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Reading ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ in Armenia and Sharjah

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The books: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor

The places: Armenia and Sharjah 

This post is actually a lie: I am no longer reading these books in either Armenia or Sharjah, but am instead in Nairobi dipping in and out of a number of things and failing to settle to any proper reading. I expect that it’s at least partly down to book- and travel-hangover: I find myself longing for the Former Soviet Union or the Arabian Peninsula, and for a book or a series as gloriously immersive as I found these.

I wanted to blog while I was actually in Armenia, but Armenia distracted me by being wholeheartedly awesome the entire time. There were mountains and monasteries and ruined mosques; there was wine for sale by the side of the road in Coca Cola bottles, and home-made apricot vodka, and cognac, and a thousand toasts with people we met along the way; there was borshch eaten in a near-deserted restaurant lined with caryatids in a hotel shaped like a boat, and beans and bread in what my travelling companion described as a “warzone lad pad”, and tiny birds roasted whole whose heads we crunched before realising what they were. We picked up hitch-hikers and passed convoys of tanks and got a flat tyre in the pitch dark at the top of a mountain pass and very nearly fixed it entirely ourselves, before a kind man stopped to finish the job and was rewarded with the plastic bottle of wine that we had bought by the roadside hours before. I was only there for a week but it felt like at last twice as long.

The reason that I don’t have a travel blog per se is because I’m dreadful at recapping trips like this in a way that is coherent and interesting to someone who wasn’t there. It takes a while for stories to percolate through into structured narratives; it takes distance, too, which is hard for me to get when it comes to travel. Me and travel, I’m like an overenthusiastic Labrador puppy, flinging myself all over it and eagerly licking its extremities and making shameful whimpering noises of delight and excitement. This sort of head-busting, heart-bursting joy does not make for good travel blogging; it makes for the sort of jumbled grab-bag of a blog post that you see before you.

Laini Taylor says it well herself, in the acknowledgements to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the first in the trilogy, where she thanks the world for being so big and interesting and exciting (I paraphrase). Damn straight. Laini Taylor has made a high entry onto the list of Authors I Would Like To Have A Beer With.





















Written by Jess

November 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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