Pam's Trip to Europe

DiscussãoThe Europe Endless Challenge

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Pam's Trip to Europe

Editado: Dez 14, 2021, 5:02 am

ALBANIA The Successor by Ismail Kadare
ANDORRA Andorra by Max Frisch
ARMENIA An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman
AUSTRIA The Confusions of Young Torless by Robert Musil
AZERBAIJAN Ali and Nino by Kurban Said
BELARUS Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
BELGIUM Villa des Roses by Willem Elsschot
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric
BULGARIA Under the Yoke by Ivan Vasov
CZECH REPUBLIC The Spirit of Prague Ivan Klima
DENMARK Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen
ESTONIA The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross
FINLAND The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
FRANCE Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier
GERMANY What I Saw Joseph Roth
GREECE The Athenian Murders by Jose Carlos Somoza
HUNGARY Sunflower by Gyula Krudy
ICELAND The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness
IRELAND A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle
ITALY The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri
LUXEMBOURG The Luxembourg Run by Stanley Ellin
REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA Cousins by Meto Jovanovski
MONACO Loser Takes All by Graham Greene
MOLDOVA No Going Back to Moldova by Anna Robertson; The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov.
NETHERLANDS Just a Corpse at Twilight by Janwillem van de Wetering
NORWAY Black Seconds by Karin Fossum
POLAND The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
PORTUGAL Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi
ROMANIA The Appointment by Herta Muller

RUSSIA Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
SLOVAKIA The Equestrienne by Ursula Kovalyk
SLOVENIA Alamut by Vladimir Bartol
SPAIN Nada by Carmen Laforet
SWEDEN The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Stieg Larsson

SWITZERLAND The English Assassin by Daniel Silva; In Matto's Realm by Friedrich Glauser
TURKEY Dance with Death by Barbara Nadel
UKRAINE Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
England A Glass of Blessings Barbara Pym
Scotland A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil Christopher Brookmyre, Castle Gay by John Buchan
Wales The Welsh Girl Peter Ho Davies
Northern Ireland: The Untouchable John Banville

Just came across a mention of this group in a book page, so here I am, ready to start.

Editado: Fev 4, 2020, 3:19 pm

Editado: Jun 12, 2010, 4:15 am

This year's list of European reading.

France: Le Grand Meaulnes Alain-Fournier
Italy: The Voice of the Violin Andrea Camilleri
Sweden: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Stieg Larsson
Albania: The Successor Ismail Kadare
Germany: What I Saw Joseph Roth
Czech Republic: The Spirit of Prague Ivan Klima
UK - Wales: The Welsh Girl Peter Ho Davies
UK - Scotland: A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil Christopher Brookmyre
UK - England: A Glass of Blessings Barbara Pym

Jun 17, 2010, 7:42 am

I am reading The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness.

Jun 20, 2010, 5:42 am

Another Italian book, Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri.

It's set in Sicily, and features the entertainingly grumpy Inspector Montalbano. I've become quite attached to the insubordinate inspector and his team of detectives.

Still reading The Fish Can Sing.

Jun 20, 2010, 6:27 am

Wow! This looks like a really interesting challenge! Am I right in thinking it is the authors who have to come from these places and not that it's about where the book is set? Either way could be a lot of fun. Do you have authors lined up for each place or do you need recommendations (not sure I could find anyone for about half of them). Good luck with the challenge - is there a time limit?

Jun 20, 2010, 6:52 am

Booksloth, the challenge is based on where the books are sent, which might make it a little bit easier than finding a Moldovian writer, say, whose books are published in English. I'd love some recommendations because I had no idea there were so many countries in Europe! Very pleased to have read an Albanian novel and an Icelandic one, but books from Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Latvia aren't leaping off the shelves.

I think it could take a few years.

Jun 20, 2010, 6:59 am

I'm off to paint a door right now but I'll have a think about that one.

