Most of us can’t travel all the time, and sometimes we find ourselves at home, yearning to explore. It’s the feeling of standing before the edge of possibility. It’s the feeling that our life has turned some corner we can’t grasp yet, and that we are going in a slightly different direction.
Fortunately, there are books we can turn to that capture those feelings of motion, disorientation and discovery. Here are works of fiction—both novels and short stories—to take you across the world.
These spare yet vibrant stories almost perfectly capture the disorientation and recklessness of life overseas, as well as how it can change us. “Travel scraped him away to reveal not some dulled surface but bright new layers of personality,” Bissell says of one character.
Bowles’ classic book may have been one of the first to capture the aimlessness of modern life, as his three protagonists travel through North Africa with no particular destination in mind. The book is a beautiful, haunting echo of travel today, with all its melancholy gifts.