a look at great travel writing, old and new


Not sure where to go on vacation this year? Flipping through the pages of classic and new novels and travelogues could point you in some interesting directions.

Whether you want the warm, sunny climes of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, the classical architecture of Florence and Rome in Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, or exploring different cultures and climates, a few good reads might have you covered. Inspire. a travel bucket load.

Get ready to make your wish list with these best reads…

Greek history buffs with a fondness for the islands will be glued to Victoria Hislop’s stories, transporting you to a colorful Greece, which began with her 2005 debut novel The Island (Headline Review) – which gives a vivid description of Cretan life, weaving in the history of Greece’s leper colony on Spinalonga. It has sold over two million copies worldwide to date and has been made into a hit Greek TV series (Victoria and her husband, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, had roles as extras).

The sequel, One August Night (Headline Review) reveals what happened when the leper colony closed and how its inhabitants behaved upon their return to the mainland.

For a sunny escape, pick up Mandy Baggot’s lighthearted romantic comedy Staying Out For Summer (Head Of Zeus), which sees a young nurse’s vacation in Corfu open up romantic possibilities with the village doctor.


Fancy a city break in Paris? Amanda Bestor-Siegal’s directorial debut, The Caretakers (Little, Brown, out April 12), focuses on several dynamic women from an affluent suburb of Paris and a life-changing event, told through six women who live very different city lives. The film rights were picked up by Emma Stone’s production company.

Peter Mayle’s witty classic memoir A Year in Provence (Penguin), in which he recounts his funny and sometimes tense experiences of moving into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the south of France, will bring enormous sunshine to travelers and non-travelers alike.


As a former Rome travel guide who lived in Italy for many years, Donna Leon has an eye for detail. Her new novel Give Unto Others (Hutchinson Heinemann, March 3), in which she examines the corruption within an Italian charity, weaves into the magnificent architecture of Venice, the constant and tantalizing presence of food, the lover and loyal Brunetti family and the sense of menace that lurks around the corner.

Among the timeless classic novels that will have you salivating over Italy is A Room With A View by EM Forster (Penguin Classics), where a young woman’s repressed and rigid upbringing is turned upside down when she visits Florence, a city which offers a multitude of romantic opportunities. ; and The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James (William Collins), with fine descriptions of Florence and Rome.


Even though Dune (Hodder Paperbacks) is a sci-fi book, Norway’s Stadlandet comes in as the latest film adaptation to let the imagination take readers to “Caladan”, the stark, inhospitable, windswept planet 20 Light Years From Earth, first created by author Frank Herbert in 1965. The film boosted tourism to the area, but in addition to reimagining the dramatic setting of the book, visitors may also want to follow the winding road of the Atlantic Ocean Road, as does another cinematic icon, James Bond. in No Time to Die.

A small water taxi in Kerala, India, which served as the setting for Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Little Things’.


From Shetlands to Cornwall, no literary stone will be left unturned, whether you want to investigate Brighton with famed writer Peter James, through his acclaimed Det Supt Roy Grace, or Edinburgh with Rebus creator Ian Rankin, or disappear into the romance and relationships in Cornwall with Fern Britton, Judy Finnigan and a host of other novelists.

If you want to explore Britain’s lost cities, Matthew Green’s factual book Shadowlands: A Journey Through Britain (Faber & Faber, March 17) takes you on an atmospheric tour of ghost towns and vanished villages, a colony Neolithic Orkney buried in sand, to a swept medieval town of a shingle island.

The Island Home by Libby Page (Orion) is set on a remote Scottish island in the Hebrides, based on the Isle of Eigg, in which a woman returns with her daughter to the island where she grew up and where her family could relocate. to fix. His descriptions of the dramatic scenery, black lochs, coves and jagged hills will make you feel like you’ve been there – or certainly make you want to visit.

Those planning to visit the East of England should seek out writer Elly Griffiths, whose Norfolk is a big part of the story in every novel in her best-selling detective series Dr Ruth Galloway, including the latest, The Locked Room (Quercus), sees her as a detective archaeologist helping to solve a series of mysterious deaths.

Meanwhile, award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves, already well known for her detective series Vera and Shetland Island, sets her sights on North Devon for her latest book, The Heron’s Cry (Pan Macmillan). It’s set in a glorious summer filled with tourists, where Detective Matthew Venn investigates an elaborately staged murder among a group of entertainers.


The setting for so many inspiring reads – from Sally Rooney’s emotionally charged Normal People (Faber & Faber), about the complex relationship between two teenagers Connell and Marianne and set in and around Dublin, to the latest exploration of the family, friendships by best-selling author Marian Keyes and relationships in Again, Rachel (Michael Joseph), her sequel to Rachel’s Holiday.


All is not fickle and flop in the Caribbean, as readers discover in What A Mother’s Love Don’t Teach You by Sharma Taylor (Virago, released July 7). It’s a novel set in Kingston, Jamaica, about a woman who reunites with her son, 18 years after giving him a baby to the wealthy couple she worked for before they left. A story of belonging and identity, it brings together a chorus of voices to evoke Jamaica’s dance halls and underworld, at the heart of which is a mother’s love for her son.


Anyone planning a safari should pick up a copy of The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony (Pan), a South African conservationist who accepted a herd of “rogue” elephants into his Thula Thula Game Reserve. Risking his life to bond with the elephants, he assumes an extremely special relationship with the herd, the wise matriarch Nana and her warrior sister Frankie. This ultimately heartwarming memory shines a light on the emotional intelligence of these majestic animals.


A land full of color, culture and fascinating history, many writers have been drawn to storyboarding India. Arundhati Roy won the prestigious Booker Prize in 1997 for her debut novel The God Of Small Things (Harper Perennial), a story about Rahel and Estha, twin girls who grow up among vats of bananas and peppercorns in the factory of their blind grandmother, amid scenes of political turbulence. in Kerala.

And who can resist Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize-winning second novel, Midnight’s Children (Vintage Classics)? This much-loved historical fantasy reflects the issues that India faced after independence, including culture, language, and religion.


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