and people of the time and covers herself in a cloud of drinking, drugs and men. Like The Great Gatsby, im电竞官网-but filled with surfing and drunken, sun-soaked afternoons.

15 Cherry by Nico Walker
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Escapist fiction doesn't have to mean light reading, as this darkly comic exploration of the drug crisis in Middle America shows. Based on the author's own story of army medic to nefarious criminal, it centres on an Iraq veteran who turns to robbing banks in order to fund the heroin addiction consuming him and his wife. Walker is currently serving 11 years in jail.

16 Outline by Rachel Cusk
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im电竞官网-The first in Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy is set over a series of conversation which the narrator, a novelist teaching writing while living in Athens, has with other people. Her writing is sparse and weightless, gives us glimpses of who people are through what they say and do not say, as though we are eavesdropping the whole time.

17 Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran
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im电竞官网-The wild excesses of all night disco dancing and long afternoons on Fire Island are ablaze in this story of New York’s Seventies gay scene, which is both a hilarious story of pleasure and a heart-wrenchingly tender look at a moment in time, just as it fades and crumbles.

18 Circe by Madeline Miller
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Circe, the daughter of Greek sun god Helios, is exiled to a foreign island for the way speaks and looks. There, she finds company in mortals and exercises her witchcraft by turning enemies into monsters. Circeim电竞官网- is an compelling journey into the characters of the Odyssey, filled with the suspicion and wrath that female independence draws.

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