Books Set in Croatia
It’s time for book club and this month I am sharing books set in Croatia. This one was a little harder than books set in Italy, but I found a few good ones. I also started a couple I didn’t finish. Croatia is a little country, and while it is big with beauty, there just aren’t as many people, thus writers, as there are in some of the other countries we are visiting. In fact, a few of these books aren’t even written by Croats.
I’d love to get your recommendations for books set in Germany, specifically Bavaria, in the comments. Or around Salzburg, Austria. We are staying right on the border of the two countries. And we will definitely watch Sound of Music again!
by Jennifer Wilson
I really enjoyed this book. Jennifer Wilson and family move to Croatia for six months or so to research her family genealogy. She is a witty writer and pokes fun at herself, as well as the people she gets to know in this small village in the mountains. And of course, she learns a little more about herself in the process. I was entertained and learned about Croatian life…a perfect mix.
Buy Running Away to Home: Our Family’s Journey to Croatia on Amazon.
by Cody McClain Brown
This is another funny one about a guy who meets a Croatian gal in college and ends up marrying her and moving to Split. Each chapter is centered around a particular Croatianism – coffee culture, their fear of drafts, and Mother-in-laws that are determined to feed everyone endlessly. I could see some of these things in our short stay in Croatia and appreciated them all the more knowing what was happening.
Buy Chasing a Croatian Girl: A Survivor’s Tale on Amazon.
by Rebecca West
This is a classic and, honestly, I did not get very far. I wanted to read it, but the Adriatic view off our balcony put me in more of a beachy, light reading kind of mood. It’s a travelogue that takes place on the brink of WWII. “A magnificent blend of travel journal, cultural commentary, and historical insight, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon probes the troubled history of the Balkans and the uneasy relationships among its ethnic groups. The landscape and the people of Yugoslavia are brilliantly observed as West untangles the tensions that rule the country’s history as well as its daily life.”
Buy Black Lamb and Grey Falcon on Amazon.
by Sara Novic
We read this in my IRL book club and I loved it. I was hesitant to start it because it seemed fairly depressing, which it kind of is, but the story is so good. The civil war in Yugoslavia is one I was alive for and remember. I appreciated getting this on the ground, though fictional, account of a girl living through it. The story starts before the war when Ana was ten years old. She lives through it and eventually ends up in America where she tries to pretend it never happened. Eventually, she goes back to Croatia to sort out her past. It really is so good whether or not you are ever going to Croatia.
Buy Girl at War: A Novel on Amazon.
by Téa Obreht
Not set in Croatia outright, it is generally agreed that it takes place there. I read this awhile ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I do recall really enjoying the book. This is another one you don’t need to go to Croatia or the Balkans to love. “In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.”
Buy The Tiger’s Wife on Amazon.
by Robert Perisic
A more contemporary story, this book takes place in post-war Croatia. It’s about a young man trying to figure out his place in the world where Croatia, and Zagreb in particular, are trying so hard to shake off the 90s and be part of Europe. Of course, history is hard to let go of. Note: It’s a little racy in parts.
Buy Our Man in Iraq on Amazon.
by Angus Kennedy
I didn’t really like this book. Maybe because there was no story. What was it even about? However, if we had gone to Dubrovnik, I think I would have appreciated the history and travelogue-like sections. Or I might just get a guidebook.
Buy Two Tickets to Dubrovnik on Amazon.
by Ivana Brlic-Mazuranic
This is a book of fairy tales that I got to read to the kids. It’s actually “original narrative plots with ancient Slavic folk mythology. The result is a rich, fantastic world often compared to those of Hans Christian Andersen or J. R. R. Tolkien.” My kids were not super into it, but I was. Maybe if they were younger. I think a country’s fairy tales tell you a lot about their culture.
Buy Croatian Tales of Long Ago on Amazon.
Have you read any of these books set in Croatia? What do you think? And what should I read in Bavaria?
Join the Book Club!
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