69 largest fiction travel guides of all times
So what is a fictional travelog? Now, here's what we think: it's a work in which a place is as important as the main characters; it's a work so influenced by the author's own cultural background that it's not possible to interpret it without revealing the author's own lives behind it; it's a work that has influenced the way we see a particular place; it's a work whose happenings and personalities couldn't be placed anywhere else.
So, for those who, like Michael Ondaatje, took their first look at Japan through Yasunari Kawabata's Snowland; or, like Nathan Englander, found India in Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance; or explored the realm through Homer Mistry' s orgy - that's the shortlist. "It is probably the best travel novel of our time," says Darin Strauss.
" Oblomov's second novel The Debutant Manual, with a voracious personality in the slow traditions of Oblomov, who is flying (sometimes literally) across the Bronx and comes from an autonomic ex-Soviet country that could only have existed in Shteyngart's head, surpasses his first novel. They" act with age and perspective like a Charlie Kaufman script," says Darin Strauss, "but are not readable because of their gimmicksry - allegedly on the basis of theories of Einstein and Freud - but because of their lavish description of Egypt.
The Dicken' s struggle is almost pushed into the background in his own hearts, as he is influenced by London, the untitled town of the moral history of the novel about a homemade billionaire and his utopic fantasies. "A whole worid was evoked, road by road, an imaginary town with every cobbled pavement and every wish and every personality that has become reality" (out of print).
Just imagine John Cheever's floater travelling all his lifetime across a forest instead of a suburb basin - and you have Calvino's fairytale of an eighteenth-century ltalian kid who one of these days climbed a forest and never came down again. Ondaatje describes this realm as "an exciting, memorable cosmos, nicely evocative, totally realistic and credible - a scenery in which there are great adventure and romantic affaires and policy and wars" (Harvest, $14).
It was this caprice that re-defined the town that W. H. Auden described as "the great false place" and that Phillip Lopate calls "the town that did not want to be a town". "Lopate likes that Chandler's Los Angeles is depicted as "a very mysterious, arcane place" in contrast to its pale call. "The L.A. is a shadowy land of mist, darkness of darkness and populated by assassins and deceivers" (Vintage, $14).
It is Fernanda Eberstadt's "a clever, passionless 19th c. Corsica portrait" (Kessinger, $21). One of only three of Thomas' stories, who was killed in a crashed airplane on his way to an Egyptian camps in 1989. As Thomas wrote: "A speech you don't speak will remind you how fragile you are," and through her writings and our own travels, Julia Alvarez says, "let us find that it is exactly this fragility that binds us together - enough reasons to travel if nothing else" (Soho, $12).
Lopate says that his favourite novel Balzac, and what he has to say about the world, are summarised in a singular phrase from the book: "Situated in the centre of Paris, the capital city' s kingdom is characterised by the strong link between misery and splendour... the king of each city. "There is also Balzac's use of the Courtisan, "the character who meanders through Paris and combines riches and poorness through aesthetics.
" To this" urban and societal cartographer", as Lopate called him, geographical factors are as important as intrigues (Oxford, $12). Though not as much as you might think, it has inspired everyday trips around the town, which has undergone enormous changes since the collapse of the communist era. Crime and punishment can be felt everywhere" (Vintage, $16).
Much do I adore Thomas Mann, but it is the Venice of the Dead Lagoon that I go in my ltalian dreams" (Vintage, $14). This pederasty possession classics darkness, second in our top nominees lists, has a swing. "It is both a caution and a loving note to Venice and all who long to go there.
Française Prose, Jennifer Belle (HarperPerennial, $13). Allured by fictitious stories, how many travellers have gone to strange places just to see how strange it can be noticing how strange it is to live, no mater where they go? "Alvarez loves the tip of a bartender, "good advices for every traveler:'fill your stomach with good things; walk and dine and be happy, celebrate and joy.
Maybe better known as a phenomenon travel journalist, Matthiessen also created fictions as venturesome as his arduous personalities. Mikhail Ondaatje (born, $17). "It' s astonishing to have a rail trip with Mistry," Nathan Englander added. "It' the crowd that's wrapped up, the lunches and the rapturous town. This could be one of my five best titles of the last 25 years" (Vintage, $16).
