In one of my posts whilst Guest Editing for Fiction Uncovered last month which you can read here, I promise I won’t mention it too much more but it was such a big deal for me on a personal level, I talked about the importance of landscape within literature. Now this was a piece on the British landscape so I was talking about how bored I am of British books being featured in London so much as there is so much else outside of the capital that you should be reading about, as I suggest. However what about the places outside the UK?
One of the (many, many) marvellous things about books is how in just a few pages we can be completely transported to another place, even another planet however I like to stick to earth overall. So having thought about the landscape of the British Isles I had a pondering of the places that I would like to read about that I haven’t as much as I might like, if at all.
Being a complete hypocrite I instantly thought of some of the capital cities I have yet to go to fictionally, I won’t start thinking about all the cities I have yet to physically visit for fear of weeping. The instant ones that spring to mind were Buenos Aires, Vienna, Helsinki, Seoul, and Moscow… I could go on. I noticed though that my main fictional destinations were in three places. Northern Europe (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia) then Russia and then North Asia (both North and South Korea, China, Mongolia, Japan) and so I think I would not only like to read about the main cities out there but also the countryside.
I am learning that as I get older the countryside calls to me more. I am not talking wild jungles, or remote deserts or wild lands, though they can be fun, more the countryside where villages and towns sporadically appear as that is where you will find some of the best stories as whilst in cities people can do and get away with pretty much anything, there is something fascinating about the countryside with the fact secrets are harder to keep (people twitch curtains so much more in the countryside, it is true don’t pretend it’s not) and also there is the insider vs. outsider mentality which I find fascinating!
So can you help, can you recommend any books that cover the cities, the countryside or even both in the places that I mention above? I would be most grateful. If you want a list of books that you might like to try that uncover some of the areas outside London in Britain do have a gander at this. Also do let me know which landscapes in your home countries and abroad really intrigue you, we may all have recommendations for each other!