Location, Location, Location
The Book Trail returns as guest blogger this year, with a blog particularly relevant to her expertise – an exploration of our Location, Location, Location event on Saturday 9th September, 10:30am.
Nothing to do with the stress of house-moving but the much better and much more exciting kind of discovering new places via books – travelling to countries and cities you might never get the chance to see if you don’t pick up a book. On the BookTrail, we map out the locations in novels so you can almost feel you’re there, via photos and travel guides. The three novels by the authors in the Location, Location, Location panel certainly clocked up the miles!
Setting is often vital to the plot of a novel – it is sometimes a character in itself – but it always shapes and colours our expectations and understanding of a country and its people. Setting a novel in a remote location can either ramp up the fear of isolation or create a sense of peace. An island can provide an idyllic getaway or a place you can’t escape from.
So, what can you expect from authors who set their books in Albania, the Antarctic and the stunning coast of Australia?
Albania – not your usual destination for a crime novel. Even if you’ve been to the country, the view you’ll get in this novel is definitely not what you’d get if you saw it through your own eyes! Instead, J.G. Sinclair takes you to the dark side to set his crime thriller in the gritty shadows of the Albanian Mafia aka “The Clan”.
The Scottish link is nicely woven in since the lead character is a hard-nosed Glaswegian lawyer who has experience of an Albanian gang. Moving her from the usual territory into the unknown gives the novel a fish out of water feel and she doesn’t just venture into this place but goes in feet first, chasing criminals in a world where the rules don’t apply. The underworld is brutal and in Albania, even more so it would seem!
With all the running from the mafia in the last book, L.A. Larkin is going to cool you down with the freezing isolation of this location! Set in Antarctica, we follow an expedition to dig a subglacial lake in order to explore what’s underneath. You’d never get a chance to do this in real life (and this is based on a real life case) so the thrill of the adventure allows the author to expand on fact with some literary flourish. We all have that little bit of adventure inside us and to essentially go back in time to something that really did happen is perhaps the biggest thrill of all. You might want to wear gloves and a hat and scarf when reading this as this gets very cold and very remote…
Slightly warmer in location than the previous novel but just as chilling. The Bay of Martys is a stunning part of Victoria in Australia and is a favourite tourist location along the Great Ocean Road. You might not expect to find a dead body on the beach – but then that’s the shocking contrast; just how does a community feel when a family find a body in a place where families spend time every day? What are the consequences on a small beach side community? Lots to analyse and think about in a crime novel with so many local touches.
When you read novels so imbued with a sense of time and place like these, you really get a sense of what it must be like to be there. If the author evokes each of your five senses with their words, even some of the language or dialogue, the journey is almost as vivid as if you were actually on location.
Books set in a distant land or country can open up worlds both reading and otherwise, allow us to live other people’s lives, stand in their shoes and even go to the dark side to see and understand the world, cultures and more.
Plus, when you come off a literary holiday there’s no holiday blues – as even if you miss the place and characters, you can instantly go back there just by picking up that book again.