Jun 23, 2010, 1:40 pm

Not much help with Lithuania and Latvia, I'm afraid but I had a look through my 'Common Knowledge' and compiled a list - it was such fun!

Austria - Marie Antoinette*, Antonia Fraser
Belgium - The Harrowing, Robert Dinsdale
Bulgaria - The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
Cyprus - A Watermelon, A Fish and a Bible, Christy Lefteri
Greece - Captain Corelli's Mandolin*, Louis de Bernieres
The Athenian Murders*, Jose Carlos Samoza
Zorba the Greek*, Nikos Kazantzakis
Hungary - Embers, Sandor Marai
Ireland - Star of the Sea*, Joseph O'Neill
At Swim, Two Boys*, Jamie O'Neill
Leichtenstein - Neither Here Nor There*, Bill Bryson
Luxembourg - 'Luxembourg'* (short story) in Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, Robert Shearman
Malta - The Information Officer, Mark Mills
Montenegro - Pillars of Hercules, Paul Theroux
Netherlands - A Widow for One Year*, John Irving
Norway - Sophie's World*, Jostein Gaarder
Poland - Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Romania - Dracula*, Bram Stoker
Russia - The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Spain - The Shadow of the Wind*, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Switzerland - Hotel du Lac*, Anita Brookner
Turkey - Birds Without Wings*, Louis de Bernieres

There are a couple of 'double ups' there, I'm afraid - I don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing in terms of the challenge. I've starred the ones I particularly recommend though, unfortunately there are a few clunkers in there too. Hope it's a help!

Jun 23, 2010, 2:55 pm

Hi Pam,
I've also been looking for books for the "less obvious" European countries and came up with De schaduw van de slang by Saulius Kondrotas for Lithuania which is a translation in Dutch from the French L'ombre du serpent which is also a translation from the Lithuanian Zalcio Zvilgsnis. It's supposed to be a chronicle of four generations in Lithuania before and after 1900. Maybe it has been translated in English or maybe you read French (or Lithuanian :-))? I haven't read it yet, as it'll take me a while before I get to Lithuania, but my local library has a copy, so unless someone on LT comes up with a great alternative, I'll give Kondrotas a try.

Btw, how do you like The Fish Can Sing? I'm also in Iceland right now with Salka Valka by the same author and I love it, though it's a read you have to take your time for.

Jun 24, 2010, 6:36 am

Booksloth, thank you for that excellent list. I'm going to look for Fugitive Pieces and Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical to start with.

JustJoey, I'm enjoying The Fish Can Sing. It's taking a while because I'm reading other things in-between. It's quite light compared to Independent People, which was much longer and bleaker, though still with Laxness's dry wit and affection fro his characters.

Here is a list of fairly recent Lithuanian literature translated into other langiuages.

Jun 24, 2010, 8:07 am

I remember paper-visiting Latvia a few years back, and it was a great book. I have no idea if it is available in English, but just in case, here it is: La saga de Youza by Youozas Baltouchis. (We are only 4 members on LT who own this book...)
It is set in the rural Latvia, where the main character, Youza, tries to escape the turmoil of the first half of the XXth century. A very nice read and very nice paper-travel.

Jun 26, 2010, 4:30 am

Thank you raton-liseur. It sounds well worth reading. I haven't found a mention of an English translation yet, but will keep looking.

Just finished one from Austria, which has been sitting on my tbr shelf for at least four years.

The Confusions of Young Torless by Robert Musil

Torless is a student at an Austrian military academy, younger and more intelligent than his classmates. Impressed by their masculinity, Torless becomes an associate of the two class leaders, violent boys who have formed an alliance rather than fighting for complete dominance. The two of them, with Torless as an observer, brutalise another student, the son of a poor widow, who has earned their contempt by stealing money.

