There's been a few discussions here recently about favourite books, most memorable books and so on, but I'm reading City of Spies by Simon Levack at the moment and I was struck last night by the sense of being in the Aztec's world.

Peter Temple's The Broken Shore is the quintessential Australian sense of place and people book, but, again Adrian Hyland's Diamond Dove has such a strong sense of a realistic Australian outback about it. Peter Corris writes a fabulous very Sydney-feeling series as does Shane Maloney about Melbourne.

So my question is, what books have you read recently that have a really strong sense of the place that they are from?

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Anything by James Lee Burke.

I also thought Lehane did a marvelous job of making Boston come alive in the pages of the Kenzie-Gennaro books.
Ha. Before I saw this I suggested to Regina Harvey that she add her most recent post about place, in her case Baltimore, over at the Good Girls Kill for Money blog.

Place. I could discuss this all day.

Unfortunately, my employer would rather I write about hypertension.
John H Mcdonald, the Deep Blue Goodbye about life in Florida

Jean Claude Izzo about life in Marseille, the racial tensions and the corruption.
I'm suddenly reading a lot of Scandinavian fiction, and Helene Tursten's The Torso is interesting because of its setting - Goteborg and Copenhagen. What's most intriguing to me is the perspective of a Swede on Danes and Denmark - I've made that ferry crossing and honestly didn't see much of a difference, but apparently if you're Danish (or Swedish) the differences are huge.

Often sense of place is due to description of physical and cultural geography, but it also is a perspective on the world. I love seeing a place I don't know through the eyes of someone to whom it is the center of the world and I'm at the periphery. Especially interesting are the things that aren't explained because they're obvious. Except to someone who doesn't live there.

Arnaldur Indridason is another Scandinavian who does that very well. You don't feel like a tourist in Iceland, but like an Icelander. And suddenly you have an appetite for some of the most peculiar food in the world.
Joe R. Lansdale's books make you feel as if you really know East Texas. However, when you dig deep into how he develops the great sense of place, it turns out that it's not the location so much as his portrayal of the people who live there.


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