10 books set outside of the United States


July 19, 2016 by Zoë

1. Breaking the Tongue by Vyvyane Loh
Setting: Singapore
I am fairly obsessed with books about World War II in Southeast Asia. This is a particularly good example of those kinds of books and does rally interesting things with language and identity.
2. The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Setting: Malaysia
Another World War II in Southeast Asia book. Penang holds a special place in my heart, which is probably why I like it as much as I do. Again, this book also delves into issues of identity, which I appreciate.
3. Putri Cina by Sindhunata
Setting: Indonesia
This is a really complex book about Chinese Indonesians and the issues that they face. There unfortunately isn’t an English translation (yet), but for those of you who can read Indonesian, I highly recommend it.
4. The Dancer by Ahmad Tohari
Setting: Indonesia
Another complicated Indonesian book, this time with a translation. It involves communism in Indonesia and its impact on villagers.
5. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Setting: Thailand
Near future science fiction in Thailand. I want so many more books like this that take things we’ve seen done over and over in the United States or Europe and instead take them and examine what would happen in other parts of the world. I’m biased toward Southeast Asia, of course, so that’s why I like this one so much.
6. Eon by Alison Goodman
Setting: China
This is a highly fantastical version of China, which, again, is something I like. More fantasy set in Asia, please. Also it’s about a girl dressing as a boy, which is a trope that never gets old for me.
7. Sold by Patricia McCormick
Setting: Nepal
I don’t really enjoy books in verse, but this one, about a girl trafficked into a brothel, was so intense and powerful that I didn’t even notice.
8. Shiva’s Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Setting: India
I just listed this a couple of weeks ago, but here it is again because this book is just that good.
9. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Setting: England
I didn’t want to put any books set in western Europe on this list, but I made an except for this one because it’s written by a Malaysian and because it deals so well with POC characters. There’s effortless diversity in this book, which is hard to come by.
10. The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Setting: Zimbabwe
This is an old book, but it also falls into that category of science fiction set somewhere other than the United States or Europe. Definitely check it out if you haven’t read it yet.

Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


2 thoughts on “10 books set outside of the United States

  1. Have you read The Narrow Road to the Deep North? It’s a WWII book, and some of it is set in Asia.


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