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Willoyd's Read Around The World

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As June said in the first post of her trip round the world's nations, I've been thinking about this for some time.  Given that I've only just reached the half-way point of my Tour of the USA, it's probably a bit precipitate to start  a new challenge, but I think I can handle too, and having seen June complete her journey recently, I'm inspired to get going on mine, so two challenges it is!


In terms of places I've decided to start with:

+ the 193 full member countries the United Nations

+.the 2 observer countries: Vatican City, Palestine

+ an ex-member: Taiwan

+ the United Kingdom split into its 4 constituent countries (I've read loads of English literature, but little from the others)

+ the only continent otherwise not represented in this tour: Antarctica

which takes me to 200, a good starting point, although that may well change as things progress.


As for criteria in choosing each book, I'm going for aims rather than rules, simply because I suspect, from reading others' challenges, it would be nigh on impossible to find books which I can read (eg most will need to be available in translation) that satisfy similar conditions to those I used in my Tour of the USA.  So, my main aim is to read an example of adult literature set in the country with an author born in or a citizen of that country (or resident as next best) - books regarded as 'classics' (modern or older) preferred. I will generally go for fiction,but, again unlike my Tour of the USA, non-fiction is allowed; it may even, on occasions, be preferred if I think it gives more insight into the country and/or its literature. A late resort would be a book about the country written by someone who is neither from nor a resident (eg, a history of...).  As well, whichever 'criteria' are satisfied, it will have to be a book I haven't read before.- this is about expanding my literary experience after all!


To keep posts manageable, I'm splitting countries up by continents in the checklists below: Europe; Africa; Asia; North America; South America and Oceania/Antarctica.  Books in blue are those that have been read.  Books in black are suggestions.


Read to date:  3 / 200



Edited by willoyd

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Europe (0/48)


Albania:  Broken April / Chronicle in Stone - Ismail Kadare

Andorra:  The Teacher of Cheops - Albert Salvado

Austria:  The Exiles' Return - Elizabeth de Waal; The Tobacconist - Robert Seethaler; Peter Handke, Beware of Pity - Stefan Zweig, Vienna Passion - Lilian Faschinger

Belarus:  King Stakh's Wild Hunt - Uladzimir Karatkevich, Svetlana Alexievich (NF), Alindarka's Children - Alhierld Bakharevich

Belgium:  The Sorrow of Belgium - Hugo Claus

Bosnia and Hezorgovina: The Bridge over the Drina - Ivo Andric

Bulgaria: Under The Yoke - Ivan Vazov, Bai Ganyo - Aleko Konstantinov, East of the West - Miroslav Penkov (shorts), Auto da Fe - Elias Canetti

Croatia:  Our Man in Iraq - Robert Perisic, The Ministry of Pain/Baba Yaga Laid An Egg - Dubravka Ugresic

Cyprus:  Margarita's Husband - Andriana Ierodiaconou, Ledra Street - Nora Nadjarian (shorts)

Czech Republic:  Closely Watched Trains - Bohumil Hrabel, The Good Soldier Svejk - Jaroslave Hasek

Denmark  A History of Danish Dreams - Peter Hoeg; We The Drowned - Carsten Jensen, The Angelic Avengers - Isak Dinesen

England:  The Good Companions - JB Priestley

Estonia:  The Autumn Ball - Mati Unt, Border State - Tonu Onepalu, Treading Air - Jaan Kross

Finland:  The True Deceiver - Tove Jansson

France:  Les Miserables - Victor Hugo; La Curee - Emile Zola; Life, A User's Manual - Georges Perec

Germany:  The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass; Buddenbrooks - Thomas Mann

Greece:  The Murderess - Alexandros Papadiamantis, The Scapegoat - Sophia Nikolaidou, Why I Killed My Best Friend - Amanda Michalopoulou, Zorba the Greek/Report to Greco - Nikos Kazantzakis

Hungary:  The Door/Katalin Street - Magda Szabo

Iceland:  Independent People - Halldor Laxness

Ireland:  Ulysses - James Joyce

Italy:  The Leopard - Giuseppe di Lampedusa; The Garden of the Finzi-Continis - Giorgio Bassani

Latvia:  The Book of Riga - various (shorts), Flesh-Coloured Dominoes - Zigmunds Skujins

Liechtenstein: Die letzte Reise der Hindenburg - Armin Ohri; Stamping Grounds - Charlie Connolly (NF).

