Qatar: Where Do I Belong?

I have had a hard time getting my hands on a book from Qatar. I know there are several out there, but sadly I cannot always get them shipped to me, even though they might be for sale online. This is a challenge, but when I get the book it is the reward in itself. … Continue reading Qatar: Where Do I Belong?

Austria: Relationships We Wish Would Not Exist

What could be more Austrian than classical music? Elfriede Jelinek's The Piano Teacher is a controversial story about Erika, an almost 40 year old piano teacher in the prestigious Vienna Conservatory, her possessive mother, and a 17 year old student. In many ways it is such a sad story. Erika has a domineering mother, and … Continue reading Austria: Relationships We Wish Would Not Exist

Australia: The Universal Quest for One’s Place in the World

The great Australian classic, Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, takes us back to the 1940s to 1960s  to a house on Cloudstreet, where two poor families, the Lams and the Pickles, lived. The books reminds me of many Irish family sagas I have read. The families are poor, there are alcoholics, religious people, someone bets on horses, … Continue reading Australia: The Universal Quest for One’s Place in the World

Armenia: Hell in Turkey, or the First Modern Genocide

“Without mercy and without pity, kill all from the one-month-old to the ninety-year-old. But see to it that this massacre is not conducted in the towns and in the presence of people”. This was written in Chankiri Ittihad Committee’s official document just before the Armenian genocide in Turkey started. Priest, and Armenian intellectual, Grigoris Balakin’s … Continue reading Armenia: Hell in Turkey, or the First Modern Genocide

Argentina: The Disappeared – A Harrowing Nightmare

Emilias husband Simòn disappeared in Argentina, like so many unfortunate souls did during the Dirty War. Tomás Eloy Martínez’s book Purgatory tells the story of how Emilia is looking for her husband, even though there are several witnesses who saw Simón’s dead body. Emilia finally sees her husband again, after 30 years, in New Jersey. … Continue reading Argentina: The Disappeared – A Harrowing Nightmare

Antigua and Barbuda: Rejected Before Birth in Repetition

Life moves at a slow pace on the island of Antigua, where Mr. Potter lives. He’s an illiterate taxi driver, father of many kids he is indifferent to, and a son of a father who left him before he was born. A non-existing father-daughter relationship, and a sad story all in all, is what can … Continue reading Antigua and Barbuda: Rejected Before Birth in Repetition

Angola: 28 Years of Solitude

José Eduardo Agualusa's A General Theory Of Oblivion is a fast read, but has quite a few layers to it. The protagonist, Ludo, is a Portuguese woman who, the night before Angola’s independence, cut herself out of the surrounding world, and ended up staying in her apartment for 28 years. The book shows us glimpses … Continue reading Angola: 28 Years of Solitude

Andorra: Albert Salvadó’s Book Should Be on Your To-Read List

Andorra turned out to be a challenging country. There are a few authors to choose from, but they write (mostly) in Catalan. Luckily Albert Salvadó has written two books which have been translated into English. Neither of the books are set in Andorra. This is why I chose to read one book by Salvadó, The … Continue reading Andorra: Albert Salvadó’s Book Should Be on Your To-Read List

Algeria: Languages, History, Conquests, and Liberation

This was definitely a different read from what I usually stumble on. Assia Djebar’s So Vast the Prison is not meant for a casual reader, but for someone who is familiar with different ways of writing, and can find a thread in the not-so-logical trips between different time periods and subjects. The protagonist is an … Continue reading Algeria: Languages, History, Conquests, and Liberation

Albania: The Lesser-Known European Country Known for Kadare

I feel privileged to have seen a small glimpse of this beautiful and humble country a few years back. I want to see more. I especially want to see more after reading Ismail Kadare’s The Fall of the Stone City. I have to be honest, without this project of mine, Kadare might not have made … Continue reading Albania: The Lesser-Known European Country Known for Kadare