Esquire's profile image

The Best Escapist Fiction To Distance Yourself From The World

5 Books | by Esquire

Freedom

Freedom

Books

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz—outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom's characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.
Fleishman Is in Trouble

Fleishman Is in Trouble

Books

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NATIONAL BOOK AWARD LONGLIST * "A feminist jeremiad nested inside a brilliant comic novel--a book that makes you laugh so hard you don't notice till later that your eyebrows have been singed off."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE'S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK * NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY AND THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review * Time * The Washington Post * Vanity Fair * Vogue * NPR * Chicago Tribune * GQ * Vox * Refinery29 * Elle * The Guardian * Real Simple * Parade * Good Housekeeping * Marie Claire * Town & Country * Evening Standard * Kirkus Reviews * BookPage * BookRiot * Shelf Awareness A finely observed, timely exploration of marriage, divorce, and the bewildering dynamics of ambition from one of the most exciting writers working today Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this. As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place. A searing, utterly unvarnished debut, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an insightful, unsettling, often hilarious exploration of a culture trying to navigate the fault lines of an institution that has proven to be worthy of our great wariness and our great hope. Alma's Best Jewish Novel of the Year "Blisteringly funny, feverishly smart, heartbreaking, and true, Fleishman Is in Trouble is an essential read for anyone who's wondered how to navigate loving (and hating) the people we choose."--Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest "From its opening pages, Fleishman Is in Trouble is shrewdly observed, brimming with wisdom, and utterly of this moment. Not until its explosive final pages are you fully aware of its cunning ferocity. Taffy Brodesser-Akner's debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page-turner with heft."--Maria Semple
The Mars Room

The Mars Room

Books

TIME’S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR • NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018 FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and the NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL An instant New York Times bestseller from two-time National Book Award finalist Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room earned tweets from Margaret Atwood—“gritty, empathic, finely rendered, no sugar toppings, and a lot of punches, none of them pulled”—and from Stephen King—“The Mars Room is the real deal, jarring, horrible, compassionate, funny.”It’s 2003 and Romy Hall, named after a German actress, is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: her young son, Jackson, and the San Francisco of her youth. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, portrayed with great humor and precision. Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room is “wholly authentic…profound…luminous” (The Wall Street Journal), “one of those books that enrage you even as they break your heart” (The New York Times Book Review, cover review)—a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined and “affirms Rachel Kushner as one of our best novelists” (Entertainment Weekly).
Freshwater

Freshwater

Books

A National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Honoree Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize A New York Times Notable Book One of the most highly praised novels of the year, the debut from an astonishing young writer, Freshwater tells the story of Ada, an unusual child who is a source of deep concern to her southern Nigerian family. Young Ada is troubled, prone to violent fits. Born “with one foot on the other side,” she begins to develop separate selves within her as she grows into adulthood. And when she travels to America for college, a traumatic event on campus crystallizes the selves into something powerful and potentially dangerous, making Ada fade into the background of her own mind as these alters—now protective, now hedonistic—move into control. Written with stylistic brilliance and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace.
A Sport and a Pastime

A Sport and a Pastime

Books

The astonishing novel and “tour de force” about a love affair in postwar France from the iconic author of All That Is (The New York Times Book Review). Twenty-year-old Yale dropout Phillip Dean is traveling Europe aimlessly in a borrowed car with little money. When he stops for a few days in a church-quiet town near Dijon, he meets Anne-Marie Costallat, a young shop assistant. The two begin an affair both carnal and innocent, and she quickly becomes to him the real France, its beating heart and an object of pure longing.   James Salter, author of Light Years and the memoir Burning the Days, was an essential voice in the evolution of late twentieth-century prose, a stylist on par with Updike and Roth who won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his collection Dusk and Other Stories. One of the first great American novels to speak frankly of human desire free of guilt and shame, A Sport and a Pastime inspired Reynolds Price to call it “as nearly perfect as any American fiction I know.”  This ebook edition features an illustrated biography of James Salter including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.