The Booktrekker: Ethiopia

READ One of my goals when I started this project was to learn something about different countries through their literature. In some cases, this hasn’t been possible, as the only books translated into English by authors in certain countries aren’t necessarily about those countries. For example, the only English translation of a novel by an Andorran … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Ethiopia

The Booktrekker: Eswatini

Eswatini? Where on earth is that? Well, I’m so glad you asked! Eswatini is a country in the southern part of Africa, and until last year, it was called Swaziland. However, on April 19, 2018, in honor of the country’s fiftieth anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom, King Mswati III changed its name … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Eswatini

The Booktrekker: Eritrea

READ Eritrea is an East African country situated just above Ethiopia. At one point in the country’s history, it was annexed by Ethiopia, which led to numerous armed conflicts between the Ethiopian army and Eritreans fighting for their country’s independence. Many civilians were forced to flee Eritrea, and they ended up living in refugee camps. … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Eritrea

The Booktrekker: Ecuador

READ Magical realism seems to be a staple of Latin American literature, so I was not surprised to find it in the book I read for Ecuador, Bruna and Her Sisters in the Sleeping City, by Alicia Yánez Cossío and translated by Kenneth J. A. Wishnia. The title character, Bruna, comes from an eccentric family that was … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Ecuador

The Booktrekker: Denmark

READ I love thrillers and suspense novels, but somehow, I managed to miss Peter Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow, translated by Tiina Nunnally, when it was an international bestseller back in the 1990s. When I was looking for a book to read from Denmark for this project, it seemed like the perfect choice. Smilla Jasperson is … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Denmark

The Booktrekker: Colombia

READ The obvious choice when looking for a Colombian author is Gabriel Garcia Márquez, whose brilliant work I’ve read before. But I wanted something different, and I was particularly interested in finding a woman author. A little Internet searching turned up Laura Restrepo, who began her writing career as a political columnist. She has written … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Colombia

The Booktrekker: Chile

READ I got about four-fifths of the way through the book I’d decided to read for Chile, Isabel Allende’s epic The House of the Spirits, before it occurred to me to take a look at Allende’s biography. Alas, Allende wasn’t born in Chile, but in Peru. Since my self-imposed rules for this project require that the author … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Chile

The Booktrekker: Bulgaria

READ A rebellious teenaged prodigy studying piano at an authoritarian school for the musically-gifted in communist Bulgaria – what could possibly go wrong? Plenty, as it turns out, and fifteen-year-old Konstantin learns some hard life lessons in Nikolai Grozni’s semiautobiographical novel Wunderkind. Konstantin’s passion for playing the works of Frédéric Chopin is matched only by his … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Bulgaria

The Booktrekker: Brazil

READ I really didn’t like the book I had chosen for Brazil, and it didn’t help that it was 521 pages long. I tried to keep plugging away, but when I was about halfway through, I finally threw in the towel and decided to choose another book. I’m so glad I did! Otherwise, I would … Continue reading The Booktrekker: Brazil