Saturday, August 4, 2018

Homesick for a Place You've Never Been?

LUCY BURDETTE: Can you feel homesick for a place you've never been? This question came up recently in a wonderful review of DEATH ON THE MENU from reader Mary Garrett: 


"Can one be homesick for a place one has never visited? I would have said no, but after reading Lucy Burdette’s Key West mysteries, I feel a bit homesick for sunsets on the beach, Conch Tours, John Martini sculptures (I looked them up — playful! and looked up gumbo limbo trees, too). Now I want some key lime pie . . . as well as flan, mojito cake, and Cuban Mix sandwiches (recipes included)."

Shetland, Scotland (Wikipedia)

Thinking it over, I think she's right about homesickness for unfamiliar places. I feel that way about Shetland because of Ann Cleeves' series with its moody characters and even moodier setting, and Iceland, because of  the books of Arnaldur Indridiason and Ragnar Jonasson.

Reds, can you think of a place you've only visited fictionally that you yearn to visit again?


Baynes Map of Narnia, Wikipedia

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Narnia. Though it does have its pros and cons, that's for sure. Oh! Definitely Lyra's London-esque city in The Golden Compass. Again, pros and cons. Downton Abbey? Huh, again, under the right circumstances. And maybe the little town in Practical Magic. :-)   And I'd love to be in Oxford with Morse, even though way too many people get killed there. I guess it's all about knowing the rules.

INGRID THOFT: Definitely Shetland.  And Santa Teresa.  Hopefully, Kinsey would be there and we could get some quarter pounders with cheese and hang out.  I would love to visit the top floor of the department store the night that Corduroy slipped from his display case and explored the mattress department.  I’ll see you in Oxford, Hank, but I’ll be there for Hathaway! 

from Wikipedia

JENN McKINLAY: Yes. Definitely. Yes. Our own Deborah Crombie made me so homesick for the Notting Hill area of London that I set my own series there and, of course, then had to go visit. Thanks, Debs! Other fictional locations I long for are Chanel Cleeton's Havana, Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana, and I would really get a kick out of spending an afternoon in Mick Herron's Slough House. 

RHYS BOWEN: St Mary Mead, where life was simple (although occasionally dangerous). I'm not sure about Narnia, Hank, although I would like to meet Aslan. Definitely Oxford if I could meet Morse there. I have to confess that I've always had a hankering to go to Falco's Rome, just not stay in his apartment but with Helena's family instead.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Middle Earth, of course. Although I think I'd pass on Mirkwood and Mordor. And Hogwarts!!!! I really, really miss Hogwarts...

Lucy, your books made me homesick for Key West even before I came to visit. And now I really miss it. And Jenn, I love that my books made you want to be in Notting Hill. Now I reread YOUR Hat Shop books when I need a good dose of West London.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: The Germans have a word for this! (Of course they do.) Fernweh's literal translation is "far-sickness," but it connotes a longing to go to someplace you've never been. I'd like to go to the glamorous between-war world of Lady Georgie - Great Britain, the mysterious Balkans, and the south of France (with, obviously, a bankroll that enabled me to travel in style and comfort.) Speaking of style and comfort, I would embark on a trip on Agatha Christie's Orient Express, and then take the steamer Karnak up the Nile to Amelia Peabody's Egyptian digs. From the descriptions I've read and the photos I've seen, the British were "glamping" a hundred years before it caught on here. I could go for that.

HALLIE EPHRON: Istanbul. I took an art history course in college and learned about the former Greek Orthodox basilica with its many windows that make the domes look as if they're floating. And the city sounds so fascinating. And the history--Turkey being at the center of so many centuries of European history. And of course the food. And though I've been to Paris several times, I feel homesick for Amiee LeDuc's Paris, as I've experienced them in Cara Black's novels.

And you, red readers? Homesick for a place you've only visited in fiction?

55 comments:

  1. What wonderful places! How about Jessica Fletcher’s Cabot Cove?
    Ingrid, I’d love to go with you and find Corduroy. And travel on the Orient Express with Julia. And visit Narnia with Hank.

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    1. Cabot Cove is a good one--and that reminds me of Barbara Ross's Busman's Harbor, Maine, another place I'd love to see!

