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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Football and fiction - novels set in countries taking part in Euro 2012

At TripFiction we  suggest a novel that is evocative of each country taking part in Euro 2012, especially those a little fatigued by football. We have chosen authors who in their own way bring each country to life and enable us to see, feel and enjoy that country through fiction. 

Please feel free to add more novels that you think really capture the essence of a particular country/place in our Comments Box below and if we don't already feature it we will certainly add it to our database.

A traveller's words that sum up a feel for football: I still found it difficult to let go, especially now that the Euopean Championship had alledgedly resumed. It wasn't just the games themselves; it was the whole structure that football lent to one's life, the shared belief system, the stories and controversies that reinforced it." (extract from Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer)


May, 1992. Hana is twelve years old when she is put on one of the last UN evacuation buses fleeing the besieged city of Sarajevo. Her twenty-one-year-old sister, Atka, staying behind to look after their five younger siblings, is there to say goodbye.  But as the Bosnian war escalates and months go by without contact, their promise to each other becomes deeply significant. Hana is forced to cope as a refugee in Croatia, far away from home and family, while Atka battles for survival in a city where snipers, mortar attacks and desperate food shortages are a part of everyday life.


A wealthy young couple in depression-era Czechoslovakia commission their modernist dream house and live there until personal betrayal and the Nazis arriving on the doorstep end the idyll. The Landauer House is based on Mies Van Der Rohe's art-deco masterpiece, the Villa Tugendhat in Brno. Simon Mawer follows the history of the house over the next 50 years, but of course the Landauer family and their friends are the main point of the story.


Set in Denmark, Bess is coming to terms with the death (by shooting) of her husband Halland. Why was he shot?
The chapters are short, vignettes, describing her encounters with different people who move in and out of her life, discoveries she makes along the way. The TLS describes this kind of contemporary literature as "2 hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film" (or football?)


Grace, erstwhile maid at Riverton Manor tells the story reflectively from a grand age. The story of a grand English country house, the home of Hannah and Emmiline Hartford. There is mystery, there are secrets, love, loss and tragedy.
Here, hidden beneath the layers of time the ghosts of old memories start to stir.
Their story is told by Grace Bradley. One time housemaid at Riverton. As the tale unfolds a secret is about to emerge, something forgotten in the midsts of time but not as it seems by Grace...


Recenty published, this new novel from Joanne Chocolat. Fictional Lansquenet, in south-west France, is once again the setting for this novel, no. 3 in the Chocolat series. Vianne Rocher receives an unexpected letter from her old friend Armande Voizin, asking her to return to Lansquenet, so Vianne leaves her partner, Roux, on their houseboat in Paris and takes her daughters, Anouk and Rosette, back to the small town where she opened her beautiful chocolate shop just under a decade ago.


Set in rural 1950s Germany, the narrator of the book returns to an isolated rural community where a whole family and their maid have been murdered and the rest of the community has turned a blind eye.


On the fictional sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation's annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be surprisingly young and charming -- not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation's guests are soon eating out of his hand. So, even sooner, is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser.

"Captures the Greek feel impeccably!"


In 2010, when the recession took root in Ireland, the young people looked at the ground they were standing on and realised it was rotten. Rotten in so many ways, but especially in the ways made by man. 
In the winter of 2010, a group of college students had a different idea. They weren't going to leave. They would simply find a patch of land that hadn't been contaminated and live off it. Just like their forefathers had always done before the land became rotten and the country corrupted by greed. This is their story.


A gastro-memoir! And don't let the cover lead you to believe it is chick-lit, it isn't!! L’appetito vien mangiando! – Appetite comes while you are eating. Vicky arrives in Tuscany to study the language and culture of Italy, but soon falls in love with charismatic chef Gianfranco and starts to learn the art of Italian cooking in his trattoria. On Sunday nights, after benches are stacked on tables, they explore the countryside by car, passing glassy lakes and ancient hill towns. This colourful and intoxicating gastro-memoir takes you behind the scenes of romantic restaurants and bars in Tuscany, Umbria, Elba and Perugia. Interspersed with recipes, humour and heartbreak, it will leave you entranced and with a hankering for tagliatelle and truffles.


Schama shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire – the Dutch republic.
‘Schama is one of the few historians writing today who can recreate the mentalité of another culture.’


The author spent five years living and working in Poland and he recounts his time there in a vivid and enjoyable style.

"All said and done, it's a funny, witty and very tender book about a country few of us (in the West) know much about. A must for those who want to discover the 'real' Poland, even if, one suspects, it has changed since the book was written"


Raimund Gregorius is a Swiss middle-aged teacher of ancient languages in Bern. His routine id disturbed when he has a strange encounter with a Portuguese woman. He learns of the work of Amadeu Prado and is energised into travelling to Lisbon where he meets with characters who have been important in Prado's life.


A thriller set in 1950s Stalinist Russia, a regime that balks at nothing and executes opponents without conscience. It wanted to be seen as the perfect society. A series of brutal murders shatter this image, but if it is the work of a serial killer, then denial is the first response.

"A fast paced novel that keeps the reader engaged"


Spain is Michener’s second home and he writes about the glories of the Prad0, th bullfights, and everything that is Spanish; such a great storyteller, he magnificently captures the stunning variety of life and culture in Spain.

"An absolute must for Hispanophiles"


Working Mother of 2 children crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is woken by a phonecall in the early hours of a wintry December morning. An explosion has ripped apart the Olympic Stadium. And a victim has been blown to pieces. Seven days. Three killings. And Bengtzon who knows too much...


The hero, Captain Alexei Korolev, a detective in Moscow's criminal investigation squad in the 1930s, dissatisfied and morose, manages to cling to his job and his life while all around him are losing theirs. He's ordered to the port of Odessa to look into the apparent suicide of a young woman film production assistant whose importance was that she was also the secret mistress of an influential state commissar. Korolev's inquiries unearth dangerous secrets.

1 comment:

  1. This is a brilliant idea - all of Europe is focussed on the countries taking part in Euro 2012!