Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Novel Places

One of my favorite things to do is stroll around a new city. Whether a pretty front door or a tree with which I'm unfamiliar, these serendipitous discoveries make me smile. When visiting a new city I routinely pass by museums, choosing to continue exploring the city's fabric rather than inspect its wall-mounted art. This love of city exploration affects how I react to novels. I don't necessarily need action or believable dialogue so long as the novel expresses a strong sense of place. Granted, the total package is always appreciated, but place seems to be the driving force behind my novel reading these days.

Below are a few novels that convey a unique depiction of a specific place.

Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson (Oxford, England)

Larry McMurtry's Horseman, Pass By (rural West Texas)

Walker Percy's The Moviegoer (New Orleans)

Philip Roth's American Pastoral (New Jersey)

Joseph O'Neill's Netherland (Manhattan)

Aleksander Hemon's The Lazarus Project (Chicago and Bosnia)

Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping (Idaho)

Steve Yarbrough's Safe from the Neighbors (Mississippi)

Gerbrand Bakker's The Twin (rural Holland)

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