07 May 2020
At a time when walking between the sofa and the fridge seems like an epic journey, foreign lands feel further away than ever.
But wait! That’s where books come in. Dive into any of our choices below and be whisked away, for a small amount of money and zero carbon footprint, to Barbados, or Tokyo, or …
BARBADOS, USA, THE ARCTIC, CANADA, LONDON, THE NETHERLANDS, MOROCCO
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize | Winner of the Giller Prize
This beautiful, rich story will bundle you into an 19th century flying machine and transport you to another place and time.
Washington Black tells the epic story of a young slave who escapes his plantation and travels the world in search of a place to call home. On his journey he meets unforgettable characters, develops a deep interest in marine biology, deep dives for a rare octopus and eventually arrives in London to establish the world’s first aquarium. Washington Black asks what it means to belong, and whether we can find a home when our world has been destroyed.
This short (192pp), funny and thoughtful book will whisk you away on a spontaneous trip to Japan with the hapless Gilbert. Upon arrival in Tokyo, Gilbert befriends Yosa, a young Japanese student, and together they set out on a pilgrimage to the pine islands of Matsushima.
Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands, translated by Jen Callelja, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize and the German Book Prize and called ‘miraculous’ by the Guardian.
Vikram Paralkar’s Night Theatre is a spellbinding, magically real story set in a rural Indian village. As dusk approaches, a surgeon goes about closing up his dilapidated clinic in rural India, when he is visited by a family – a teacher, his wife and their son. Victims of a senseless attack, they reveal to the surgeon wounds that they could not possibly have survived – and which the surgeon must mend before sunrise so that they may return to life.
‘Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.’ Never a truer word said – or one more timely.
Narrated principally by an assistant bookkeeper named Bernardo Soares – an alias of sorts for Pessoa himself – The Book of Disquiet is ‘the autobiography of someone who never existed’, a mosaic of dreams, of hope and despair; a hymn to the streets and cafés of 1930s Lisbon.
Narrator Erin is 19 and has never really left the area she grew up in. She’s watched Bear Grylls and wonders why it’s always men who get to have all the fun. So she decides to go to Alaska, alone. This is a beautiful tale of a one-woman expedition into the wilderness – the feminist adventure story the world has been waiting for.
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
In Pointe-Noire, in the small neighbourhood of Voungou, on the family plot where young Michel lives with Maman Pauline and Papa Roger, life goes on. But In March 1977, just before the arrival of the short rainy season, Comrade President Marien Ngouabi is brutally murdered in Brazzaville, and not even naïve Michel can remain untouched.
Starting as a tender, wry portrait of an ordinary Congolese family, Alain Mabanckou quickly expands the scope of his story into a powerful examination of colonialism, decolonization and dead ends of the African continent.
As well as being a bestselling author, Attica Locke also writes for screen – most recently she’s been on the writing team for the TV adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere.
On Mui the major attraction is a supposedly-dramatic sinkhole. When the customers start to complain, Yona realises that the company plans to fabricate an environmental catastrophe – but soon discovers she has put her own life in danger.