Travel fiction at its best

Related to an earlier post about Quality Hunters, I’m eager to explore the topic of travel fiction a bit more.

I guess a very traditional way of defining travel fiction is something along the lines of characters physically moving from one place to another, talking about it, learning, discussing, getting into trouble and awkward situations, enjoying and finding new horizons.

Say, Around the world in 80 days or something equally unsurprising?

Another way of defining the concept, more from the reader’s point of view, could be simply to include all fiction any given person reads while travelling.

For me, this would include e.g. The history of love (still remember how the evenings in Porto sounded like when I read the book on my balcony), The road (read it in Vientiane and kept thinking how terribly engaging a book can be even when nothing too much happens, father and son are walking on an endless route it seems), or The Friday night knitting club which I read while relaxing on a small island in Thailand.

None of these novels are set in Finland, so could they also count as travel fiction according to my next criterium?

Perhaps travel fiction could be seen as any kind of fiction that is set in a chosen country, culture or a combination of several countries and cultures.

I’ve spent a year in Laos. It’s not a very long time to spend in a country, but perhaps enough to learn a bit. After doing some research, I learned that there are some novels set in Laos. Crime fiction, of all the genres. If someone would’ve asked me to guess the genre/genres of novels set in Laos in advance, I never ever would’ve picked crime fiction. I’m not sure which category I would’ve chosen, but crime fiction – no way.

And it’s not just one book, it’s many. A series of crime novels, written by Colin Cotterill. I haven’t read the books yet, but I’m considering (crime fiction not so much my cup of tea). Perhaps the streets of Vientiane would look different after getting to know Dr. Siri Paiboun, so I’m tempted.

I wonder if Dr. Siri would have peeked through this hole in the That Luang area?

What is your favourite piece of travel fiction? So far my favourite has been The History of Love. I read it while I was, for the first time, travelling on my own for a few weeks.

♥ In the meantime: I have to admit that I too am slightly surprised of the Greek decision on organizing a referendum on the bailout package. I mean, did anyone see that coming?

♠ Song of the day: The Kings Chamber Orchestra, Knowing You

4 thoughts on “Travel fiction at its best

  1. Dr. Siri Payboun really is a great guide. If you can wait until Christmas, I’ll bring you some – allegedly the ones available on Amazon have been ‘modified’ for the US market…

  2. I like the notion that a travel book is not necessary a book about a place you want to travel to, or a book set in a different country, but also a book that reminds you of a place where you read it at.

    I, too, read the History of Love in a very special place, and for me just thinking about it now brings back the smells and sounds of the Okavango Delta. How funny, I even blogged about that book once…

    http://eevasafrica.blogspot.com/2009/04/coincidence.html

  3. @kmmakinen Oh I would love to wait until Christmas if you’ll take the effort of bringing me some! We don’t want anything that has been, erm, polished for any markets 🙂

    @Eeva What a fun coincidence! And you picked a great passage from the book to your blog. The things we learn!

  4. Pingback: Hunting for more quality | Yalotar

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