Lithuania:  White Shroud - Antanas Skema, Tula - Jurgis Kuncinas, Vilnius Poker - Ricardas Gavelis, The Last Book Smuggler - Birute Putrius

Luxembourg: The Pleasure of Drowning - Jean Burlesk

Malta:  In the Name of the Father (and of the Son) - Immanuel Mifsud, Children Come By Ship/others - Oliver Friggieri

Moldova:  The Good Life Elsewhere - Vladimir Lorchenkov

Monaco: Making Monte Carlo - Mark Braude (NF)

Montenegro: The Son/The Coming - Andrej Nikolaidis

Netherlands: The Dark Room of Domocles - Willem Hermans, The Assault / The Discovery of Heaven - Harry Mulisch, The Evenings - Gerard Reve

Northern Ireland:  The Watch House - Bernie McGill

North Macedonia:  My Husband - Rumena Buzarovska (shorts)

Norway:  The Ice Palace / The Birds - Tarjei Vesaas

Poland: The Books of Jacob/Flights / Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead - Olga Tokarczuk, The Issa Valley - Cselaw Milosz.  Isaac Bashevis Singer

Portugal:  All The Names / The Stone Raft / The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Jose Saramago

Romania: Nostalgia - Mircea Cartarescu, Life Begins On Friday - Iona Parvulescu

Russia:  Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky;  Life and Fate - Vasily Grossman

San Marino:  The Republic of San Marino - Giuseppe Rossi

Scotland:  Waverley by Walter Scott

Serbia:  The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht

Slovakia: Rivers of Babylon - Peter Pistanek, Night Circus and other stories - Ursula Kovalyk (shorts)

Slovenia:  Alamut - Vladimir Bartol, The Harvest of Chronos - Mojca Kumerdej

Spain:  Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes; Nada - Carmen Laforet

Sweden:  The Red Room / The People of Hemso - August Strindberg; To Cook A Bear - Mikael Niemi; The Saga of Gosta Berling - Selma Lagerlof

Switzerland:  I'm Not Stiller - Max Frisch. The Assistant - Robert Walser

Ukraine: Death and the Penguin - Andrei Kurkov, Voroshilovgrad - Serhiy Zhadan

Vatican City:  When In Rome: A Journal of Life in Vatican City - Robert Hutchinson (NF)

Wales: One Moonlit Night - Caradog Prichard




Edited by willoyd

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Africa (2/54)


Algeria:  What the Day Owes the Night - Yasmina Khadra; Fantasia - Assia Djebar

Angola: Transparent City - Ondjaki, The Book of Chameleons - Jose Eduardo Agualusa

Benin: books by Florent Couao-Zotti (in French)

Botswana:  A Question of Power - Bessie Head

Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop - Nobert Zongo

Burundi:  Baho! - Roland Rugero

Cameroon:  Mission to Kala - Mongo Beti

Cape Verde:  The Last Will and Testament of Senhor da Silva Araujo - Germano Almeida

Central African Republic: Daba's Travels from Ouadda to Bangui/Princess Mandapu (in French) - Makombo Bambote

Chad:  Told By Starlight in Chad - Joseph Brahim Seid

Cormoros: A Girl Called Eel - Ali Zamir

Congo, DR:  Before the Birth of the Moon - Valentin Y Mudimbe

Congo, Rep:  Broken Glass/Black Moses - Alain Mabanckou

Cote d'Ivoire:  In the Company of Men / As the Crow Flies (and other) - Veronique Tadjo

Djibouti:  In the United States of Africa - Abdourahman Waberi

Egypt: Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy v1) - Naguib Mahfouz

Equatorial Guinea:  By Night the Mountain Burns - Juan Tomas Avila Laurel, Shadows of Your Black Memory - Donato Ndongo

Eritrea: The Consequences of Love - Suleiman Addonia, Gratitude in Low Voices - Dawit Gebremichael Habte (NF)

Eswatini: Weeding the Flowerbeds - Sarah Mkhonza (NF), When the Ground Is Hard - Malla Nunn (YA)

Ethiopia:  Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese

Gabon:  Mema - Daniel M Mengara

Gambia:  Reading the Ceiling - Dayo Forster

Ghana:  Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi; The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born - Ayi Kwei Armah; Search Sweet Country - Kojo Laing

Guinea:  The Dark Child - Camara Laye (NF)

