5 Best Books … Set In A Foreign Country
March 4, 2011 25 Comments
Cassandra of Indie Reader Houston has started a new meme: “5 Best Books”. Every week, a different topic is suggested by Cassandra and participants list what they think are the 5 best book for that topic. Click HERE to see the topics for the next few weeks.
This week, the topic is 5 Books set in a foreign country.
I’m living in The Netherlands and many of the books I read are set in a different country. So, it’s easy!
This book is about a butler, Stevens, in England in the 1950s, when hardly anyone has butlers anymore. He is very loyal to his American boss, who turns out not to be quite such a nice person.
Stevens describes the man in the best possible way, but between the lines you can read what sort of a man the boss really is. Also, Stevens is so loyal that he passes up on his one chance to romance.
My second choice is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, taking place in Tokyo, Japan. Really I could have chosen any of these books by Murakami: A Wild Sheep Chase, Kafka on the Shore and Hard-Boiled Wonderland or the End of the World. I like them all a lot!
Murakami’s books are of the magical realism genre. Most of what happens, could happen in reality, but there is something not quite right about it. I find this intriguing and good fun. Murakami’s books don’t always end in a traditional way, i.e., there isn’t always a satisfactory resolution to the story, but that has a charm of its own.
Under the Skin by Michel Faber is my third choice. This is the debut novel by the writer of The Crimson Petal and the White, another book that I loved, but that is very different from this one.
Under the Skin takes place in Scotland, where a buxomly woman is driving in her car around the countryside, picking up muscular male hitch hikers. They are quite attracted to her larger-than-life breasts. The woman sometimes drops the men off as arranged but other times….
Not what you might expect!
My Fourth choice is The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney. In Canada,1867, a local boy of 17 disappears after a man has been murdered in an isolated settlement. He is an immediate suspect and a search party is formed.
Several different teams of people go looking for the boy, all experiencing their own adventure in the harsh Canadian wilderness.
Although it is a murder mystery at heart, it is much more than that.
The local priest turns against them when they want to hold a chocolate festival on a Sunday. But one by one the villagers fall under the spell of Vianne, the shop owner.
Add into the equation a handsome gypsy-type man that comes to her rescue a few times, and you have the ingredients for a magical and romantic story.