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    2. Yes, with you on the Orient Express!

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    3. For the Cabot Cove experience, come on out to Astoria, Oregon! Sometimes, listening to the goings on at the local public radio station, I'd swear I was sitting in the C.C. beauty parlor, and I wonder who is about to be the victim of the week. (Perhaps I should post this anonymously...)

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  2. Yes. Ich habe Fernweh for McCall Smith's Botswana, Debs' London, and Lucy's Key West. I also kind of have it for my fictional southern Indiana town of South Lick. I keep wanting to schedule a visit there and then remember it's all my head! I'd like to hang out with Catriona McPherson's Dandy Gilver, too, and visit Clare and Russ's town in the Adirondacks.

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    1. Good list Edith! And you wrote your setting well if you're pining to visit:)

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  3. We have been known to plan trips around visits to fictional places. The first was to Nether Wallop where PBS filmed Miss Marple in St. Mary Mead. Im fairly sure she passed us on a bicycle. And then there is St. Denis in the Perigord of Martin Walker and Bruno. That was a couple of years ago, lovely driving trip. I've sat in Notre Dame and waited for Quasimoto to swing by, traveled to Old Sarum to stand where William of Normandy camped before the Battle of Hastings, and spent an inordinate amount of time in Salisbury Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, and St. Paul's. Perhaps the most exciting was sitting across from the Yellow Cafe in Arles while the pompiers scaled the wall to put out a fire in the second story.

    And you haven't lived until you've danced sur le pont Avignon.

    This year we are traveling to England, staying with my daughter in Chester. Side trips planned are Wales, Oxford and the Morse tour, and absolutely I want to go to Penny Lane in Liverpool.

    I wish there were time for Shetland, Northumbria, and Portwen, but that will be saved for another day.

    I can't imagine going somewhere I haven't read about or celebrated in a song, but then I read a lot and Julie reads and sings a lot!

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    1. What a wonderful way to travel Ann--your next trip sounds fantastic!

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    2. And how could I forget Three Pines? We spent several days there last year, followed the Three Pines tour map and visited so many places that inspired Louise Penny. And I bought the tee shirt as well as the coffee mug.

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    3. Thanks for reminding me about the Pergigord, Ann. We were actually having dinner with Martin Walker and that convinced us to go to the area the next summer. It was as fabulous as he said

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    4. And didn't they name the airport after him, Ann and Rhys?

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  4. The first time I experienced this sort of homesickness was in Elizabeth Ogilvie's books that take place. One series was on an island there - maybe Bennett's Island? I literally ached for that place!

    Three Pines, Gamache's village created by Louise Penny in Quebec is another one. And Lake Tahoe because of the wonderful Todd Borg books. I can never decide if I want to go there in summer or winter so I had better try both and then decide.

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    1. I don't know the Todd Borg books Judi--off to look them up!

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    2. You know, someone else was just talking about Todd Borg! Now...who was that....

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  5. Bruno's St. Denis, Perez's Shetland, and Amelia Peabody's Egypt.

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  6. I'm with Deborah: Middle-earth and Hogwarts! I'd also love to be in Lady Georgie's world, Downton Abbey, Amelia Peabody's Egypt, and Three Pines. I'd visit Inspector Lewis and Sgt. Hathaway in Oxford, too.

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  7. I often joke that I grew up in Prydain, since I eagerly anticipated each new Lloyd Alexander book the way more modern kids stayed up late to celebrate each new Harry Potter; I'd love to visit Wales in real life. London is on my list too, preferably with Debs as my tour guide. Lucy has made me fall in love with Key West, where I could haunt the old cemetery and have my cards read by Lorenzo. Three Pines would definitely also make the list. Lately I've been binge-reading Julia Buckley's gothics, so Blue Lake might go on the list as well. Yes to Hogwarts (although I'm afraid I'd turn out to be a muggle) and yes also to Peter Robinson/Alan Bank's Yorkshire. So many places! So little time!!!

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  8. This is reminding me of Doc Martin's Portwenn... filmed in a fishing village Port Isaac in Cornwall. I gather now it's quite the tourist destination. And Oxford where mysteries like Gaudy Night and the Morse Novels took place. And I'd love to visit Precious Ramatswe's Botswana.