Guinea-Bissau:  The Ultimate Tragedy - Abdulai Sila

Kenya: A Grain of Wheat / The River Between - Ngugi wa Thiongo'o

Lesotho:  Chaka/Traveller To The East - Thomas Mofolo

Liberia: She Would Be King - Wayetu Moore

Libya:  The Bleeding of the Stone - Ibrahim al-Koni; In the Country of Men - Hisham Matar

Madagascar: Beyond the Rice Fields - Naivo

Malawi:  The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - William Kamkwamba (NF)

Mali: The Fortunes of Wangrin - Amadou Hampate Ba

Mauritania:  The Desert and the Drum - Mbarek Ould Beyrouk

Mauritius:  The Last Brother - Nathacha Appanah

Morocco:The Sand Child - Tahar Ben Jelloun, The Year of the Elephant - Leila Abouzeid:

Mozambique:  Woman of the Ashes - Mia Couto

Namibia:  The Purple Violets of Oshaantu - Neshani Andreas; Born of the Sun/Troubled Waters - Joseph Diescho

Niger:  The Epic of Askia Mohammed - Thomas Hale/Nouhou Malio

Nigeria:  Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Rwanda:  Small Country - Gael Faye

Sao Tome and Principe:  Equator - Miguel Sousa Tavares

Senegal:  So Long A Letter - Mariama Ba, God's Bits of Wood - Ousmane Sembene

Seychelles:  Voices (shorts) / Kolony - Glynn Burridge

Sierra Leone:  The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar - Syl Cheney-Choker

Somalia:  Crossbones / From A Cracked Rib - Nuruddin Farah

South Africa:  The Promise - Damon Galgut

South Sudan:  There Is A Country - Nyuol Luoth Tong (ed-shorts); Eddo's Souls - Stella Gaitano (due out 2022 - Dedalus)

Sudan:  Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih

Tanzania:  Abdulrazak Gurnah

Togo:  An African in Greenland - Tete-Michel Kpomassie (NF)

Tunisia:  The Pillar of Salt - Albert Memmi

Uganda:  Kintu - Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Zambia:  The Old Drift - Namwali Serpell

Zimbabwe:  The House of Hunger - Dambudzo Marechera; We Need New Names - NoViolet Bulawayo, Nervous Conditions - Tsitsi Dangarembga



Edited by willoyd

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Asia (0/48)


Afghanistan:  The Patience Stone / Earth and Ashes - Atiq Rahimi; The Wasted Vigil - Nadeem Aslam

Armenia:  Three Apples Fell From The Sky - Narine Abgaryan

Azerbaijan:  Ali and Nino - Kurban Said, Days in the Caucasus - Banine

Bahrain:  Yummah - Sarah A. Al Shafei

Bangladesh:  A Golden Age - Tahmima Anam; The Book of Dhaka - shorts

Bhutan: The Circle of Karma - Choden Kunzang

Brunei:  Written in Black - KH Lim

Cambodia: In the Shadow of the Banyan - Vaddey Ratner

China:  The Garlic Ballads / Red Sorghum - Mo Yan

Georgia:  Flight From The USSR (Jeans Generation) - Dato Turashvili; The Book of Tblisi (shorts)

India:  A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry; The God of Small Things - Rohinton Mistry

Indonesia:  The Earth of Mankind - Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Iran:  Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi (NF), Touba and the Meaning of Night - Shahrnush Parsipur, Savushun - Simin Daneshvar

Iraq:  Prophecy of Pharaoh - Maysalun Hadi

Israel:  Judas - Amos Oz, More Than I Love My Life/To The End Of The Land - David Grossman

Japan:  Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata; Kobo Abe, Shusaka Endo

Jordan:  Times of White Horses/others - Ibrahim Nasrallah

Kazakhstan: The Silent Steppe/Surviving the Silent Steppe Mukhamet Shayakhmetov

Korea, North:  The Accusation - Bandi

Korea, South:  The Vegetarian/Human Acts Han Kang

KuwaitMama Hissa's Mice - Said Alsanousi

Kyrgyzstan:  Jamilia / The White Ship - Chinghiz Aitmatov

Laos: Mother's Belove: Stories from Laos - Outhine Bounyavong

Lebanon: The Prophet - Khali Gibran, The Tiller of Waters - Hoda Barakat

Malaysia: the Garden of Evening Mists/The Gift of Rain - Tan Twang Eng

Maldives:  Dhon Hiyala and Ali Fulhu - Abdullah Sadiz

Mongolia: The Blue Sky - Galsan Tschinag

Myanmar:  Smile As They Bow - Nu Nu Yi

Nepal:  The Tutor of History/others - Manjushree Thapa; Samrat Upadhyay; Karnali Blues - Buddhisagar

