Yes, everybody is talking about this crazy heatwave, but come on, it’s summer what did you expect? Still, we feel like doing absolutely nothing except for chilling by the pool, a drink, some company or maybe a good book. And speaking of written pages, English writers can teach a thing or two about storylines centered on heat waves.
“I love England in a heat wave, It’s a different country. All the rules change.”
Should we take a look of some of the most famous “summery” English novels?
Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)
“Dearest Cecilia, You’d be forgiven for thinking me mad, the way I acted this afternoon. The truth is I feel rather light headed and foolish in your presence, Cee, and I don’t think I can blame the heat.”
Rash decisions and passionate love on the hottest day of summer trigger a series of events that only a “pen” can change.
Atonement is a novel that has to be read, possibly somewhere in the countryside, and if outside it’s pouring cats and dogs (not gonna happen anytime soon) the 2007 film adaptation can accompany you in a heartfelt inside afternoon.
The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley (1953)
“It all began with the weather defying me.”
The rising temperature sets the pace of Leo’s summer, a summer that changed his life, that took him from childhood to adulthood.
Here like the above-mentioned Atonement, a young messenger plays a crucial role. On the film adaptation, a curiosity, McEwan’s storyline was definitely inspired by Hartley’s one, and as per the movies, the older “version” of the characters are played by father and daughter in real life: Micheal Redgrave (Leo – The Go-Between) and Vanessa Redgrave (Briony – Atonement.)
Heat Wave by Penelope Lively (1996)
“Heat Wave” the title says it all.
The burning heat outside is not more suffocating than a mother’s worrisome feeling of history repeating itself. The hot summery countryside is the background of the fragility of the family described by the English author.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
“Only the sun was there to keep us company.”
The heat here is not the protagonist but reflects the unease of the characters, the sticky, humid and warm oppress the body just like traditions, intolerance and cultural ignorance oppress the mind.
By giving voice to Mr. Rochester’s first wife Antoinette (known in Jane Eyre as Bertha) the British Dominican-born author gave a voice to those who were not allowed to speak for themselves especially at a time when the Colonialism “destroyed” dignity and culture of many.
One Day by David Nicholls (2009)
“If it doesn’t rain, do you wanna do something? Me and you?”
And all the romantics out there are glad it did not rain.
Ok, let’s admit a hot summer has nothing to do with this story, but July 15th is summer alright, and Nicholls gave an all new meaning to St. Swithin’s Day.
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1591-1595)
“I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire.
The day is hot; the Capulets, abroad;
And if we meet we shall not ’scape a brawl,
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.”
Benvolio’s words speak for themselves; much “blame” can be put in hot weather!
There surely are so many more titles…but those are ones that came up in the HEAT of the moment 😉