The boys believe they are living in a new age; they deliberately jettison their humanity and compassion as weaknesses incompatible with the new world order. They are superior beings; the boy they brutalise is less than human. This is what chilled me about this book. The boys brutalise a weaker student to find out how it makes them feel, to learn from the experience.

A great deal of this short book is devoted to Torless' attempts to crystallise his thoughts into words. It begins with a quotation from Maeterlink, which begins, "As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way."

I didn't much enjoy this book, but I thought it was worth reading. 3.5*

Jul 1, 2010, 7:36 am

The Fish Can Sing by Halldor Laxness

Alfgrimur's mother emigrates to America and leaves him with an old couple in their rough turf cottage. Alfgrimur would be content to fish for lumpfish for a living as the old man does, but is sent to school where he is far too successful to be allowed to become a fisherman. He meets the famous Icelandic singer, Gardar Holm, a man who has been sent abroad to make Iceland famous but who has, the old woman thinks, wasted his life by travelling. Holm wants only to find the one true note, and should he find it, his life will be over.

Laxness loves all his characters and treats them with respect: the dour Icelanders and the jovial Danes, the cottagers and the merchants, the elusive Holm and the naive Alfgrimur. Life is hard in Iceland, and people are poor, but they have strength and dignity. Laxness has a light touch, and is often funny.

A strange and appealing book. Recommended. 4*

Independent People is even better.

Jul 1, 2010, 8:13 am

Sounds like my Halldor :-) I fell in love with the author when I read Salka Valka, so I'm happy to recognize the reasons why I did so in your excellent review. I'll add this one to my tbr-list. Thank you for the great review!

Jul 1, 2010, 8:17 am

I recently received The Fish Can Sing as a birthday gift. I'm looking forward to reading it, especially after reading your review!

Jul 12, 2010, 5:18 am

Reading Dance with Death, a police procedural set in Turkey. Good plot, believable characters, but the writng in spots is bad enough to be a distraction.

However, Inspector Celik is in Cappadocia, and I've been there, so that's keeping me involved.

Jul 13, 2010, 6:15 am

Finished Dance with Death, which was OK. The ending was so-so and, as I mentioned, the writing had some low spots. Barbara Nadel won a silver dagger for Deadly Web, so if you're looking for crime set in Turkey, that might be a better one to read.

I have been meaning to read My Name is Red for Turkey, but was in the mood for something lighter.

Jul 24, 2010, 2:45 am

The English Assassin by Daniel Silva

Swiss bankers are hanging onto art works that the Nazis looted during WWII. When Gabriel Allon, Israeli spy and art restorer, is hired to restore a Raphael, he becomes involved in a search for the missing masterpieces.

Exciting, but cliched thriller. Long on plot, short on character.


Jul 28, 2010, 8:05 am

Love the Laxness vibe brewing in this challenge! I've had Salka Valka waiting on my bookshelf for years, and am really eager now! Will make sure to make it one of my early reads for 2011.

Oh, and you seem to have omitted Portugal from your list at the top :)

Jul 29, 2010, 9:52 am

9 Your list is very good, Booksloth! Would you consider posting it on the "Good books from obscure places" thread too? That's the common forum "tip" thread :)

Jul 29, 2010, 10:49 am

#21 Can you give me a link to that one, GingerbreadMan? Sounds interesting.

Jul 29, 2010, 11:35 am

Sorry, I was being a bit unclear here. It's right here, in this group. Rather than keeping separate threads for each country in such a small group with pretty low activity, we just have a single tip thread. I've bumped it to the top of the list.

Ago 4, 2010, 4:36 am

Portugal is restored. I must have inadvertently deleted it. Planning to read The Crime of Father Amaro - it's on an assortment of my wishlists.

The Athenian Murders is on loan from the library and A star called Henry has arrived from Bookmooch, so Greece and Ireland are ready to go.

Ago 4, 2010, 1:36 pm

I love The Athenian Murders - it's quite unlike anything else I've ever read. Hope you enjoy it too.

