It’s the time of year, again, for holiday travel—those annual treks that can be routine, eye-opening, fraught, heartwarming, or all of the above. To the authors below, literal journeys are opportunities for deeper metaphorical explorations. Jesmyn Ward traces a history of injustice through a family’s road trip through the Deep South, while Carol Bensimon uses a woman’s vacation in Brazil as a window into the country’s most pressing political concerns.
Emmanuel Iduma takes readers on a meandering and radical journey around the African continent. Jeff VanderMeer sets out to shepherd his characters through a mysterious wilderness—nearly getting lost in the surreal depths of his own writing process. And Lee Child follows the adventures of an action hero in books that capture the relentless motion of American life.
Each week in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas, and ask you for recommendations of what our list left out. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email.
What We’re Reading
A Road-Trip Novel That Punctures Political Myopia
“When Julia adds, ‘Remember that trip we never took?’—a long-daydreamed drive across their home state of Rio Grande do Sul—Cora decides to go home. This, she thinks, is her chance to get Julia back.”