A decade before the Caribbean-born English author was celebrated for World Sargasso Sea, she provoked Paris with a very dark glas in this first-person story about a woman's melancholic homecoming to the town. "Jennifer Belle says, "This is the most powerful way to transport me to Paris. "Actually, I actually felt more like in Paris when I read this volume than when I was actually in Paris" (Norton, $14).
The fictionalised report on the parade was "about a town at a time when it was full of promises," says Phillip Lopate, who written the inauguration. "With an infinite but gleaming sheen. As Horacio Castellanos Moya tells us, several generation of Latinos have gone to Paris to "repeat the charming voyage of Cortázar's fictitious people.
Naipaul's groundbreaking novel, and probably his best, is a great travel novel that traces an entire diasporic population. "Yet in many ways it was different - a tempting new cosmos awaiting exploration to see how India's civilization has developed on this distant shore" (Vintage, $16).
Desais, who won the Booker Prize for two-generation novels across the continent, met Phillip Lopate for his New York kitchens, the "new crucible " of the town, in which fighting migrants grind their knees. "It' s about two places," he says - New York town centre and an indian provincial town. "When someone asks me if I have ever been to Japan, I have to think for a moment," says Jennifer Belle.
It names the writer "the Van Gogh of travel authors, virulent ly moralist, every vein ends hallucinatingly susceptible to the effects of the sun, the countryside, vegetation and climatic conditions. Horacio Castellanos Moya says, "the view of the Russian dissident of the Battle of Stalingrad - a novel so perilous that the government agencies broke the typewriters together with the script - is "a very complicated and challenging novel," "but I think that the Volga area itself is the figure.
" It was this literacy that inspires him to find the Volga on Google Earth, "the first book I did this for a novel" (NYRB, $23). "It is such an elaborate and fun way of representing the elaborate and funny knitting of a small Grecian village," says Marisa Silver, "that it makes me find such a place and pass my free moments there to meet the clergyman and the physician, the city hooker and the barber" (Picador, $14).
For Chandler, California was an infinite source of "metaphors and parables," says Pico Iyer, but he enjoys this underestimated caprice, for here "his knightly impetus takes him to Hollywood and to the final place of illusion and parable, which for him was an emblem of a captivating and enticing new world" (Vintage, $13).
"The second half of this volume is often forgotten as a novel about roads," says Darin Strauss, "with the old pervert from abroad and the young nymph who discover America" (Vintage, $14). How about travelling and unreasonable relations? Duras' novel about the temptation of a gentlemen by a young woman in Saigon in the 1930s was Marisa Silver's ultimative travel fantasy: "The sensuous, perceptible weakness of a mysterious town makes me search for the concealed temptations of contemporary Vietnam" (Pantheon, $10).
Jennifer Belle's substitute novel about an au-pair in the Western Indies, in an undisclosed New York borough, made her see her home for the first theater. "Nathan Englander warned against Tanizaki's chronicles of a sinking Osaka aristocratic dynasty on the verge of a tragedy both personally and nationally.
It is a wonderful wood town, which you know will be bombarded in the Second War. It is this concept of "reading a volume just before the end of the world" (Vintage, $16). While some journeys are longer than others, Musil's never-before-completed masterpiece of over 1,700 pages is definitely a worthwhile journey into a flat globe.
"An insane trip through the bluesy outskirts of Vienna at the turn of the 20th c., its royal hunter's huts, its workers' pubs" (Vintage, Vol. 1: $22; Vol. 2: $26). "against Rushdie's fictitious incantation of Bombay?" he asks. "There are a few of the ledgers that orbit Paris, that defines it, that put it on a thin teaspoon next to a drama of poison," he says.
"Is it investing this volume with a great sense of living, of coincidence - the whisper of drapes, steps, candles on the streets, the shouting of votes in the dark - in response to what? It is called "a great and prophesy novel" by Geoff Dyer, but also "a fantastical travel composition, densely packed with the astonishing joy of the events and texture of this old and quickly modernising world" (Vintage, $15).
Hessler commends this work for its "remarkable feeling for the Sulaco landscape" - its rugged promontory and the quiet golf surrounded by a mountain. It is a completely fictitious place, in a fictitious Latin America on the brink of revolutions. Hessler thinks it is "probably the most popular example of how travel can be an inspiration to create a place that felt more genuine than anything we see as tourists" (Penguin, $14).
