Around The World

 

I often get the urge to expand my world view a little and try reading something different: a story which varies wildly from my personal life experiences.  Sometimes you discover a writer whose world is light years away from your own; sometimes you find that it’s a pretty small planet after all.

Here you’ll find a list of books for readers with itchy feet.  This is by no means definitive; my list is simply made up of books I have actually read.  Some are translations into English, while others just embody a certain place so well that you find yourself transported there.  All are fiction novels unless stated otherwise.  If I’ve written a review on a particular book, you’ll also find a link to it below.

This list will grow over time, but if you feel there’s a book which deserves a mention here then please leave a comment, or you can send me an email through the Get In Touch page.

 

Chile

Roberto Bolaño, Last Evenings On Earth (short stories)

 

China

Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China (non-fiction)

 

France

Irène Némirovsky, Suite Française

Describing first a mass retreat of Parisians evading capture during World War II, and then the German occupation of rural France, this unfinished novel was written just before its author was imprisoned in Auschwitz for her Jewish ancestry.

 

Greece

Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Set in World War II during the take-over of Greece by Italian and German soldiers, an unlikely and ill-fated romance blooms.  A beautiful book.

 

India

H.R.F. Keating, The Perfect Murder: The First Inspector Ghote Mystery

 

Italy

Stefano Benni, Timeskipper

Frances Stonor Saunders, The Woman Who Shot Mussolini (non-fiction)

 

Japan

Haruki Murakami, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

 

Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus

 

Russia

Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

An amazingly imaginative and satirical novel about the Devil, triumph over oppression and the magical power of love, written during Stalin’s reign but not published for many years after the writer’s death.

 

Spain

Dave Boling, Guernica

Historical fiction based around the German bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during World War II.  The novel also references Picasso’s painting of the same name, and the artist appears in the novel in a fictional cameo role.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

A book for book lovers.  Set in Barcelona post-Spanish Civil War, a young boy is introduced to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books and is allowed to choose one title from the shelves.  His choice sets him on a quest to discover the mysterious writer of his chosen novel and to find out why someone is determined to burn every book he has ever written.

 

Sweden

Camilla Läckberg, The Drowning

Part of the Patrik Hedstrom series of crime dramas set in a Swedish village, this novel is the latest offering.  For book one in the series read The Ice Princess.

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