7 iconic novels set in must-visit destinations around the world

By Tempus | 04 Jan 2021 | Travel, Brits

Readers seeking to escape the monotony can be transported to destinations around the world with these seven iconic novels

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If not one, but two lockdowns have had a silver lining, it’s that people across the UK are rediscovering the pleasure of reading. According to publishing house Bloomsbury, both print book and consumer ebook sales in the UK have jumped since the beginning of the first lockdown. Bloomsbury reported that its profits were up 60% in the six months to the end of August, leading to its highest first-half earnings since 2008. Britons have rediscovered the benefits of getting stuck into a good book – an escapist pleasure that has provided the perfect distraction throughout 2020. Here, we discover the locations that have inspired some of our favourite page-turners...

Hitchhike across the United States with Jack Kerouac's defining novel, On The Road 
Published in 1957, Jack Kerouac's roman à clef propels readers deep into 1940s American counterculture, marking a specific era of jazz history and providing an insight into the "beat generation." Based on Kerouac's life experiences, yet masked by the facade of fiction, the novel is divided into five-parts with the fleeting structure mirroring that of life on the road. With the help of two care-free protagonists, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, readers are taken on an adventure from city to city. From seeking out the vibrancy of New York City to parties in Denver, exploring Los Angeles to falling in love in San Francisco, the pair travel far and wide. Virginia, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Chicago, Texas, Detroit and Sacramento are also traversed in this iconic novel, inviting readers to imagine where their next U.S. road trip could take them. visittheusa.co.uk 

Tour along the River Nile with Agatha Christie’s classic, Death on the Nile
Death on the Nile is a classic Agatha Christie novel set on the River Nile, a backdrop so majestic that it made the book a worldwide success and inspired a number of film adaptations. A serene river cruise is disrupted by the death of a stylish young passenger on her honeymoon, with legendary detective Hercule Poirot being called in to investigate. In true Christie style, the ensuing plot is full of twists, cover-ups and a dramatic finale that readers will not see coming. OneTraveller, the expert in mature solo travel, offers a 12-night Cairo and Nile Cruise trip exploring the tombs, pyramids and Pharaonic temples of Egypt, before giving passengers the chance to cruise along the River Nile on a five-star ship. Two days of the trip are spent in Aswan, the city where Christie stayed during her travels in Egypt, and where she began writing the best-seller. One Traveller’s 12-night Cairo and Nile Cruise trip departs on 17 November 2021, starting from £3,490 per person. onetraveller.co.uk

Explore the streets of Vienna in spy thriller classic, The Third Man by Graham Greene 
Commissioned to write a screenplay, Graham Greene first penned The Third Man as a novella which was published in 1950. Set in post-war Vienna, the atmospheric tale follows lead character Rollo Martins who arrives in the city to discover his childhood friend Harry Lime dead. The story develops as Martins hunts down a 'third man' who was present at the scene, with suspicion laced thick at every encounter. A true crime classic, the 1949 screen adaptation of The Third Man was considered one of the greatest films of all time, celebrated for its acting, musical score and atmospheric cinematography. While the streets of Vienna were heavily stylised for the iconic novel and silver screen, today the city's boulevards, grand architecture and imperial palaces still inspire locals and travellers alike. wien.info/en

Take a tour of Isabel Ashdown's Isle of Wight with the psychological thriller, Little Sister
“Some locations possess a special quality, a gentle energy in the air that makes me want to write; the Isle of Wight is one of those places,” author Isabel Ashdown has said. Ashdown has written several novels based on the Isle of Wight, including bestselling psychological thriller, Little Sister, praised for being a gripping read, full of twists and dark surprises. While the book promises an intense pace from start to finish, it will leave readers longing for a retreat to the Isle of Wight to experience the dramatic landscapes. From the Island’s iconic attraction, The Needles, which Ashdown reportedly stays close to when working on her novels, to Sandown, situated on the Southern coast and sheltered in a bay famed for its stretches of golden sandy beach, it's clear why Ashdown is drawn back to the Isle. Having spoken about her strong connection with the coast and an urge to seek out sea air to stir her creativity, crossing the Solent with Wightlink allows travellers to channel their own creative mind against the backdrop of the water and vistas much-loved by Ashdown. wightlink.co.uk

Marvel at Colombia’s Caribbean coast in Gabriel García Márquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude
First published in 1967, García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold 50 million copies worldwide, in a staggering 46 languages. In recognition of the book, often hailed as a seminal work of magical realism, and the subsequent boom of the Spanish language, García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. The influential One Hundred Years of Solitude introduces the reader to the Buendía family who are condemned to repeat their mistakes with every new generation. Whilst it is a work of fiction, the plot blends fantastical elements with real-life events and draws inspiration from Márquez's beloved Colombia. Márquez's hometown of Aracataca lies on Colombia's Caribbean coast and is considered to be the inspiration behind the fictional Macondo village. His experiences in Barranquilla, now best known for its carnival, and the town of Mompox on the Magdalena River also appear in varied forms in the book. One of the most important literary works of the 20th century, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a page-turner which brings Colombia’s Caribbean coast to life for its readers. procolombia.co/en

Puerto Rico’s San Juan comes alive in Eduardo Lalo’s novel, Simone
Eduardo Lalo is one of the most important and award-winning voices of Latin American literature, and his novel Simone is his first work to be translated into English. Puerto Rico's capital San Juan comes alive throughout the pages when a middle-aged writer-turned-professor begins receiving notes from an unknown source left in spots throughout the city. This sparks a game of cat-and-mouse through the capital until he meets the mysterious note writer, discovering that they have some deep-rooted similarities. Simone explores themes of loneliness, love and the Puerto Rican identity, with the narrator arguing that important Puerto Rican literature is unfairly overlooked in favour of other Latin American writing. Whilst Simone serves as an ode to the boroughs of San Juan, including Piedras, Santurce and Old San Juan, it also proves to be a vital in understanding the modern identity of Puerto Ricans. discoverpuertorico.com

Discover Nashville’s musical past in A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander follows the story of master violinist Rebekah Carrington who, in 1871, is determined to be accepted into the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. However, female musicians are frowned upon because of their so-called ‘inability’ to handle the rigorous work required for the orchestra, despite Carrington’s undeniable talent. When the orchestra’s conductor falls ill, he reluctantly hires Carrington as his assistant, bringing together two complex characters who challenge one another’s perceptions of music and gender. Inspired by Nashville’s musical past, A Note Yet Unsung is the third book in Alexander’s Belmont Mansion series, a set of three standalone novels set against the real history of Nashville’s historic Belmont Mansion in the 1870s. Belmont Mansion is one of the last remaining 1850s houses in Nashville and was the largest house built in Tennessee prior to the Civil War. Today, it serves as a museum and visitor centre telling the story of those who built, lived and worked in the mansion. visitmusiccity.com