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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

No news; No Shoes: Island life on the Maldives

As the northern hemisphere heads into Winter, we, at TripFiction are certainly longing for warmer days. So, we are going to "have a holiday for the price of a paperback", we are heading off somewhere warm, where the sun shines and life is easy. Come with us to the Maldives and take a bit of time off, feel the warmth of the sun through the prose, the sand under your feet and enjoy some interesting storylines... Click on the links to go through to the book.

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a summer job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's holiday home in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation: a tropical island beats the library any day. T.J. has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having had cancer wasn't bad enough, he now has to spend his first summer in remission with his family instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Marooned on an uninhabited island, Anna and T.J. work together to obtain water, food, fire and shelter but, as the days turn to weeks then months and finally years, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man...

Beach Babylon takes you behind the scenes at a five-star tropical island resort. Do all the stories which take place behind the closed doors of the exclusive spa have happy endings? What do the world's richest people expect from room service during their fortnight in paradise? What does the windsurfing instructor do to keep sane after hours?

We have come across this book and we are looking for someone to write a Lead Review for our site. Have you read this? Do you fancy reading this and submitting a review for us? Just a few words would be fab! 
Available on kindle only, it can be downloaded here:

And finally a bit of history from Thor Heyerdahl. One of the world's foremost explorers investigates the origins of Maldive history and discovers that the seemingly remote and insignificant islands on the Indian Ocean once formed a crucial crossroads for early pre-European civilizations

Can you suggest any more Maldives set fiction? We would love more suggestions, just talk to us in the Comments Box

Sunday, 28 October 2012

"Scandicrime" not only in Scandinavia

"Scandicrime" is almost becoming a genre in its own right, whether it is set in Scandinavia or further afield. The late Stieg Larsson is, of course, one of the best known authors of this genre. People from all over the world flock to Stockholm to follow in the footsteps of his characters, Kalle Blomquist and Lisbeth Salander, as they track down the perpetrators in the Millenium Trilogy. You, too, can take a walking tour with The Stadsmuseum and follow the trail from Bellmansgatan to Fiskargatan and other locations that feature in his books. 

Today we have brought together several authors who have caught our eye and really know how to set their characters in a variety of locations - you almost feel you are there with them, accompanying the protagonists, seeing the cities as they see them and, of course, all the while enjoying a good read. Click on the covers for more information and to purchase.

Australia Sweden  Latvia  Isle of Lewis

The Bat is the very first in the Jo Nesbø Harry Hole series. Harry is in Sydney to investigate the murder of Inger Holter, a Norwegian woman who happens to be working in Australia. Inger was young, blonde and her body was found dumped in Gap Park. She was raped and strangled. With more murders and mysterious disappearances Harry Hole takes on the case, but simultaneously attracts the attention of a ruthless and cunning serial killer.

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell. Sweden, winter, 1991. Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team receive an anonymous tip-off. A few days later a life raft is washed up on a beach. In it are two men, dressed in expensive suits, shot dead. The dead men were criminals, victims of what seems to have been a gangland hit. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case soon takes on a far more sinister aspect. Wallander travels across the Baltic Sea, to Riga in Latvia, where he is plunged into a frozen, alien world of police surveillance, scarcely veiled threats, and lies. Doomed always to be one step behind the shadowy figures he pursues, only Wallander's obstinate desire to see that justice is done brings the truth to light.

The Black House by Peter May is the first in the Isle of Lewis trilogy. 'In mood and texture, Peter May's novels, set on the Isle of Lewis, are essentially Nordic, and he bears comparison with some of the best writers from those cold desolate climes' The Times.

The Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser starts out with Janek Mitter, as he stumbles into his bathroom one morning after a night of heavy drinking, to find his beautiful young wife, Eva, floating dead in the bath. She has been brutally murdered. Yet even during his trial Mitter cannot summon a single memory of attacking Eva, nor a clue as to who could have killed her if he had not. Drawing a blank after exhaustive interviews, Chief Inspector Van Veeteren remains convinced that something, or someone, in the dead woman’s life has caused these tragic events. But the reasons for her speedy remarriage have died with her. And as he delves even deeper, Van Veeteren realizes that the past never stops haunting the present . . .

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. His books have sold over 60 millions copies worldwide and this is the first in the Millenium Trilogy. Setin Södermalm, a trendy, bohemian district in Stockholm, where charming galleries and cafes mingle with historic wooden cottages.Central to the plot are Kalle Blomquist, a journalist convicted of libel and Lisbeth Salander, an expert system hacker and investigator, who can see patterns and links in the investigation that are not evident to to others. Blomquist is employed to investigate the unsolved disappearance of Harriet Vanger in the 1960's and together they start to explore the complex story - violence, and suspense, set against a Nordic backdrop.

