Auckland Libraries: Read a book set in a place you have ancestors

Read a book set in a place you have ancestors

From Aotearoa to Nigeria, there are fascinating stories from across all the globe.

The matriarch

Witi Ihimaera

Set in Aotearoa. In this ambitious challenge to official history, the matriarch is a woman of intelligence, wit and ruthlessness, who has become a mythical figure through her fight to repossess the land and sustain her people.

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The secret diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 years old

Hendrik Groen

Set in the Netherlands. This bestselling book may be the diary of a resident in an Amsterdam care home, who decides he's not ready to give in to all the trappings of old age just yet. Or, a poignant comic and moving novel.

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The fall of the pagoda

Ailing Zhang

Set in China. Eileen Chang is now recognised as one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, but she was once erased from official histories. This semi-autobiographical novel depicts her childhood in Shanghai in the 1930s.

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The green road

Anne Enright

Set in Ireland. In exacting but luminous prose, Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright tells the story of Rosaleen and her children who, having left to make their lives elsewhere, return for a last Christmas when the family home is to be sold.

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Lani Wendt Young

Set in Samoa. This thrilling love story is the first of a series of four books inspired by Pacific mythology, featuring a sisterhood of demon women who are guardians of earth and gifted with the elemental powers of Air, Water and Fire.

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Aunt Julia and the scriptwriter

Mario Vargas Llosa

Set in Latin America. The prolific Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize in Literature, has written comedies, mysteries, historical novels, and thrillers. This hilarious and mischievous novel depicts both his native Peru and the act of growing up in the 1950s.

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The elephant keepers' children

Peter Høeg

Set in Scandinavia, in Copenhagen and on the island of Finø. Terrorist plots, an angry bishop, a deranged headmaster, two love-struck police officers, deluded aristocrat and more, from the acclaimed Danish author of 'Smilla's sense of snow'.

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The prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark

Set in Scotland. Muriel Spark is one of Scotland's best-known writers. All her novels are great reads, but Miss Brodie, the schoolmistress with a difference, dangerously determined to make her girls the 'crème de la crème', makes this a standout.

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Smaller and smaller circles

F. H. Batacan

Set in the Philippines. Considered the first Filipino crime novel, it's a fascinating glimpse into a conservative and pious society, full of obstructive officials who are more interested in preserving the status quo than in revealing the truth.

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Every day is for the thief

Teju Cole

Set in Nigeria. A young writer rediscovers his hometown of Lagos after many years away, moving through tableaus of life in one of the most dynamic cities in the world. The book's short pieces reveal a complex, beautiful, generous, and corrupt city.

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Auckland Libraries:Book list Recommended reading lists about different topics and genres to help you find new books to read.