Travel the world in pages: books to transport you to another country

Turn a page and find yourself in another country altogether: these richly varied reads immerse you in global travel from the comfort of home.

Want to take a road trip across the USA, disappear into the mountains of Nepal, roll a cigar in nineteenth-century Cuba or journey back to Ancient Greece? This is our pick of compelling stories from around the world, with works from the likes of Jackie Kay who a dives deeply into her Scots/Nigerian heritage; Roberto Bolaño who takes his alter ego on a return trip to post-coup Chile; and literary master V. S. Naipaul, whose A House for Mr Biswas turns its Trinidadian protagonist into one of literature's great tragic-comic anti-heroes.

USA

Nevada

by Imogen Binnie

Book cover for Nevada

The world was ready for a new Great American Road Trip story, and this is it. Maria is a trans woman in her thirties, and she is going nowhere fast. She aimlessly works in a New York bookstore, trying to keep her punk credentials, drinking hard and having half-hearted sexual liaisons. When her girlfriend cheats, Maria grabs her car and heads to the Pacific. Along the way she stops in Reno, Nevada, where she meets James, a young guy who works in Walmart. The two form a strong connection, one that will have major repercussions for them both.

Trust

by Hernan Diaz

Book cover for Trust

Everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is the roaring 1920s' ultimate tycoon, and she comes from an eccentric aristocratic family. Their wealth seems unending, but just how did they acquire it? This mystery sits at the centre of Bonds, a bestselling 1938 novel. Trust elegantly swings these two narratives into a dialogue with each other, and into conflict with the perspective of a young woman who wants to untangle fact from manifold fictions in a quest for the truth.

Cuba & the USA

Of Women and Salt

by Gabriela Garcia

Book cover for Of Women and Salt

Moving from nineteenth-century cigar factories to modern-day detention centres, and from Cuba to the US to Mexico, Of Women and Salt traces the lives of Latina women of great pride and strength, connected by the stories passed among them. From the only female employee in a cigar factory in 1866 to a woman who watches as her husband heads to the mountains in 1959 to fight for Fidel, to twenty-first century Miami where a granddaughter plans to return to Cuba to connect to her past, this is a tale of a the tenacity of women.

Mexico

The Dead Girls

by Jorge Ibargüengoitia

Book cover for The Dead Girls

Serafina Baladro and her sister own a thriving brothel is a small town. But when the business start to fail, life in the brothel sours, and one by one the women begin to vanish. Based on the true life story of serial killers Delfina and María de Jésus González whose crimes were discovered in 1964, The Dead Girls is a satire and a dark comedy, teasing out the pedantic hopelessness of a dysfunctional justice system.

Chile

Cowboy Graves

by Roberto Bolaño

Book cover for Cowboy Graves

Three boundlessly imaginative novellas by Roberto Bolaño, which take the reader from post-coup Chile to French Guiana on the night after an eclipse to a clandestine surrealist group who inhabit the Paris sword. In Cowboy Graves, Bolaño's alter ego Arturo Belano returns to Chile to fight with his comrades for a socialist future. These treasures from a master of contemporary fiction echo the bizarre characters and uncanny atmosphere of his major works.

Nepal

Among Flowers

by Jamaica Kincaid

Book cover for Among Flowers

From the pen of brilliant novelist Jamaica Kincaid comes a vivid, engrossing and frank travel memoir of a trip to Nepal made with three botanist friends. Kincaid's work is saturated with imagery of plants and gardening, and Among Flowers combines meditations on the spectacular Nepalese landscape with speculations on the colonial nature of her travel with Sherpas and bearers, as well as gripping detail on the dangers of leeches and the appearance of enigmatic Maoist guerrillas. 

