When I come to the end of a book, I realise that leaving the world that I’ve concerned myself with during train rides and Sunday mornings can be just as saddening as knowing you have come to the end of a great story. Some of my favourite settings remain in my imagination long after the book is back on a shelf and instilled a sense of adventure that prompted much creeping into cupboards, whispering “Aslan?!” (although not so frequently nowadays) and motivated me to find the time and money to travel through other continents. One of A&B’s own authors, Fiona McIntosh, will in fact be providing a small group of fans with a chance to explore the setting The Lavender Keeper for real, accompanying them on a tour of Paris and Provence as seen through the eyes of the characters in her novel.
Settings are a large part of the kind of multi-media, experiential ‘event’ that contemporary book-reading is becoming, especially for young readers who will search for an app and game to accompany their book, enabling them to participate in stories, alongside characters.
This is why Umberto Eco’s The Book of Legendary Lands has recently caught my eye. In the very beautiful book, with more than 300 colour images, Eco ‘explores this human urge to create such places, the utopias and dystopias where our imagination can confront things that are too incredible or challenging for our limited real world’. It seems like Eco is drawing together or mapping out literature that spans time and continents, from Atlantis to Mordor. An excuse to muse over and delve back into some of the greatest places in book-land, and the stunning depictions of these worlds, has The Book of Legendary Lands edging its way onto my Christmas list!
Which book settings are most memorable to you?
Kathryn Colwell, Publishing Assistant