While the great Russian-Jewish author had written fantastical stories of wars before Stalin murdered him, these narratives of Jews in Babel House make Nathan Englander almost certain that he was there. Not surprisingly, the work that made travel a synonym for literary works, when both were in their pre-history, received the most nominees from our authors.
Ebershoff just called it " the greatest work of travel literature". Would we have one of the ledgers on this register without this one? Macondo, the fictitious site of García Márquez' magical-realistic Magno-Qus, which spans Columbian society, has become such a lively place in the heads of thousands of readers, as Francine Prose puts it, that two years ago García Márquez' home town actually tried to include Macondo in its name.
Alexandre McCall Smith refers to Kerouac's street novel "a reading novel when you're about eighteen", but here is a good excuse for another look: last year's publication of the even more untamed "scroll" copy, which comes from the 120-foot reel on which Kerouac initially had written it. An orangery of Camus' novel, whose residents are being subjected to the most severe tests by a cruel outbreak, is a real Algerian town, but it is so archetypical that Nathan Englander fictitious.
"It is a sacred place for me, it is in my Pantheon," says Englander, despite the terrors that Camus represents. "Closing the doors of the town, quite literally, that' s great for me as a readership and an outstanding literary education" (Vintage, $13). Cather is appreciated by Jane Hamilton because she "knows no other author who has the authority to bring us into nature", in this case America's great prairie.
"It reveals the mercy of loneliness in a place that is at once the most lonely place and yet so oddly populated" (Vintage, $13). "Pico Iyer thinks that the place has produced "the heartbreaking poet" in Greene, who "has captured much of the land that could move a traveller today". A way to comprehend India would be to look back as it was construed and reconstructed on the prelude to liberation, and Paul Scott's four eponymous fiction fixes and dramatizes the missing British Indian universe like no other.
Lopate finds amazing details in the opening of Moby-Dick in Manhattan and his lesser-known novel Redburn, which has the additional benefit of "great scenes in Liverpool" (Library of America, $40). However, his fictitious travels, which are just as crazy, are shaggy and gustier. Here a group of Mexican-city writers who call themselves Visceral Realists are threatening the order of society before they spread all over the globe - to Barcelona, Perpignan, Nicaragua - and later return to their homeland.
Française Prose says she can no longer go to Mexico City without seeing writers revolvers everywhere (Picador, $15). Bowles' novel, one of the three most frequently quoted by our writers, is "a trip into the prehistoric hearts of Morocco, but really into the remotest corners of the other, the unknown," says Manil Suri.
Although the volume is "not exactly a call to tourism", Suri was transferred there six month after he had read it. Antony Doerr thinks that "Bowles, perhaps like Conrad or Camus, is exploring what it means to be a stranger", while Pico Iyer refers to him as "the greatest writer of a traveler's dissolution" (HarperPerennial, $15).
Mikhail Ondaatje (born, $13). It is Anthony Doerr's "a fun, dramatic, shocking, pretty and filthy portrait", "the clashes of industrial and rural areas, privileges and livelihoods, goats and police, damp and snows, drink and sorcery - and the Tennessee River revolves around everything" (Vintage, $15). This and the best memory of Carribean shaantytown living ever put on paper" (Vintage, $16).
Well-known for his bestseller The Man Who Plant Trees, the famous author from France produced some of the most horrible World War I ever seen in the press, contrasting it with proofs of more subtle decay in dry Haute Provence. Colin Thubron's tale of a try by a nearby hostess to domesticize the shrub (just to make it a suburb later) is "certainly Australia's book of Genesis," and "has out of circulation the wealth of a 19th cent. narrative from Russia" (out of print).
What turned a chaotic, almost impermeable work of modernism into the kind of books that triggered a thousand bar tours? They' re harder but'better than the option of silence' (Vintage, $17). D'Souza is praised by Peter Hessler for "the well-known relations that characterize a town, how an outside person perceives himself when he tries to enter this part of the globe, and the interaction between folklore traditions and aspects of urban living" (Harcourt, $13).
They' really are the most poignant chapter of the book' (Vintage, $16). "Nathan Englander, who was living in the same district of Jerusalem at that restless age, says, "I adore those who can paint Israel for me. "Very well caught a very tough timeframe" (Harvest, $14). "and disturbed - a reflection of Zeno himself" (Vintage, $15).