on December 22, 2002
A collection of essays and stories about living in foreign countries. Books about this usually contain certain predictable themes. The writer is usually English or American, doesn't have a regular job, and the natives among whom he lives are lovable eccentrics with fractured English. It's commonly an island, or somewhere remote and warm, and when we next read about the writer he's no longer living there. (Jan Morris points out of these cliches in her or his introductory essay, "Some Thoughts from Abroad")
Some of the pieces fall into these obvious categories but one writer is Indian, one Welsh, and one South American. In three of them the foreign country is the United States. Others are set in the Philippines, Paris, Provence, Italy, Kenya, Singapore, Mexico, Ireland, Morocco, Japan, China, Egypt, Thailand, Turkey and Greece. Tragedy strikes in two of them but the mood is mostly light-hearted and humorous. I enjoyed them all. They made me appreciate electricity, paved roads, and being able to turn on a faucet and drink the water.
on March 6, 2003
This compendium of travel stories provides essays by Isabel Allende, Jan Morris, and more notable travel writers and provides an unusual focus on experiences of living abroad. Essays range from the humorous to the observation of cultural differences as they provide both entertaining and enlightening autobiographies embracing the overseas living experience. A House Somewhere is perfect as a leisure literary pursuit and highly recommended for the traveler who contemplates residency in another country.