Ago 7, 2010, 3:03 am

The Athenian Murders by Jose Carlos Somoza

The body of a young man is found in ancient Athens. His heart has been torn out, his torso is covered in cuts, but his arms are untouched. The boys' distressed tutor, a philosopher at Plato's academy, begs Heracles Pontor, the Decipherer of Enigmas, to investigate.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the modern world, a slim, bearded man is translating the Greek text. The images in the text lead the translator to believe that there is a hidden message, and he searches for it with increasing frenzy.

Nothing is what it seems.

Recommended 4*

Booksloth, it was a real oddity. I enjoyed it.

Ago 7, 2010, 5:16 am

Really pleased you enjoyed it - this book deserves more recognition. Not that it will help with this challenge, but Somoza's The Art of Murder is exquisite too (though this one is told in the more traditional way so don't expect footnotes).

Ago 7, 2010, 5:43 pm

26 Sounds intriguing! Making note of it, thanks for the tip!

Ago 8, 2010, 1:04 am

# 26 - I've added this one to my TR-list because of your review. Thanks!

Set 4, 2010, 4:26 am

Czech Republic.

When Eve Was Naked by Josef Skvorecky

This collection of short stories spans fifty years of Skvorecky's life, from his childhood in Nachod to a university in Toronto. Many are related by Skvorecky's fictional counterpart, Danny Smiricky.

Danny traces the destruction of Jewish life in Koslovo, the fictional Nachod. He sees his primary school teacher taken to the camps; a once-respected doctor is unable to practise medicine of even to speak to his former patients;people return from the camps to find that their neighbours deny all knowledge of the valuables left with them for safe keeping; Czech children abuse the Jewish schoolmates who were once their closest friends. Through the years, Danny remembers the Jewish people he once knew.

In "Spectator on a February Night," written in 1948, Danny witnesses the Communist coup. Life under Communism is bleak: intellectuals and liberals like Danny are exiled to remote cities; jazz is banned; Czech patriots are executed; people live sad lives without hope. This is a different Danny Smiricky from the ebullient, sardonic narrator of The Cowards.

Highly recommended 4*.

Set 5, 2010, 1:12 pm

I've added it to my wishlist, pamelad. Excellent review.

Editado: Set 6, 2010, 3:01 am

Northern Ireland

The Untouchable by John Banville

Victor Maskell is an art historian, a curator of the royal pictures, and one of the Cambridge spies. In Banville's portrait, Victor is a shallow man without convictions: he becomes a spy for the thrill of it. He's a gay man with a wife and children he rarely sees; a communist who seeks wordly rewards.

The book begins with Victor's betrayal. He has lost his knighthood and his position at the palace because a recently published book links him to the defection of "Ballantine and MacLeish." The Untouchable is his memoir.

Banville's book has wonderful characters, good writing, humour and energy. Highly recommended: 4.5*.

Most of this book is set in England, but the main character is Irish and so is Banville, so I'm counting it for Ireland.

RidgewayGirl, I hope you like When Eve Was Naked. Skvorecky is one of my favourite writers.

ETA It's Northern Ireland, not Ireland.

Editado: Set 9, 2010, 5:29 am


Just a Corpse at Twilight by Janwillem van de Wetering

Gripstra and de Grier have retired from the Amsterdam police force. Gripstra is running a detective agency, while de Gier is travelling the world, trying to find himself. Gripstra receives a frantic phone call from de Grier, who thinks he may have just killed a woman in Maine.

While Gripstra and de Grier search for the truth in Maine, their old boss, the commisioner, directs the investigation from Amsterdam.

The eccentric characters and ironic tone make this an entertaining mystery. It's a series, so I'll keep an eye out for others. 4*

Jan 12, 2011, 3:53 am

Russia - The State Counsellor by Boris Akunin
Ireland - A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle

Jan 12, 2011, 4:09 am

After a slack last quarter in 2010, I'm planning to read plenty of European fiction in 2011. Adding it as a category to the 11 in 11 category challenge.