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  9. Rhys, yes, lovely quiet (and often deadly quiet) St. Mary Mead where walking, Inch, and the train go wherever I need/want to go. Most of all my homesickness for a place I have never been is for traveling by train: The Orient Express; the Flying Scotsman and all the other trains in those 1920s, 30s days of Daisy Dalrymple; Nick and Nora steaming along from coast to coast in all the Thin Man movies; Ian Rutledge’s claustrophobia, even the dramatic train wreck ( must get to Library and find that book). Once upon time, Lucy, a train could travel from New York to Key West wouldn’t that be lovely!

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    1. That would be lovely! Henry Flagler was the architect of that train route, and a huge hurricane wiped it out. But train travel used to be so civilized

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    2. Oh yes, Elizabeth. Traveling by train is still the best for me, although no longer magical like the Orient Express used to be. And trains are perfect settings for murders!

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    3. Yes, with NIck and NOra! Brilliant!

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  10. Many, many places. St. Mary Mead, Botswana, Amelia Peabody's Egypt (which there's a good chance I wouldn't even like with the heat, dirt, and bat guano), Shetland, Deb's London and Lucy's Key West, Rhys' Wales and Tuscany(and I'd like to go back in time to the settings of her other stories), Margaret Maron's North Carolina, Anne George's Birmingham, Phoebe Atwood Taylor's Cape Cod (very different from the Cape where I live today!)... The list is really endless. Lucky I can travel to many of them in books because sadly, I'll probably never get to some of them in real life.

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  11. Oh, so many wonderful places mentioned that I'd love to visit. I think in the last few years, cold places have struck me as wonderful - the Outer Hebrides of Scotland (or anywhere in Scotland) and Trafalgar, British Columbia, where Vicki Delany has her Molly Smith series. Julia's Millers Kill and several places that I've read about recently in Vermont and New Hampshire. Three Pines, of course, but that kind of goes up there with Hogwarts and Rivendell. Sorry to say that hot places don't attract me as much, probably because I live in Central Texas. I get enough hot. However, I'd make an exception for Key West - maybe in the winter. My motto is 'read cold books in summer'.

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  12. I think it was my childhood reading that did it. Little Women, and than all of Alcott's books, at a ridiculously early age, made me want to see Boston,Concord, and more. My first visit as a teen did not disapoint, and many visits and many years later, I still feel I must have been a Yankee in an earlier life. And England is the other place, for the same reason. Mary Poppins, Green Knowe, The Borrowers, Wind in the Willows -and later, Sutcliffe, Lofts, Christie, Sayers - made England the foreign place I most longed to visit. I did feel, on my first visit, that those books were coming to life for me ( Yes, I know that's not real England. But!)

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    1. Oh the Borrowers, how I adored those books! I will have to reread for the English part...

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    2. Not real England, maybe, but you do still find bits of it. I read all the same books, Triss, and they made England come alive for me.

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    3. As your books do, for England that is something like real and current.

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  13. Broward's Rock, Three Pines, Key West, Southern California, Prince Edward Island, anywhere in Great Britain... I could go on and on. Since I can't afford to travel much, I depend on writers to transport me around the country and around the globe!

    DebRo

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  14. I'm visiting an actual place this weekend - I'm near Stowe, VT in an enormous house with a bunch of family. It's been so rainy and the woods are so tall and thick, I feel as if I'm in the Pacific Northwest!

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  15. Wonderful topic, Lucy! I think the first time I felt this would have been while reading Mary Stewart's 'Madam, Will You Talk?', set in the south of France. Well, any of her books--the ones set in Greece, Crete, and Corfu made me long to see those places. Fast forward a few years, and I'd love to visit England--go to London, visit all the great places Deborah describes, plus pop into the Leaky Cauldron for a visit to Diagon Alley (I'd slip in with a family going school-shopping). Scotland--drop in at Big Lou's coffee shop for a leisurely breakfast and hope to spot Angus and Cyril dropping by, too. So many other wonderful places (and times) already mentioned--Oxford, Paris--so many places I've wandered and explored and come to know through books. Thanks, Reds!

