Top Ten Books Set Outside the U.S.

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is about books that are set outside the U.S.  I try to read a lot of books that are set in other countries, although I don’t always succeed.  For purposes of this list, I’m not including anything in the UK either, since a lot of the books I like are set there, and the U.K doesn’t feel so much like a foreign country to me.  I also tried to include books that are really about the country, not just set there. So, for those who want to visit foreign countries, on the page at least, here are some suggestions.

  1. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (Chile)
  2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Iceland)
  3. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  4. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (Mexico, Panama)
  5. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (India)
  6. Redeployment by Phil Klay (Iraq and Afghanistan) (see also: The Things They Carried)
  7. Us by David Nicholls (across Europe)
  8. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Japan)
  9. Girl at War by Sara Novic (Croatia) (see also: The Unquiet Dead)
  10. The Secret River by Kate Grenville (Australia) (see also: Rush Oh!)
  11. The Dovekeepers (Israel) (see also: The People of Forever Are Not Afraid)
  12. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (China)
  13. The Settling Earth by Rebecca Burns (New Zealand)
  14. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Hungary)
  15. What is the What by Dave Eggers (Sudan)

I noticed that a lot of these are war-related, which makes sense.  I could have listed many other books related to World War II (such as the books of Elizabeth Wein).  I also thought about fantasy, like the Temeraire series, which is set all over the world, but decided to stick mainly to modern or historical fiction.

Your turn: what are some of your favorite books written about other countries?

8 Responses to “Top Ten Books Set Outside the U.S.”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I just read four books set in France, so those are at the top of my mind. Of those I think Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick was my favorite. The Summer Guest was another recent read I really enjoyed, with a three-part story set in the UK, Switzerland, and Ukraine. I also love the Scandinavians Tove Jansson (The True Deceiver) and Astrid Lindgren (Seacrow Island). I’ve been wanting to read more beyond Europe but haven’t gotten very far yet.

  2. Lilyn G. (Sci-Fi & Scary)

    Interesting list. Most of the books I read are set in spaceships, england, or haunted houses where the country doesn’t matter nearly as much as the murderous ghost does. haha. It was a difficult one for me. My TTT.

  3. BookerTalk

    Good choice of Americanah. I tried Girl at War but didn’t engage with it so abandoned fairly early on. Many of the books I enjoy are set in Africa (Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton or Disgrace by J M Coetzee) or India (Paul Scott’s the Raj Quartet, Rohinton Mistry for example)


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