Can recommend both The State Counsellor and A Star called Henry.

The first is an entertaining historical crime novel set in Russia just before the revolution. It's one of a series, so I'll probably borrow some of the others from the library.

The second is a fictionalised account of the beginnings of the IRA, starring the larger than life hero, Henry Smart. Horrifyingly realistic descriptions of the lives of the poor in Dublin. I may search out the rest of Doyle's trilogy because, although Henry gave me the irrits, the Irish history more than made up for him.

Jan 18, 2011, 3:50 am


The Appointment by Herta Muller

The narrator has been summoned to yet another meeting with her interrogator. She has to be alert so she can to make up the lies that might satisfy his need for information, because the truth is too harmless to merit the punishment that lies in store. She's a young worker in a clothing factory who, in desperation to escape the povery and repression of Ceausescu's Romania, put notes saying "Marry me" in the pockets of suits bound for Italy. On the tram to the appointment, she is reflecting on the people and events in her life.

The narrative is fragmented and dreamlike, with people disappearing and reappearing. As details accumulate, characters become more complex and more puzzling.

Recommended. 4*

Jan 24, 2011, 5:40 am


Black Seconds by Karen Fossum

Nine year-old Ida Joner rides her bike to the shop to buy a magazine and doesn't come back. The police call for witnesses, but hardly anyone comes forward. Ida has vanished.

Well-written psychological suspense, hard to put down. Recommended. 4*

Jan 24, 2011, 12:45 pm

I also used a Karen Fossum title for my Norwegian book. I really enjoyed her writing and have another of her books in a stack to be read.

Jun 18, 2011, 8:25 am


The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric

In the fifteenth century the Ottoman Turks abducted Slavic boys from Bosnia. One exceptional boy grew up to become the Grand Vizier, and as a gift to the country where he was born, built a beautiful stone bridge to link the east and west sides of his native city, which became the gateway between Eastern and Western Europe.

Andric, a Bosnian Serb, wrote his doctoral thesis on the history of Bosnia, so his book is based on sound historical research. It is a fascinating combination of fact and fiction, describing the history of a small Bosnian town from the sixteenth century until the beginning of the first world war.

Highly recommended. 5*

Editado: Jun 18, 2011, 8:42 am

This year's European reads:

The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric Nobel 5*

Czech Republic
Judge on Trial by Ivan Klima 4.5* Czech

The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard by Anatole France Nobel 3.5*
Jean de Florette by Marcel Pagnol 4.5*

Shanghai '37 by Vicki Baum 4* German
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada 5* German

The Mind-Murders by Janwillem van de Wetering 4* Netherlands
Hard Rain by Janwillem Van De Wetering 4* Netherlands

Black Seconds by Karin Fossum 4* Norway
Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum 3.5* Norway

The Appointment by Herta Muller Nobel 3.5*

We by Yevegeny Zamyatin 4.5* Russian
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak Nobel 4.5*

Jun 18, 2011, 8:46 am

The Bridge on the Drina is going on my TBR list. I've already filled in Bosnia in my challenge so I might not get to it until after I complete the challenge. I'll get to it eventually!

Out 23, 2011, 1:36 am

Sunflower by Gyula Krudy 4*

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman 5*

Editado: Fev 13, 2012, 5:05 am

I've been collecting European books, and now must read them. Almost finished Villa des Roses for Belgium and have Street of Crocodiles and Pornografia for Poland. The Crime of Father Amaro is ready for Portugal.

Fev 18, 2012, 6:26 am


Villa des Roses by Willem Elsschot

Madame Brulot runs her boarding house, the Villa des Roses, with stringency and efficiency and never passes up the opportunity to make an extra franc. Her guests are mainly middle class people in lowly paying jobs, who appreciate the economical rates and good food.

