Travelling without moving.
What’s the point? So this year I decided to stay closer to home. I spent some time in Russia, visited Japan, had a quick stay in India and finished it all off with a trip to a graveyard in England. All without leaving Catalonia.
Snowdrops is set in modern day Russia. It is a fast paced novel, intelligently written and absolutely gripping. It’s all there…corruption, intrigue, murder and scams. It has to be said that the country, particularly Moscow, isn’t going to win 5 stars on Trip Advisor on the strength of the descriptions, but it makes fascinating reading.
In the Miso Soup begins with our story teller, Kenji, explaining his job. He is a tour guide, of sorts, for foreigners travelling to Tokyo. Only Kenji specialises in the sleazy side of Tokyo. It is approaching New Year and an American named Frank hires Kenji. What follows is a strange tale of lust and violence with both a native and a foreigner’s view of Tokyo.
Saraswati Park is a glimpse into life in modern Mumbai set against a gentle story of changes in the lives of local people. The writer brings out the full feel and pace of life in the city, the mix of old and new. It’s warm and serious at the same time with a fascinating, easy and engaging style of writing.
In The Graveyard Book we meet Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens when he’s a baby and learn how he comes to live in a graveyard with ghosts for family and friends. Each chapter is a short story at different times in Bod’s life. If you’re a child, read this before you grow up. If you’re an adult, read it anyway and remember your childhood and the books you used to read.
Next year avoid airport security, overcrowded planes and jet lag. Stay a little closer to home and pack a few more books.