This week’s topic has been troubling me. Not because I don’t have favorite places or things that make a place wonderful to me, but because I already wrote on a similar topic on my personal blog, and I feel compelled to come up with something original.
But in that entry, I wrote about my favorite real-life places, and one of the things that I love most about books is their ability to transport you somewhere. In The Weird Sisters, one of my goals was to create a living, breathing town, a place that you felt you had seen before, or might be able to stumble upon, and I hope I’ve done that in the town of Barnwell, Ohio.
There are a lot of books that do that for me – the beach in Alex Garland’s The Beach, Camden in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, Seattle in Judith Ryan Hendricks’ Bread Alone – and even one TV show – Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls.
But if there’s one place I could go? One single fictional place that could come alive for me?
Maeve Binchy’s Dublin.
In any of Maeve Binchy’s books, she creates Dublin as an enormous city that nonetheless feels like a small town. Her ability to craft coincidence is one of the things I love most about her writing, and the way the characters intermesh is the key to that small-town feel.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in England, but have never made it to Ireland. Nonetheless, I feel like I’ve been there already. I’m nigh-convinced that I could wander into Quentins restaurant, or run into some of the people who live on Tara Road, or stop by for tea in one of the houses on St. Jarlath’s Crescent (from Scarlet Feather and Minding Frankie) or encounter any one of the characters from my favorite book of hers, Evening Class.
I’m a bit of a Maeve Binchy superfan, and it makes me a wee bit nervous to actually go to Dublin, for fear that I wouldn’t see it with the same love and tenderness she does. Clearly, the only solution for this is to have her act as my tour guide. Call me, Maeve!
What about you? What fictional, or fictionalized, place would you love to visit?