We are sure readers out there have their favourite Scandicrime authors, so please come and share your "must read" authors with us here in the Comments Box and introduce others to your chosen fiction.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tripfiction visits Texas

The American elections came and went, Dallas, the TV show has come and gone, we thought, how about taking our readers over to Texas for a jolly good read.. Enjoy! Click on the cover if you want to find out more. You can purchase via TF (click on the cover) or find the novels in your book store.

Stardust by Carla Stewart is set in Texas of the 1950s. Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren't what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband's mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who's tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia's past.

Lone Star Noir by Bobby and Johnny Byrd - One can drive around Texas for a long time and never meet J.R. Ewing or Woodrow McCall. The real Texas hides out in towns and cities like those that readers will find in these stories. In that very Texan reality, among the everyday good folks of the state, readers will find the hard-boiled understanding of guns, dope, blood money, greed, hatred and delusion that makes these 14 stories come alive on the page.

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale by Linda Rutledge. Faith Bass Darling is the sole occupant of the family mansion in Bass, Texas. She is succumbing to Alzheimers and on the last day of 1999 hears the voice of God and starts hauling the family antiques out of her Victorian mansion and holds a garage sale on her front lawn. Her life is told in a series of flashbacks, family losses are movingly and sensitively told.
"The trials of people in a small Texas town are vividly captured in this beautiful first novel"

Share with us in the Comments Box below, any novels you know of that capture the heart of Texas. We'd love to hear from you and we need you to help us build TripFiction into a really top resource for travellers.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

For the love of cricket. Kabul. New York. Sri Lanka.

We have brought together a couple of novels with a cricket theme. Perfect for all those out there who just love the game! The sport is right at the heart of these books. (Great presents perhaps for the cricket lover in your family???). Enough said, here are the books and just click on the links to find out more (and buy a copy if you wish!!)

Kabul - New York - Sri Lanka - Western Australia

Set in war-torn Kabul, a harrowing yet tender novel - Bend it Like Beckham in a burqua - about one woman's courage and guile in the face of tyranny. Enter Rukhsana. A cricket tournament is announced, with the winning team to travel to Pakistan for training and then represent Afghanistan at an international level. In reality, the idea is surreal. The Taliban will never embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness and equality. And no one in Afghanistan even knows how to play cricket, except Rukhsana. The tournament offers hope - a means of escape for her brother and young cousins. 

"A soaring novel of resilience, strength, hope and tenderness, The Taliban Cricket Club reveals how love can overcome, and outwit, the power of tyrants"

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, and left alone after his English wife and son return to London, Hans van den Broek stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. As the two men share their vastly different experiences of contemporary immigrant life in America, an unforgettable portrait emerges of an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality.

Book details "Hats off to any author who can have me on the edge of my seat over a game of cricket!" Summer, 1965. In the fictional town of Corrigan, WA.
Late one night, thirteen-year-old Charlie Bucktin is startled by a knock on his window. His visitor is Jasper Jones. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is intriguing. And he needs Charlie's help. In the dead of night, the boys steal through town, and Charlie learns of Jasper's horrible discovery. Burdened by a terrible secret and the weight of a town's suspicion, Charlie feels his world closing in.
After this summer nothing will ever be the same again.


Ambitious, playful and strikingly original, Chinaman is a novel about cricket and Sri Lanka - and the story of modern day Sri Lanka through its most cherished sport. Hailed by the Gratiaen Prize judges as 'one of the most imaginative works of contemporary Sri Lankan fiction', it is an astounding book.

Can you help us build up a database of cricket themed fiction? 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chosen novels for China

Where to start to suggest novels set in and evocative of China? It's such a big country and there are so many books, set in so many different regions that will transport you this area of the world. We have, therefore, chosen three personal favourites to send our readers on their way. Click on the covers to find out more about each book and you have an option to purchase - any book bought through our site means we receive a small percentage of revenue, at no cost to the purchaser and this will help us build TripFiction into an even more valuable resource for travellers.

The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley has long been a favourite of ours. It is a very personal story, set in Beijing, as the author struggles with her own health issues and adjusts to a very different life in a foreign country.

