Literary Blog Hop: Around the World in Three Books

Literary Blog Hop

The literary blog hop is hosted bi-weekly by the crew at The Blue Bookcase. This week's topic for discussion 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?

I had a hard time thinking up an answer to this one, but I ended up with three.  At first I was thinking that I only read depressing books in which setting often was an evil presence or antagonist.  Then I thought harder and came up with these.

#1 The Secret Garden from F. Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Image by Russell Barnett, found here

"It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place anyone could imagine.  The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of climbing roses, which were so thick that they were matted together [...] All the ground was covered with grass of a wintry brown, and out of it grew clumps of bushes which were surely rose-bushes if they were alive. There were numbers of standard roses which had so spread their branches that they were like little trees. There were other trees in the garden, and one of the things which made the place look strangest and loveliest was that climbing roses  had run all over them and swung down long tendrils which made light swaying curtains, and here and there they had caught at each other or at a far-reaching branch and had crept from one tree to another and made lovely bridges of themselves."

Growing up I had a friend that had an enclosed backyard garden that I thought must be The Secret Garden.  It was so appealing to me because it was a little creepy, but also magical.  As a kid I always liked the idea of having a space that was hidden and all my own.

#2 Pamplona (or Paris) from Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
The film version found here

"At noon of Sunday, the 6th of July, the fiesta exploded.  There is no other way to describe it [...] People were coming into the square from all sides, and down the street, and we heard the pipes and the fifes and the drums coming.  They were playing the riau-riau music, the pipes shrill and the drums pounding, and behind them came the men and boys dancing. "

Hanging around with a bunch of ex-pats on vacation from Paris, drinking wine from skin sacks and watching bull fights? Okay.

#3 Alexandria from Lawrence Durrell, Justine
Alexandria, Egypt found here
"The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind.  In the midst of winter you can fell the inventions of Spring.  A sky of hot nude pearl until midday, crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes. . . "

Lawrence Durrell was an expat himself, who lived in Alexandria, and wrote about the place as carefully and lovingly as about any character in his Alexandria Quartet.  Although I wouldn't want to visit at this historical moment, I would love to see Alexandria ("the pearl of the Mediterranean)  through the eyes of Durrell's narrator.


    Sometime we shall all come together
    And it will be a time to put a stop
    To this little rubbing together of minimal words,
    To let the Word Prime repose in its node
    As yolk in its fort of albumen reposes,
    Contented by the circular propriety
    Of its hammock in the formal breathing egg.

    Much as in sculpture the idea
    Must not of its own anecdotal grossness
    Sink through the armature of the material,
    The modal of its earthly clothing:
    But be a plumbline to its weight in space...

    The whole resting upon the ideogram
    As on a knifeblade, never really cutting,
    Yet always Sharp, like this very metaphor
    For perpetual and useless suffering exposed
    By conscience in the very act of writing.
    L. Durrell.
    One of the most under rated writers, he wrote some fantastic novels & his poetry is just wonderful, and yet his, is a name confined to shadows, whilst lesser writers(?) Bask in the full light of day. Loved that you shone a light on this book.

  2. Yes, these look lovely. Not sure it would be that much fun in real life to live as a woman in Hemingway's world.

    Here's my post:

  3. @ Parrish Lantern - Absolutely. I think Durrell is a beautiful writer and I think sometimes may be considered a "lesser" writer.

    @ Readerbuzz - Definitely not with Hemingway...However, I do think it would be quite fun to be an ex-pat writer a la Gertrude Stein in Paris in the early 20th century.

  4. Wonderful response. The Secret Garden is a magical book. My daughters loved The Little Princess, too. Haven't read Durrell yet, but think I need to soon.

  5. The Secret Garden was one of my picks too! I just love the idea that nature can bring people together, and I love the way the moors and the gardens are described. Always fantasized about living in a cottage somewhere on the moors. Enjoyed reading your post.

  6. All good this question.

    Check out my answer at:


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