Welcome to Travel Readings
Melbourne: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Books, Movies and Beyond…
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Washington, DC and New York
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome
Rio de Janeiro: Crimes of August (Agosto) by Rubem Fonseca
Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Liège (Belgium): Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Lisbon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia
Hyde Park, Chicago: Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Paris: Flowers of Ruin and Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Naples
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Tanzania
Sri Lanka: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
Books, Movies and Beyond… : Venice
Dublin: The Dead by James Joyce
Books, Movies and Beyond: Iran
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: The Matter of Desire (Materia del Deseo) by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Books, Movies and Beyond: Syria
Djibouti: Passage of Tears (Passage des Larmes) by Abdourahman Waberi
Books, Movies and Beyond: Armenia
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Bangkok: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Périgord, France: The Caves of Périgord by Martin Walker
Books, Movies and Beyond: Brussels
Naples: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro
Tajikistan: Hurramabad by Andrei Volos
New-York: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Israel and Palestine: To the End of the Land by David Grossman and Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany
Cape Town: Boyhood, Youth and Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Books, Movies and Beyond: India
Blue Ridge Mountains: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Books, Movies and Beyond: Algeria
Austrian Alps: A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) by Robert Seethaler
Books, Movies and Beyond: Africans in America
Zimbabwe: The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
Books, Movies and Beyond: Colombia
Belgian Ardennes: The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Côte d’Ivoire: Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Japan: Haruki Murakami and Amélie Nothomb
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Rope and The Denial of Saint Peter by Charles Baudelaire
Books, Movies and Beyond: Cairo
Vancouver: What is Remembered by Alice Munro
Ghent (Belgium): War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Haiti: An Aroma of Coffee and Dining with the Dictator by Dany Laferrière and The Comedians by Graham Greene
Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
Siena and Tuscany : Il Palio delle contrade morte by Fruttero & Lucentini and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
China : Wild Swans. Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Amsterdam: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Former Soviet Union: The Unwomanly Face of War  by Svetlana Alexievich
Provence: The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono, La charrette bleue by René Barjavel, Madame de Sévigné and Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp
Moscow: The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
Books, Movies and Beyond: Vietnam
Books, Movies and Beyond: The Wars in Vietnam

Books, Movies and Beyond: India

Friends asked me about books to read ahead of a trip to India. During the last two years, I read two wonderful novels set in the country. I certainly recommend them even if – or perhaps because- they are two very long novels, especially the first one.


The first one is « A suitable boy » by Vikram Seth. The thread of this novel taking place in Brahmpur, a fictive city along the Ganges between Varanasi and Calcutta, are the efforts deployed by a mother to find a husband for her daughter Lata. We are in 1952, just after the Independence and Lata, a university student is charmed by a Kabir, who happens to be Muslim.


bluecitydetailsr-1030x773A less suitable boy, at least on first inspection, is Gregory David Roberts, « Shantaram »’s author. On the run from an Australian jail, he lands in Bombay, serves as a first-aid nurse in a slum before starting to work for the city’s mafia lords. I really enjoyed this partly autobiographical novel which includes very strong pages about remorse and the difficulty of love. It is also a superb hymn to Bombay a city which I have yet to visit.


During the discussion on the Facebook page in French, Hughes suggested reading “The Alchemy of Desire” by Tarun J. Tejpal, which looks very interesting even if the author has recently been embroiled in a scandal. Muriel recommended the two following books: ” A Fine Balance ” by Rohinton Mistry and “The Bandit Queen of India: An Indian Woman’s Amazing Journey From Peasant to International Legend» by Phoolan Devi  (with Marie-Thérèse Cuny and Paul Rambali).


I am very grateful for these tips and looks forward to reading these books. We also enjoyed very much the series « Indian Summers ». It follows the intertwined stories of two families of civil servants during the Raj. One is from Britain and at the top, the other one, Indian, is moving up. We are in the 30s and the first winds of the struggle for Independence are blowing in India. The second season is now playing on PBS.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *