We have five copies of Patrick Gale's A Place Called Winter to give away to the best answers to the following question:
"Name another book that re-creates for you the atmosphere of a country in a particular season and say why you chose it."
Please leave your answers in the Comments section below.
We regret that our competitions are open to UK residents only
Terror by Dan Simmons is the re-imagining of Sir John Franklin's 1845 Arctic expedition (to find the NW Passage) into a fictional tale of the strange and terrifying events that befall the crews of the ships HMS Terror and Erebus when they become trapped in winter ice. The tension in the story mounts as the explorers try to escape the well described hardships of extreme cold, crushing ice, shortage of provisions and the unknown forces killing off the characters.
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (Ann Weisgarber) summons up for me sense of place and climate like nothing since Steinbeck. The dry summer followed by an autumn of endless dry skies summon up the isolation, hunger and vast landscape of South Dakota.
L.P. Hartley's the Go- Between is an old ma's reflections on a summer childhood in 1900. Young Leo spends a summer holiday with a school friend in his rather grand country house in the intensely hot summer holidays. The discomfort of the heat mirrors a situation in which he is both socially uncomfortable and developing a growing awareness of sexuality. Leo is manipulated and the regarded by the family and his downfall is comes amid a storm that breaks the heat.
Indian Summer by William Dean Howells The story mainly takes place in Florence. The main parts of Florence that are mentioned are the Lung'Arno, Cascine, and the Boboli Gardens. Palazzo Pinti is the Bowen’s home in Florence. The idea for the Palazzo Pinti may have come from a real Renaissance palace in Florence, the Palazzo Pitti. Fiesole, a town in the province of Florence, is also mentioned.
The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo - one of the best books I've ever read & it was quite by accident. I read it whilst in Lanzarote - it had been left by a previous holidaymaker - quite bizarre reading a book set in the depths of Winter whilst sunbathing! Jo is now one of my favourite authors thanks to someone I've never met!
I am cheating and offering a tetralogy. The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell. Mediterranean Egypt during the 1930s and 40s. It is a jigsaw puzzle of lives and loves and evokes the pre-war and wartime period memorably. Durrell brings the city to life with such skill that the place itself can almost be perceived as the central character. It is years since I first read these books and they have never left me.
The Leopard bu Jo Nesbo - perfectly portrays a twilight Norwegian winter sparkling with dark Harry Hole humour amid terrible deeds.
No competition in this competition for me. Virginia Woolf's Orlando. I'm not (whisper it!) very fond of VW but her description of the 17c Frost Fair on the Thames in Orlando is perfect. Ice coats the pages but you are drawn in to the noise and colour and bustle nonetheless. "Here and there burnt vast bonfires of cedar and oak wood, lavishly salted, so that the flames were of green, orange, and purple fire. But howver fiercely they burnt, the heat was not enough to melt the ice which, though of singular transparency, was yet of the hardness of steel."
The book that immediately springs to mind, although it's years since I've read it, is Snow Falling On Cedars - an atmospheric and bleak whodunnit which is more about prejudice and small town bigotry, than about guessing who 'did it'. I only remember it vaguely, but the memory I have is of the winter setting mimicking the coldness of the plot.
The harshness of Canada’s Yukon Territory in the depths of winter in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” more than just encapsulates the atmosphere of that particularly country for me. Having read it at a very early age t imprinted my mind to what it would actually be like, such is the realism that London imparts. Jack London is perhaps the greatest writer associated with the region, and his novels also have a great enormity to the sense of place and season, but for me his short story does this so emphatically in so few words, and gets my vote as the best short story ever. It is also a story of man versus nature, and a single man’s struggle to survive extreme conditions. Not only is it a thrilling read, and I’ll go further and state that this is essential reading for any wannabe Bear Grylls or Ray Mears adventurer.
Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye portrays the heat and humidity of the florida summer before the storm, she also portreys the storm so well, down to the stillness when they are under the eye of the hurricane
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