Even though we’re travel writers, we don’t get to be constantly traveling. So when we’re stuck at home, we turn to books to transport us around the world. Matador editors Matt Hershberger and Ana Bulnes give us their 7 books that took them somewhere in 2017.
1. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks — Scotland
It would be hard for an author to have a more unsettling debut novel than Iain Banks’ 1984 The Wasp Factory. It features a teenaged psychopath named Frank Cauldhame, who lives on a lonely island off the Scottish highlands with his father. Frank spends his days conducting elaborate, deeply creepy rituals while preparing for the return of his insane brother, who just escaped from a mental institution. The book goes to some really dark places, but what was most striking about it to me was how effectively it used the Scottish landscape to set the scene. Rural Scotland is a wild and windy place, and Banks uses this landscape in just the creepiest possible ways. I can’t say I’d want to spend time with Frank if I was in Scotland, but it was nice to take the trip there nonetheless. —Matt Hershberger