Books in the genre “travel memoir”

I just finished re-reading one of my favorite books, “An Italian Affair” by Laura Fraser. I am literally on my third copy of this; I had ‘loaned’ out the previous two. I was reading it recently for two reasons, (1) this new copy came courtesy of my sister when she visited earlier in the merry month of May, and (2) I am finally going to visit Italy for the first time, in about six weeks, and I am starting to get really excited about that trip.

This book is my very favorite of three books I love in this genre of “travel memoir,” all three of which involve a single woman travelling alone in Europe. Here are my one sentence summaries:

  1. Laura Fraser, “An Italian Affair,” An American divorcee meets a French art professor in Italy, and meets him for romantic interludes in different cities around the world over the course of the next few years.
  2. Sarah Turnbull, “Almost French,” An Australian woman spending a year travelling meets a Frenchman in Bucharest and eventually moves to Paris to start a life with him.
  3. Alice Steinbach, “Without Reservations,” An American divorcee meets a Japanese man in Paris and meets him for romantic interludes in different cities around the world over the course of the next few years. (There’s a sequel, “Educating Alice” with the continuing adventures)

In all three cases, I read the books before I had ever even visited Europe, so on some level these were fantasies and on some level they became slightly prophetic when I started travelling alone in Europe. (Except that I never managed to meet either a handsome French or Japanese man along the way…) In all three cases there was an obvious romantic component but the real and primary themes of the books were self-discovery. Although I have optimistically gone on to read other books in this genre (Italy and France seem to be particularly well-represented) I have never found another that I like as well as these three.

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5 responses to “Books in the genre “travel memoir”

  1. Oooh, now the last one sounds really interesting… why haven’t you pushed that one on me yet?

  2. Thanks you’ve given me some reading suggestions:D

  3. I’m re-reading the Italian Affair again, it’s one of my favorite things to read of all time. I read a book last week that I found very depressing–a memoir of a late thirty something person who never did find love, so I needed a Laura Fraser injection.

  4. Pingback: Expat Books « Not From Around Here

  5. Thanks for this list and the expat books suggestions! Great site too.

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