Foreign Worlds

Readers who like their books steeped in other cultures.

  • The Septembers of Shiraz

    In post-revolution Iran, Isaac Amin is arrested for being a spy. A former rare-gem dealer, Amin must face the consequences of false accusations and betrayal, while his wife and family negotiate being torn apart. Great for: • A fast-paced, well-written book. • Lovers of Middle Eastern fiction. • Those interested...


  • The Yacoubian Building

    Set in a former prestigious building in downtown Cairo, the novel uses a colorful cast of characters to explore the repercussions of the Gulf War and the slow erosion of modern Egyptian life. Great for: • Lovers of Middle Easter fiction. • Those interested in learning about the impact of...


  • The Reader

    When 15-year-old Michael Berg meets Hannah Schmitz – a much older woman – in 1958 West Germany, they begin a love affair that will mark him for life. Told in three distinct parts, Schlink weaves a complex story of one country’s collective guilt – and the shaded zones existing between...


  • The Imperfectionists

    Offering nuggets of outstanding character studies – Rachman sets his debut novel-in-stories at an international newspaper in Rome. With adults behaving like adolescents, parents enduring unimaginable loss, reporters trying to catch a break and revenge of the most humiliating kind – Imperfectionists offers a story for any reader interested in...


  • The God of Small Things

    Winner of the 1997 Man Booker Prize – Roy’s impressive debut novel follows the story of Rahel and Estha – fraternal twins from Kerala, India. This delicate study of the repercussions that come from loving the ‘wrong’ person – results in a novel replete colorful characters bathed in poetic prose....


  • Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

    When one of the neighbors is murdered in a culturally diverse apartment building in Rome, the readers gain access to the key players’ versions of events. Lakhous writes a fabulous study on immigrant life in Italy – one that investigates darkly comic misconceptions and their power to destroy relationships.Perfect for:• Readers...


  • Beaufort

    FULL DISCLOSURE: Ron is my cousin! Having said that, this brilliant debut novel takes a look into the absurdist, terrifying, elusive and sometimes-comic reasons behind centuries-old conflict. The novel follows a group of Israeli soldiers as they stand guard over a mound of land in Southern Lebanon, surrounded by an...


  • Beautiful Ruins

    Critics went nuts for this sun-soaked story following interweaving lives set against the backdrop of – among many things – the fictitious town of Porto Vorgogna, Italy; the filming of the now-legendary disaster that became Cleopatra, and modern-day Hollywood. Jumping between present-day America and 1960s coastal Italy, the novel explores...


  • American Dervish

    Hayat Shah grows up in a Pakistani household in the Midwest. His parents don’t get along so well and he’s a little confused about his religion: when his mother’s oldest friend – the enigmatic Mina – comes to stay with them as a refuge from an abusive marriage back home,...


  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

    This gorgeous narrative tells the story of Italian captain Antonio Corelli and his love for Pelagia. Set alongside the horrors committed against the Italians during 1943, Mandolin uses alternate perspectives to convey the horror of war and the hope provided by enduring love. Great for: • Readers looking for brilliant...


  • The White Tiger

    Balram Halwai narrates this darkly comic story of his transformation from a rural boy in ‘The Darkness’ into a wily businessman in Bangalore. With this exploration of India’s caste system, poverty and changing landscape, Adiga provides both a thoughtful narrative and memorable characters. Great for: Readers who appreciate a cynical...


  • The Interpreter of Maladies

    A riveting cast of characters (all newly or formerly emigrated from India), navigate the terrain of adapting to a new culture in America, while maintaining a sense of where they come from.Great for:Readers of Indian fictionThose interested in the immigrant’s narrativeAnyone looking for spectacular writing 


  • Homesick

    Noa and Amir, a young couple in love, move into a small apartment in a tiny village in Israel. Near them live a grieving family who has lost a son in the Lebanon war, and watching them is Sadiq, whose family was driven from that very apartment when the State...


  • The Conformist

    If you enjoyed Bertolluci’s searing film following Marcello Clerici (and the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy), check out the original literary source: Moravia constructs a world rife with musings, intriguing characters and an authentic plot depicting a deeper philosophy on our need for conformity (and, to some extent, our...


  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being

    Both an examination of the Prague Spring in 1968 and a close study of marriage and infidelity, Being brings Kundera’s showcases existentialist with his lyrical prose and intellectual characters.Great for:Readers interested in existential philosophyThose interested in a deep read that is fairly accessible through gorgeous proseMaybe one of the best...


  • Q & A

    If you enjoyed Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, you will most definitely appreciate the book on which its based: Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held in a Mumbai prison due to his inexplicable success on India’s biggest game show. The book’s richer plot offers up different adventures.Great for:Readers of...


  • Funny Boy

    Set against the violent tension between with Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka, Funny Boy follows one boy’s struggles to come to terms with his sexuality to the dismay of his family, and in the danger of his intolerant world.Great for:• A beautiful novel about the difficulties of growing up...


  • Sweet Diamond Dust

    This saga of the De La Valle family’s sugar empire exposes the troubled history of Puerto Rico while introducing readers – in gorgeous, poetic prose – to an unforgettable family and its struggles with class, love, sex and identity.Great for:Readers of Latin-American fictionAnyone looking to familiarize themselves with Puerto Rico’s...


  • Sightseeing

    A gorgeous, debut collection of short stories that introduce readers to a handful of struggling, modern-day Thai characters whose difficult realities clash with the glamorous existences imagined for them by foreigners.Great for:Travellers to ThailandReaders of short storiesThose looking for an armchair travel to a grittier place


  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist

    In this compelling narrative, Changez talks to an unidentified American stranger about his life before he returned to his present state in his native Pakistan: he was on the high track after graduating from Princeton, after which he moved to New York City where he was hired up by a...


  • Cracking India

    Set against the partitioning of India into Pakistan into 1947, Sidwha weaves the compelling narrative of Lenny Sethi as she grows up among increasing religious and cultural tensions. A phenomenal read for just about anyone.Great for:Readers of Southeast Asian literatureThose unfamiliar with Indian-Pakistani relationsReaders who enjoy a witty narrator


  • All Over the Map

    Seasoned travel writer, Laura Fraser, visits exotic locales all over the world only to find out that her personal struggles are here to stay – until she finds an authentic way of approaching her own life. A delightfully honest look at one author’s love of travel, and the bumpy road...


  • City of Thieves

    David Benioff knows how to tell a good story, whether it’s through film (25th Hour) television, (adaptation of Games of Thrones) or literature. City of Thieves, set during the Siege of Leningrad in WWII, manages to make us laugh while radiating a profound empathy towards one of history’s less-remembered tragedies. We meet Lev, a...


  • Cutting for Stone

    Through the lives of Shiva and Marion Stone, twins born in Adis Ababa from a clandestine affair between a heavenly mother and a passionate, yet psychologically removed surgeon, we see the cycle of life and all its absurdities, beauties, cruelties, inevitabilities, hilarities and loves. Cutting for Stone, follows the twins...