Ten Novels Set in Europe Recommended by Chris Pavone, Author of The Expats
When I moved to Luxembourg, I adopted a relentless diet of fiction set in Europe as a way of acclimating to my new home while also continuing to read stories. Here are some relatively contemporary favorites plus a few older essentials in which the geographical setting itself plays a crucial, defining, and enjoyable role.
1. The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher: a family moves to the north of England.
2. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman: life at an English-language newspaper in Rome.
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3. Capital by John Lanchester: immigrants to London mix with natives.
4. The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht: war and dying and surviving in Southern Europe.
5. Prague by Arthur Phillips: young expats in Eastern Europe, after the Wall.
6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming: James Bond in France and in Switzerland and in love.
7. Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg: the precursor to the current Scandinavian-thriller craze, published back in ’92, set in Denmark.
8. Restless by William Boyd: World War II spying.
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: World War II fighting.
10. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: the ultimate expat novel, of Americans in Paris in the twenties.