Four books with strange hot weather

What happens when it's just too darn hot

The Cement Garden

By Ian McEwan (£8.99, Vintage)
It’s a burning English summer and a group of siblings have faced the death of both their parents, one after the other. To avoid being separated, they bury their mother in the basement, in a grave of wet cement. The heat leads them to torpor, incest and, then, it causes the cement in the cellar to crack.

Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream

By Joan Didion from Slouching Towards Bethlehem (£16.99, Harper Collins)
This particular piece in Didion’s excellent essay collection concerns Lucille Miller, a dentist’s wife on trial for murdering her husband. “It might have been anyone’s bad summer,” writes Didion, building the sinister atmosphere. “Anyone’s siege of heat and nerves and migraine and money worries.”

Sex and the City

By Candace Bushnell (£8.99, Little Brown)
Before the TV series and the films, Sex and the City existed as a book. It was much darker and more cynical than anything that followed – closer to Jay McInerney than The Devil Wears Prada. The heatwave chapter sees all the characters lose their inhibitions and, slightly, their minds. Even Carrie starts to fantasise about tearing a woman apart with her teeth.

Peter Shelley

By Patrick Marber from Speaking With The Angel (£8.99, Penguin)
The summer of 1976, when Britain suffered from a drought and punk changed the music world, suffers from overuse by writers of a certain age, but Peter Shelley by Closer writer Patrick Marber, stands out from the crowd. A teenage boy gets together with his bad girl crush on the last day of term, both of the pretending to be someone else. It’s sweet and grimy and entirely believable.

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