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Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn; The Visit Of The Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist


Many thanks, Catherine (and for the reminder of 'The Visit ...' which I got from a Swedish friend and read a while ago).


A few suggestions for your friend

China: Wild Swans (non fiction) 3 generations of women who lived through tumultous times in the countrys history . For fiction, try Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien - the effects of the Cultural Revolution on some musicians, Builds towards the Tianemen Square protest so very topical given the current events in Hong Kong

Moscow - A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

St Petersburg - The Seige by Helen Dunmore


Excellent, Bookertalk, thank you, and a timely reminder to me to read the Amor Towles which I've had a waiting for a while!

Mr Cornflower

You can't have too much Eric Newby, so for Italy I would warmly recommend Love and War in the Apennines. Then something to be dipped into more or less anywhere between Venice and Shanghai: Peter Frankopan's The Silk Roads.


The Silk Roads is probably just the thing for that 64 hour train journey Harriet mentioned.

Dark Puss

For Brussels, the best of the graphic novels of Herge of course! For Berlin Mr Norris Changes Trains, for Oslo, many (but not all since some are not set there) of the thrillers by Jo Nesbo, for Japan you know I will be recommending without hesitation almost everything written by Murukami, but also The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon. For Germany, well there are so many to choose. I note from your friend's weblog that they will visit Hamburg (good choice) and this was of course very badly bombed in WW2. Perhaps the excellent Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut (set in Dresden) might have some resonance. For St Petersburg you would find Anna Karenina an obvious choice, but hard to better, though I think a whole range of writers including Gogol, Dostoyevsky, Turgenyev and Pushkin set novels in or around that great city. I expect I could go on (and on) but let's see what other readers suggest.

Dark Puss

And back with a few more, mainly childen's fiction. Emil and the Detectives by Trier is set mainly in Berlin. Moving to the slums of Paris the excellent and exciting 100 000 000 Francs by Berna is strongly recommended too. Two charming and surreal books (for all ages) set in the steppes of Russia are Yan and the Pike and Yan and the Chrstmas Tree both by Jun Machida. Enough from me I think!

Dark Puss

I agree! Big Red Train Ride for crossing Russia.

Fran H-B

Christina Hardyment wrote of her family's travels in Europe;Heidi's Alp; A Family's search for Storybook Europe, published in the 70's. My copy is called The Canary Coloured Cart. They visited several of the countries mentioned here.
What a fascinating journey, I have always been slightly envious of people who take off like this....trip of a lifetime!

Herbert Henry Asquith

I can highly recommend In Xanadu by William Dalrymple, in which the author treks from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to the site of Xanadu. It's very pacy and quite short, and will hopefully not only illuminate the journey but make them want to seek out his other books.

Best wishes to the explorers!

Ginny Jones

Highly recommended are the books about walking across Europe pre WW II by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Any book by Eric Newby is a star and even though you aren't sailing, THE LAST GRAIN RACE (sailing in a square rigger to Australia) is one of my all time favorite books. His A SHORT WALK IN THE HINDU KUSH is a must. I would get a book on emergency medicine and from a friendly physician some prescriptions!. Take a picture book of home so that you can show folks where you come from -- they will be curious!


I loved “The Good Master” by Kate Seredy (Hungary) as a child. A great idea from Ginny!


Many thanks for all these suggestions, DP!


That book sounds like a super suggestion, Fran, something along the lines of How the Heather Looks by Joan Bodger, perhaps.


Many thanks!


PLF: yes, of course! Thank you, Ginny.
I love your other suggestions too.


Thanks, Gillie. Good to have another suggestion for Hungary.

Fran H-B

Thanks for your reminder of the Joan Bodger book. I must track it down having read of it here sometime ago.

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