TAG | Around the World in YA

around the world

This tag was created by Becca @ Becca and Books, and I was tagged by the lovely Izzi @ Ravenclaw Book Club.

In this tag, I’ll be naming a few countries, and telling you about a book that takes place in that country (I did end up completely ignoring the YA part!). I decided to choose five countries.

ZIMBABWE

1035029 The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing.

I read this for my Doris Lessing module last year. The Grass is Singing is Lessing’s first novel, and takes place in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1940s. The novel deals with Rhodesian white culture—primarily its racism, exploring and critiquing it through the relationship between Mary and her servant Moses.

 

 

IRELAND

25594874Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. 

This book takes place in the fictional town of Ballinatoom, Ireland, which I believe is supposed to be situated near Cork. The novel deals with rape culture, so it is, unfortunately, applicable to any culture, but there are mentions of things specific to Ireland. For instance, there’s a brief mention of how abortion is illegal in Ireland, and ultimately I think the setting is important to the story, though I haven’t seen it talked about too much.

I did a full review of this novel, and you can read it here.

 

JAPAN

863846 Out by Natsuo Kirino

Out takes place in Tokyo, and is a gritty horror/thriller, that follows a group of women who work in a bento box factory as one of them murders her husband and enlists the help of her co-workers in covering up the crime. Some of the book deals with Japan’s yakuza, but the best part about the book is how it details women’s position in Japanese society (something I knew very little about), and more generally, how women are driven to violent crime.

 

ENGLAND

793216

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

Initially I wanted to avoid putting England on here, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a more evocative setting than Mrs Dalloway. The book takes place over the course of one day in London, starting with Mrs Dalloway as she is sorting out the last details of her party. There’s a sense of drifting through London, moving from character to character as you go. While Woolf’s writing can be challenging, it’s beautiful, and London is wonderfully captured in the text.

MOROCCO

13600168 Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. 

This book primarily takes place in two places, Prague and Marrakesh. I chose Morroco for this because this was by far my favourite part of the book, and because much of the second book, Days of Blood and Starlight, also takes place in Morroco. This was another book where the setting was very evocative, and I actually ended up reading it not long after I visited Marrakesh myself, so there was a feeling of revisiting the city while I was reading.

 

And there you have it! I feel like I should have put way more countries on this list, but I wanted to choose books that I’d actually read. Also, even if I included some of the books I had read, it’d end up being very Eurocentric, which is bad. So if you do have any recommendations for books with a non-Western setting, I’d love to hear them! I’m very keen to diversify my reading.

I tag:

As always, if you don’t want to do the tag, or you’ve done it before, that’s totally fine! 🙂

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21 thoughts on “TAG | Around the World in YA

  1. Mrs Dalloway is one of my favourites 😀 At first I was quite wary of Woolf. I thought she’d be a bit like Joyce, and I’ve been warned about Joyce a lot. But it’s beautifully written. Out by Natsuo Kirino looks incredible! You said it talks about the position of women in Japanese society, which is so interesting. A friend of mine from Japan (who lives in the London) has talked to me about all these cultural differences. I love learning about different cultures, so I found it fascinating!

    You’ve been to Marrakesh? Wow! Did you take pictures? I’d love to hear about your time there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was surprised by how much I liked it too! I’d read some of Dubliners by Joyce and didn’t get on with it, so I was really hesitant going into Woolf, but I was totally swept away by the writing.

      Out is so good. I love reading about different places and feeling like you’ve actually learned something about the culture there.

      Marrakesh is amazing! I went a couple of years ago—there’s probably pictures fairly far back on my Instagram haha! I absolutely loved it there; I went with my family, and my mum and I went on a guided tours around the city, and on another one into the Atlas mountains. I learned so much, I’d love to go back and explore it more. Everything was so beautiful—and I honestly couldn’t get enough of the food haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think anyone gets on with Joyce seeing as he makes up words and all. How are we meant to understand? 🙂 That’s just daft.

        Yeah, I try my best to read about as many cultures as I can. It’s so fun!
        I’ll take that as permission to stalk your Instagram 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely adding pretty much every one of these to my wish list! I’m trying to read more books that are set somewhere different and new to me. I think the lack of books (especially YA) that take place somewhere other than America/Europe is so sad and I really hope that changes in the next couple of years.

    Liked by 1 person

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