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    1. I agree, Flora, I'm reading all these, and thinking--what a great topic! I love the red community so much....

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  16. I'd love to visit the Jersey and Guernsey Islands, which I didn't even know existed until I read THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY. They sound lovely.

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    1. Oh yes, dying to visit Guernsey--I bet it's overrun with tourists after that wonderful book!

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    2. And another wonderful description of riding a train. Juliet sweeping herself up in the joy of no more blackouts and no more waiting on sidings for troop trains.

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  17. Before I was ten, my Aunt Una took me to Manhattan, to see a Broadway production of Brigadoon. Although I never saw him again, I remember that Edward Villella was the lead dancer. This was before I really knew what it meant to yearn for something you can not have. Since then, I've always been homesick for Scotland.

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    1. But it's only . there for one day, right???

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  18. Hank, I hear you on Narnia. When I had my very first Mac - one of the blocky ones in the early 90's with no memory, I named the hard drive "Narnia" so when it booted up, I was virtually entering the wardrobe. :)

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  19. Pretty much any location in stories make me want to visit. You authors do such a great job of bringing the setting to life.

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  20. I'm not going to remember all the places that have appealed to me. Three Pines. Key West. Karen White's S.C. coast and Charleston. Post WWI England. All of Scotland. Margaret Maron's North Carolina. Ireland. Deadwood and the Black Hills. Midsomer County anyone?

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    1. All of the above, I agree. But Midsomer would make me nervous. People are killed with pitchforks there. That takes some dedication to the cause. Body count is high. But, there may be plenty of charming cottages for sale. . .

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  21. This fall I'll be visiting Australia. I've wanted to since I read Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds thirty years ago and so many others through the years.
    I'd like to visit Key West and I'd like to return to London with Deb's books in mind : it sure would be a different trip.

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  22. Since I’ve been to London, Oxford, Bath, York, and Edinburgh and treasured every moment, I would love to visit Wales and Cornwall. Daphne du Maurier’s Cornwall and Sharon Kay Penman’s Wales from her trilogy on both Llewelyns and Simon du Montfort.

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  23. Homesick for Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana (I visited Edinburgh and loved it); Agatha Christie's St. Mary's Mead; and I have visited many places in real life from novels like Debs Crombie's Notting Hill, Cara Black's Paris, Morse's Oxford, among many other places.

    Diana

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    1. I think we all have to go to Oxford. Right?

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  24. I would have to say the main place is Great Britain because of mysteries, romances, James Herriott books and TV series,and all the history. However, there are so many real and fictional places that are special to me, like Hogwarts, New York City, San Francisco, and so many more.

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  25. I can certainly understand someone wanting to visit Key West because of your books, Lucy. They are right on target about every wonderful part of the island, and they make me want to go back sometime soon. And, Debs, you have made me want to visit every part of London, England, and Scotland in your books. I am still pushing for book tours from you, Debs, and you, Lucy, to visit various places around London and Key West where the stories take us. And, Julia, I did take that side trip to dip my toes into the Adirondacks when I was traveling from the Albany Bouchercon to Niagara Falls. I would like to explore them more.

    Then, one of the places I most want to go is Scotland and especially the Hebrides because I've read so many books set there, including Peter May's. And, Cornwall is top of the list, too. And, Cathy Ace has made me fall in love with Wales.

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  26. Key West was the first place I thought of when I saw what this post was going to be about. And I have to add Narnia to the list. And Sleepyside on the Hudson, New York, home to Trixie Belden. I would love to visit there in real life if I could.

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  27. Louise Penny's Three Pines comes instantly to mind (and heart).

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  28. Reading the comments, (for some reason my JR email arrives late), I realis d how blessed I have been with travel. But for places I have not visited; Three Pines to stay at the b&w, croissants for breakfast and Myra’s books. Then to Dona Leon’s Venice for lunch with Paola. I’d like to follow Will through Susan Cooper’s Britain. Then off to Alaska with Kate Shukak? Spelling? Visit all the National Parks and finally sail with my childhood friends, the Walkers and the Blacketts, up on a tarn. Thanks to Arthur Ransome I live on a lake but in Maine, not the Lake Country.

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