March 27, 2018

Over There

Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is books set in another country. It's been a rough morning and I couldn't come up with a cute title. This is the best I could do.

Anyway, books set in another country. I'm going to read this to mean books set in actual countries, as opposed to fantasy books set in countries that don't exist somewhere in our world. I mean, I guess you could get all philosophical about it and argue that if it exists in the author's mind, it exists, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

I'm gonna start with Europe:

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon - Any of her books really, but this is the first one in the Guido Brunetti series. They are all set in Venice. I love reading these and learning about life in Venice.

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee - This fabulous book that I can't stop talking about is set in several countries, but they're all in Europe, so it's in this section. Mostly it is set in France. The Queen is a world famous opera singer with a hidden past. When she is given an opportunity to have an entire opera written specifically for her, she jumps at the chance until she finds out the story of the opera is her secret story.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen - You thought I was done bringing this book up, didn't you. Ha! This book is set in Finland and was translated from the Finnish by Lola Rogers. Translators don't get enough credit.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent - Set in Iceland in the 1800's, this book is so stark and spare, it just breaks your heart. So so good.

Alright, now we'll do Africa:

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta - This book is set in Nigeria. It is about a lesbian woman who struggles with the laws against homosexuality in her homeland.

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes - This book almost doesn't count. It's a little bit urban fantasy. In this book, set in South Africa, people who have committed crimes get an animal companion they have to carry around with them all the time. Being separated from their animal causes them both excruciating pain.

Moving East:

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala - This is a work of non-fiction, written by a woman who was vacationing in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit the day after Christmas 2004. Everyone in her family died except her.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami - This is a very Japanese novel. Things don't make sense. There are multiple worlds in our one world. Very weird. And set in Japan.

And moving on around the globe to South America:

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - This very South American book is set in Colombia. It has deep elements of magical realism and is very based in the natural.

All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith - In this one, an English professor travels around South American hosting Jane Austen book club meetings. It's fascinating.

Ok. So that's my list of top 10 books set in other countries. What are some of your favorites?