Japan

All The Lovers In The Night

by Mieko Kawakami

Book cover for All The Lovers In The Night

Fuyuko Irie is a freelance proofreader in her thirties who lives alone in Tokyo. She finds contact with people difficult, seeing only Hijiri, who she works with. Her reflection shows her a fatigued and dispirited woman, and her only comfort is light. One Christmas Eve she sets out to see the lights, and has an encounter with a married man called Mitsutsuka which awakens her need for love and communication. Painful memories arise, as the walls Fuyuko has constructed around her begin to fall. This is a pulsing and deeply poetic work from Japanese literary sensation Mieko Kawakami.

Australia

Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

by Lizzie Pook

Book cover for Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

It's 1886, and the Brightwell family has sailed to Western Australia to make a new home. Ten-year-old Eliza is expecting to find glimmering pearls and shells like soup bowls on the other side. Ten years on, and Charles Brightwell, the bay's most successful pearler, disappears from his ship while out at sea. People in the town whisper of murder, but Eliza refuses to believe that her father has gone. Her search for the truth will take her deep into the town's corruption and prejudice.

Uganda & London

Kololo Hill

by Neema Shah

Book cover for Kololo Hill

In Uganda in 1972, a terrible decree is issued by Idi Amin: all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days. For newly wed Asha and Pran it means abandoning their family business, and for Pran's mother Jaya it means saying goodbye to her family home, and jeopardising their employee December. Meanwhile shots are ringing out in Kampala, and friends are disappearing. Along with Pran's brother, Asha and Jaya make the perilous journey to the airport, and onwards to temporary housing and a London home. Pran disappears, and then resurfaces determined to return to Uganda, a choice that threatens to destroy his marriage and the family. 

Trinidad

A House for Mr Biswas

by V. S. Naipaul

Book cover for A House for Mr Biswas

Set in Trinidad, Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas is an epic work of comic power which rivals Dickens in its humour, compassion, sweep and vivid portraiture. Since his father was drowned, Mr Biswas has been moved from house to house, and is now dependent on the Tulsi family which he married into. Desperate to escape the drudgery of his crowded existence and the constraints of extended family, Mr Biswas dreams of being a modern man with a home of his own.

Scotland & Nigeria

Red Dust Road

by Jackie Kay

Book cover for Red Dust Road

As a small girl, poet Jackie Kay realises that her skin is a different colour to that of her adored parents. As an adult, she starts to trace the story of her birth parents: her fragile Highland mother and her ebullient Nigerian father. Red Dust Road takes the reader on a twisting turning tale, full of warmth and honesty. From Glasgow to Lagos and beyond, this is a remarkable story of family, belonging, belief and biology.  

Italy

Gomorrah

by Roberto Saviano

Book cover for Gomorrah

Gomorrah was first published in Italy in 2006, since when its author, Roberto Saviano, has received multiple death threats and needs protection in his home city of Naples. He has written the shocking true story of the the Camorra, which reaches into the worlds of fashion, construction, drugs and waste disposal, with an iron grip on settlements all the way down the Neopolitan coast. This is bravura journalism, as well as the being the story of a brave young Neapolitan man, and his refusal to comply with a deadly institution.

Greece

Stone Blind

by Natalie Haynes

Book cover for Stone Blind

Medusa comes to shimmering, threatening life in this novel by Women’s Prize-shortlisted writer Natalie Haynes. Medusa is the only mortal in a family of divinities, who grows up with immortal Gorgon sisters knowing that she herself has a human lifespan. When sea god Poseidon commits an offensive act in Athene's temple, the goddess takes revenge where she can, replacing Medusa's hair with coiling snakes and making her gaze turn living creatures into stone. Medusa cannot look at anything without destroying it, and she has to live her life in the shadows. Until that is, Perseus begins a quest to fetch a Gorgon's head . . . 

France

The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

by Christine Féret-Fleury

Book cover for The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

This French phenomenon penned by Christine Féret-Fleury tells the story of Juliette, who takes the métro each morning to her detested office job, obsessively reading on her way each morning and observing her fellow commuters' reads. One day she meets Soliman, who owns the most charming bookshop Juliette has every seen, and her life takes an unexpected turn. Soliman firmly believes that books can alter your life, and he is about to change Juliette's forever.