This tragi-comic novelette describes incidents in the lives of the characters in the boarding house: the maid, Louise, who is seduced by the boarder, Grunewald; the Norwegian widower who is learning French; Mrs Demoulin, who is divorced from a diplomat, and pays extra; the ancient Madame Grendon who steals things; and the depressed Brizard, who pines for his native village.

The book was first published in 1913 in the Netherlands. It is set in Paris, but the author is Flemish.


Fev 23, 2012, 7:54 am

I've been collecting European books, and now must read them

That sounds so familiar! :D

Fev 1, 2016, 4:07 pm

Added Poland, Portugal and Spain.

POLAND The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
PORTUGAL Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi
SPAIN Nada by Carmen Laforet

Fev 8, 2016, 5:00 pm

DENMARK Babette's Feast by Isak Dinesen

Set in Norway, but Karen Blixen is a Danish writer.

Fev 9, 2016, 11:05 pm

Motoring along here. Just bought: No Going Back to Moldova Moldova; Samko Tale's Cemetery Book Slovakia. Ordered: Wave of Terror Belarus

Mar 28, 2016, 2:30 am

BELARUS Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

Jan 6, 2017, 1:21 am

Reading The Good Life Elsewhere, set in Moldova, by a Moldovan author.

Previously I read No Going Back to Moldova, but it was set in the city of Moldova in Romania, or thereabouts.

Editado: Jan 6, 2017, 1:49 am

In 2017 I plan to read:
Death and the Penguin UKRAINE
Samko Tale's Cemetery Book SLOVAKIA
The Czar's Madman ESTONIA
Wave of Terror BELARUS
The Good Life Elsewhere MOLDOVA
Andorra ANDORRA (This one is a play, but is the only Andorran literature I could find.)

Jan 7, 2017, 1:19 pm

Hi Pam, happy new year. I see you are reigniting an old journey.

I really must track down my copy of Death and the Penguin and finally read it. Everyone I knew who read it, loved it, though said none of the rest of the series quite matched it.

Jan 9, 2017, 1:56 am

Hi Caroline. Happy New Year!

In a fit of enthusiasm last year I bought quite a few Eastern European oddities, and now I must read them! I hope you get into Death and the Penguin.

Jan 19, 2017, 6:32 am


The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov

This sad, comic novel is by a Moldovan author. There aren't many Moldovans who are published in English, so I was pleased to come across this book, and even more pleased that it was so well worth reading. Moldova is virtually a character in the book, and it's a terrible place: poor, brutal, corrupt, filthy and hopeless. Everyone in Moldova wants to get to the promised land, Italy, where even maids earn 2000 euros a month, the streets are clean, and the people are happy.

In 53 short chapters (the book is only 195 pages long), Lorchenkov chronicles the hilarious ways that the villagers of Laga attempt to get to Italy. Crusaders march on Italy; a mechanic builds a flying machine; government ministers attempt to parachute in. The methods become funnier and the results more tragic.

Jan 20, 2017, 2:06 pm

Sounds fun, if tragic Pam.

Mar 7, 2017, 9:57 pm


An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman

After the authorities arrested all the copies they could find of Life and Fate, they offered Grossman the consolation prize of a trip to Armenia to translate an Armenian novel. This delightful book is another product of Grossman's stay in Armenia.

Mar 9, 2017, 8:34 am

Sounds interesting Pam. I really must pull Life and Fate from Mount TBR.

Mar 27, 2017, 4:30 pm

Caroline, I'd put Life and Fate in my top ten books of the last ten years. I hope it's right up the top of your tbr pile.

Jul 22, 2017, 12:22 am

Andorra by Max Frisch

The Andorra of this play is not the actual state of Andorra", or any real place. According to the writer's notes, it is "the name of a model".

This is a play about anti-Semitism in particular and racism in general. It was first published in 1961.

I am counting it for Andorra!