Oman:  Celestial Bodies - Jokha Alharthi

Pakistan:  Basti - Intizar Husain, The Wandering Falcon - Jamil Ahmad

Palestine: Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands - Sonia Nimr;  Minor Detail - Adania Shibli

Philippines:  Illustrado - Miguel Syjuco; Noli Me Tangere - Jose Rizal

Qatar:  The Corsair by Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud

Saudi Arabia:  The Ruins Of Us - Keija Parssinen; The Dove's Necklace - Raja Alem; Girls of Riyadh - Rajaa Alsanea

Singapore: Fistful of Colours / The River's Song - Suchen Christine Lim

Sri Lanka

Syria:  The Frightened Ones - Dima Wannous

Tajikistan:  Hurramabad - Andrei Volos



Timor-Leste:  Eyewitness - Seno Ajidarma (1994)

Turkey:  Snow - Orhan Pamuk

Turkmenistan: The Tale of Aypi - AK Welsapar, Unknown Sands - John Knopf (memoir)


Uzbekistan: Heirs to the Great Sinner San'On - Erkin A'zam (2010)

Vietnam: The Sorrow of War - Bao Ninh (1990)




Edited by willoyd

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North America  (1/23)


Antigua and Barbuda:  Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid


Barbados:  In the Castle of My Skin - George Lamming


Canada: Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood; Runaway by Alice Munro

Costa Rica

Cuba: Oscar Hijuelos?

Dominica:  Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys

Dominican Republic: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

El Salvador


Guatemala:  The President - Miguel Angel Asturias

Haiti:  The Dew Breaker - Edwidge Danticat


Jamaica:  Augustown - Kai Miller

Mexico:  Down the Rabbit Hole / Quesadillas - Juan Pablo Villalobos; The Death of Artemio Cruz - Carlos Fuentes, Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel



St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent and Grenadines

Trinidad and  Tobago:  A House for Mr Biswas - VS Naipaul; The White Woman on the Green Bicycle - Monique Roffey

United States:  Beloved - Toni Morrison 


Edited by willoyd

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South America  (0/12)


Argentina:  The Tango Singer - Tomas Eloy Martinez


Brazil:  The Violent Land - Jorge Amado

Chile:  The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende

Colombia: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez




Peru:  Red April - Santiago Roncagliolo; book by Maria Vargas Llosa


Uruguay:  Who Among Us / The Truce - Mario Benedetti




Oceania and Antarctica (0/15)


Antarctica:  Antarctic Navigation -Elizabeth Arthur

Australia: Oscar and Lucinda - Peter Carey; Cloudstreet - Tim Winton; Voss - Patrick White



Marshall Is



New Zealand:  Owls Do Cry - Janet Frame; Potiki - Patricia Grace (Maori)


Papua NG


Solomon Is

Tonga:  Tales of the Tikongs - Epeli Hau'ofa



Edited by willoyd

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First of the 200 completed, kicking off with South Africa, and a great start too: Damon Galgut's Booker Prize-winning The Promise, a relatively rare occasion when I agree completely with the judges - this was a brilliant read.  It's chatty, unrelentingly driven, not pretty (characters get killed off in a variety of natural and man-made ways), and really gets its claws into you - I couldn't read it in particularly large chunks (most was around 80 pages), but I couldn't wait to get back to it either.  5 out of 6 stars.

Edited by willoyd

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Second up was In the United States of Africa by Abdouhrahman Waberi, from Djibouti. This was a slim volume (123 pages) with an interesting premise - Africa being the first world continent, and Europe and North America being the third world. The main protagonist, Maya, is a European born white girl adopted by a black couple, who travels to France to look for her birth mother.  It's a challenging read, requiring considerable concentration, but is written with a strongly poetic rhythm and style; there's some real bubbles of humour in amongst otherwise fairly stark material.. The last quarter, in France, is the easiest section of the book to read, leading to a sense of acceleration towards the finish. I do think, though, that the author could have perhaps made more of what was a fascinating premise. Even so, it proved an very interesting read (4 stars), and one that positively demands I return to it in the near future.

Edited by willoyd

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Book #3:  Beloved by Toni Morrison for the United States.  Review to follow.

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