“The Foremost Good Fortune is a beautiful story of womanhood, motherhood, travel and loss, written by an author of rare and radiant grace.” Elizabeth Gilbert

River Town by Peter Hessler, is a "way of seeing" a country, descriptions abound and insights are plentiful. Hessler, an American student, takes up an English teaching post in the remote town of Fuling where the River Wu meets the Yangtze. He starts by learning some of the characters on a sign and by the end he can read so much more - and in between he has taken the reader through his experiences of life in this little town, populated by fascinating characters.

Who could resist a book with such a delectable title? Home is a Roof over a Pig by Aminta Arrington - This is the story of one family's culture shock, as they settle to a new life in China. If you are relocating, or want greater understanding, or retrospectively want to capture time you have spent in China, then this is definitely a read for you.

Become part of the TripFiction community - come and suggest books that are evocative of places. Come and write reviews - nothing complex needed, just share your thoughts. And check our our Facebook page where we load books that have caught our eye
whilst researching new books. And, as ever, if you can suggest terrific titles that bring China to life, share your insight in the Comments Box below, we love to hear from you.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A celebration of magical train travel in books

Time to hop on board a train or two in our selected books, and experience the thrill of travel, and the pleasure of exploration through authors' eyes. Click on the links of each book to discover more.

EUROPE Inter Rail by Alessandro Gallenzi, Francesco leaves home (Rome) for the first time and embarks on a 2 1/2 week Inter Rail trip to Northern Europe. A chance encounter in Munich, he soon finds himself in the company of Pierre, con artist extraodinaire, and individually and jointly these two characters zip back and forth seeing where life takes them. A bit of Sliding Doors meets Walter Mitty, with a bit of Kafka thrown in. From Rome up to Munich and on to such places as Lund, Amsterdam and England.....and finally back to Rome/Genzano where the last third of the book settles. 

The Grandaddy of train travelogue writers is, of course, Paul Theroux. Our dilemma has been which book to choose. His most recent sees him revisiting Eastern Europe and Asia and charting the changes since he first wrote about this part of the world 30 years ago in "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star". 

"Riding the Iron Rooster" takes him to China and "The Old Patagonian Express" sees him travelling through the Americas North to South...

CUBA It is an island more than 1000 kilometres long and was the sixth in the world (before its colonial master Spain) to have a national rail network. Cuba today feels like a nation at the end of a long, hard war. Peter Millar jumps aboard a railway system that was once the pride of Latin America and is now a crippled casualty case to undertake a railway odyssey the length of Cuba in the dying days of the Castro regime. Starting in the ramshackle but romantic capital of Havana, he travels with ordinary Cubans, sharing anecdotes, life stories and political opinions, to the far end of the island where he meets a more modern blot of American history, the Guantanamo naval base and detention centre. Read more on our blogpost

SWITZERLAND One tour, two trips, 150 years and a world of change apart
In June 1863 an English lady set off by train on the trip of a lifetime: Thomas Cook s first Conducted Tour of Switzerland. A century and a half later, travel writer Diccon Bewes, author of the bestselling Swiss Watching, decided to go where she went and see what she saw. Guided by her diary, he followed the same route to discover how much had changed and how much hadn t. She went in search of adventure, he went in search of her, and found far more than he expected.Slow Train to Switzerland is the captivating account of two trips through the Alps: hers glimpsing the future of travel, his revisiting its past. Together they make a journey to remember.
This is a tale of trains and tourists, of the British and the Swiss, of a Victorian traveller and a modern-day Englishman abroad. It is the story of a tour that changed both Switzerland and the world of travel forever.

Come and share your favourite books in our Comments Box below, the ones you feel chronicle wonderful train journeys, there are so many out there... we love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Flirty fun in Paris

If you want a bit of Ooh La La in Paris, and some light reading with a bit of Gallic flair, then here are our recommendations for some riotous romanctic reads. Click on the covers to find out more. You can buy each book through our site, we receive a small percentage at no cost to the purchaser and this helps fund website development going forward! Come and help build this site into a valuable resources for travellers!

Evie Dexter is in pursuit of a career as a European tour guide. Heart set on success and buoyed on by booze, she begins 'enhancing' her CV and soon lands a job with Insignia Tours, guiding their Paris breaks.
Bursting with professionalism, Evie quickly checks her copy of Vogue Paris to remind herself where France actually is. Task accomplished, she's determined to become a cultured and respected chaperone. And she would be, if only the French wine wasn't so delicious and Rob, her sexy coach driver, so deliciously distracting . . . set also in Nice, Tooting and Scotland.

The author has a Paris set quiz at the end of the book. Go on, give it a go!

"What amazing gift did the French people give to America?"
1) The Statue of Liberty
2) The Empire State Building
3) The Golden Gate Bride

Or, enjoy her musings: No-one in Paris can park a car; this is fabulous if you can't park either. If you are a really bad driver, you might like to drive to Paris, just so you will look good in comparison.....