Ago 19, 2017, 10:03 pm

Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov

A Ukrainian black comedy, absurd but menacing.

Editado: Ago 20, 2017, 4:51 am

I have had that a on my list for years Pam, must dig it up. I'm told it remains the best of the cycle.

Editado: Jan 11, 2019, 3:11 am

In the tbr pile:

The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross Estonia
Breathing into Marble by Laura Sintija Cemiauskaite Lithuania
The Equestrienne by Ursula Kovalyk Slovakia

Jan 11, 2019, 10:50 am

Welcome back!

Mar 7, 2019, 5:48 am

Loser Takes All by Graham Greene

Not his best, but it's set in Monte Carlo so that's Monaco done.

Mar 7, 2019, 10:27 am

Monaco! Nice! I've read several books by Graham Greene over the years and enjoyed them all.

Mar 7, 2019, 2:37 pm

The Comedians and The Power and the Glory were hits for me Pam.

Mar 14, 2019, 12:15 am


The Equestrienne by Ursula Kovalyk

A poverty-stricken, frail, unhealthy, uncoordinated young girl, unhappy both at school and home, finds herself when she makes a friend and takes up horseback acrobatics. Life will never be as good again. This appears to be an allegory of the politics of Slovakia. An odd little book.

>66 Caroline_McElwee: Hi Caroline! I also liked The Comedians. We read The Power and the Glory at school. It must be time to re-read it.

>65 rocketjk: It would be good to find a book written by a person from Monaco, but I've never come across one.

Editado: Jan 14, 2020, 2:54 pm

Still on the shelves: Breathing into Marble, Lithuania; Samko Tale's Cemetery Book, Slovakia; Cousins, North Macedonia; The Czar's Madman, Estonia; Wave of Terror, Belarus.

Fev 4, 2020, 3:12 pm

North Macedonia

Cousins by Meto Jovanovski

The cousins are two young men from a village in Macedonia. It is a tradition in the village that the young men leave during wartime to avoid being forcibly recruited into an army. They find work elsewhere and bring their earnings home to their families when the threat of war is over. It is 1917, and the villagers are at risk of being recruited by the Bulgarian army, the Serbian army, and the Allies. (The Bulgarians are allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Serbia and Greece with the Allies). It is not at all clear which country their village belongs to.

The cousins have no political affiliations at all and their only aim is to make their way home to their village, but the front is in the way.
They cannot avoid being recruited into an army, so they need to choose the one that most likely to get them home.

Cousins reads like a fable. The young men are simple villagers who understand little, do what they are told, and try to stay out of trouble until they reach home. Their plight highlights the absurdity of this war.

The book was an oddity. I enjoyed it.

Fev 4, 2020, 3:47 pm

>69 pamelad: That looks like a very interesting book.

Editado: Ago 19, 2021, 7:06 pm

Down to the last ten countries, so looking for some possibilities.

CROATIA Zagreb Noir edited by Ivan Srsen
CYPRUS Death Customs by Constantia Soteriou (Winner of Commonwealth Short Story Prize, 2019)
ESTONIA The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross On shelf.
LUXEMB0URG The Luxembourg Run by Stanley Ellin
MALTA Death in Malta by Roseanne Dinglii Kindle Unlimited
SERBIA Hidden Camera by Zoran Zivkovic Kindle Unlimited.

Best European Fiction 2010 contains stories by writers from many countries including Croatia, Estonia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania and Serbia.
Best European Fiction 2011 has a story from Montenegro.

Editado: Set 11, 2021, 6:24 pm

I just bought The Popes: A History by John Julius Norwich for Vatican City. Can't find the touchstone.

It might be an alternative title for Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy.

Set 28, 2021, 5:07 pm

Completed The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross for Estonia.

Dez 14, 2021, 5:01 am

Completed The Luxembourg Run by Stanley Ellin for Luxembourg. It wasn't really set in Luxembourg, but will have to do.