Wow! So excited that this week’s blog hop from The Blue Bookcase is my question! Which kind of makes me think I should have had an answer prepared, but, alas, no. And truthfully, as soon as I thought of this question and sent if off, I thought to myself, you know, I don’t know how to answer that.
So the question is: “What setting (time or place) from a book or story would you most like to visit? Eudora Welty said that, “Being shown how to locate, to place, any account is what does most toward making us believe it…,” so in what location would you most like to hang out?” Really, I just love that quote from Eudora Welty.
I often read historical novels and think to myself, especially as a woman, thank god I wasn’t alive then. And then a lot of science fiction novels are dystopian, not utopian, so you don’t want to go there (and even the utopias are often really dystopias disguised as utopias). I was into a lot of post-apocalpytic novels for a while, their own brand of dystopia, but no one wants to be in The Road or Far North.
|Me in India, at Mahabalipuram|
But there are a few places that when I read about them in novels I think, I want to be there. The first is India, even when it’s not so good. A Fine Balance is the book that made me want to go to India, and a whole lot of not good things happen there. I think reading that book just opened my eyes to a whole new world and a history of which I knew nothing. And then I did go to India, and now when I read novels set in India, I just want to go back. When I read books like A Suitable Boy and Sacred Games, I still want to be there. It seems the thing about reading about a place and then going there is that the reading shapes your experience of that place. In fact, when I travel one of my favorite things to do is to go to places that have been the setting for novels that I’ve read.
I think the other place I read about and long to be is Italy (there’s something about places that start with ‘I’). I like the Italy in Patricia Highsmith’s Mr. Ripley books (yes, the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on a series of novels, and they’re even creepier than the movie) or in A Room with a View. It seems in novels like these that Italy represents something, a kind of sensuality and escape. That may be what the two places I would like to inhabit have in common besides beginning with the letter ‘I.’ They often seem to represent the warm, exotic escape from normal life in the literary imagination.
What story would youl like to jump into?