Sizzling escapist reading, the paths of several people cross, all looking for a bit of romance in this the capitol city of love.

"French Lessons is elegant and evocative, and took me straight to Paris... I wanted to savor every stroll, every scene. It's a lovely, delicious novel"

When Angela Clark’s boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance.
But even as she’s falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone’s conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tête-à-tête with his ex in a local bar, Angela’s dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her.
With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can’t decide if should stay and face the music or run away home…

Lots more Paris set fiction on our site - whatever your preferred genre - drop by and let our books transport you to Paris. Share the books that you feel are really evocative of the city in our Comments Box, we love to hear from you!

Answer to the quiz, by the way, is 1).

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Brazil comes alive in books

We have brought together a rich selection of novels, so that readers can get a real insider feel for different parts of Brazil - Rio, Manaus, and Sao Paulo . Click on the covers to discover more about each book and to buy, and available from your local bookstore.


A novel that is written in short bursts through the eyes of centenarian Eulálio D'Assumpção as he talks to his daughter, to the wall of his hospital/nursing home, and how he longs for Matilde, his belle. He reminisces about the history of Brazil, certain interludes of his life that remain with him and looks back on the relationship he had with his Mother.

 'To read Spilt Milk is to hold Brazil in your hands in the form of a novel'

Set against a city on the edge of reality, of high towers and seething favelas, of rich enclaves and social stratification. Ludo is a boy taken from the slum of Heliopolis and raised in the gated wealth of Angel Park. Highly credible characters locked in often extreme situations - By turns darkly humorous and poignant, Scudamore's Booker Prize-nominated novel is a highly original take on the rags-to-riches story.

Set in the Manaus area of Brazil, every descriptive page leads the reader through an intriguing plot: Dr Annick Swenson is working on a closely guarded project/ Amder Eckiman is sent to investigate, but he never returns. Marina Singh, Ander's colleague and former Swenson student arrives to track down her former tutor and establish the fate of her colleague.  What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and susurrating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.

Which book for you conjures up Brazil through its pages? Come and share your recommendations in the Comments Box. We love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Come to Cornwall via fiction

Cornwall is a fabulous destination, loads to do and see and beautiful scenery: from the 2* Michelin Restaurant Nathan Outlaw at Rock, the Eden Project to the Belly Boarding Championships, and so much more.... Whether you have been there as a visitor and want to rekindle memories, or whether you are an armchair reader who wants to take yourself off to this fabulous part of Britain. Just pick up one of our suggested novels and transport yourself to this dazzling part of the country.

Click on the cover of the book for more information. Available to purchase through TF or from your local bookshop.

Claire Marlowe owns 'The Townhouse by the Sea' with Luca, the hotel's charismatic chef. She ensures everything runs smoothly - until an unexpected arrival checks in and turns her whole world upside down.
And the rest of the guests arrive with their own baggage. There's a couple looking for distraction from a family tragedy; a man trying to make amends for an affair he bitterly regrets . . . and the young woman who thinks the Cornish village might hold the key to her past.
Here are affairs of the heart, secrets, lies and scandal - all wrapped up in one long, hot weekend.

Barnaby is visiting a parishioner, 20-year-old Lenny, who is confined to a wheelchair following a rugby injury. Lenny doesn't want him there for a chat; he wants him there while he kills himself, drinking a sedative bought on the internet. The "goodness" of Barnaby's behaviour, calmly administering extreme unction rather than scrambling for the telephone, is left deliberately ambiguous. It's a foolish reader of Gale's novels who rushes to judge one of his characters: the careful management of our sympathies is what he is all about.
"Patrick Gale has used the beautifully dramatic countryside of Cornwall as the backdrop for this tale of good and not so good"

When artist Maddie inherits a house in Cornwall shortly after the death of her husband, she hopes it will be the fresh start she and her step-daughter Hannah desperately need.
Trevenen is beautiful but neglected, a rambling house steeped in history. Maddie is enchanted by it and determined to learn as much as she can about its past. As she discovers the stories of generations of women who've lived there before, Maddie begins to feel her life is somehow intertwined within its walls.
"This is a wonderful picture of Cornwall - with romance thrown in"

Click on this link: and you can browse our full selection of novels set in Cornwall! Enjoy browsing by genre and author. And help us build up our collection, come and share in our Comments Box any top novels that you feel bring Cornwall to life! Dha weles (Cornish for "see you") for now from Tina and the TripFiction Team