Well, that’s over. From the front flap of the book:
Prompted to read a book translated into English from each of the world’s 195 UN-recognized countries (plus Taiwan and one extra), Ann sought out classics, folktales, current favorites and commercial triumphs, novels, short stories, memoirs, and countless mixtures of all these things.
The world between two covers, the world to which Ann introduces us with affection and no small measure of wit, is a world rich in the kind of narratives that engage us passionately: we meet an irreverent junk food–obsessed heroine in Kuwait, an explorer from Togo who spent years among the Inuit in Greenland, and a former child circus performer of Roma background seeking sanctuary in Switzerland.
I was excited to read this book because I was looking forward to hearing about Morgan’s experiences sourcing native literature from each country and her thoughts about what she read. After all, isn’t that what the title and flap seem to be offering?
Unfortunately, that’s not what I got. What I got was a dissertation on reading globally, writing for a global audience and a whole lot of theorising about imperialism, racism, war and how they relate to writing and publishing. The only time Morgan mentions her experiences with sourcing and reading literature from every UN recognized country at all in this book is when she’s using them as citations to support the idea she’s espousing at that moment. As to her thoughts about what she read – they’re almost non-existent until nearly the end when she discusses her feelings about the perceptions of non-Europeans/North Americans of the British and the Yanks.
I’d have given this book 1 star, but the book does have merit; it’s thoughtful, insightful, and well-written. If this is what you’re looking for, definitely check out this book. But this wasn’t what I was looking for; I was looking for what was advertised on the packet and since I didn’t get that my rating is lower than the book objectively deserves.