Book review: This anthology visits places that inspired iconic literature

In the 38 incisive pieces that make Footsteps, which spans cities over five continents, different writers retrace the footsteps of their favourite authors. Sobrino de Botin in Madrid, Spain, is oldest restaurant in world and was founded by a French man Jean Botin in 1725. Ernest Hemingway often visited Botin when in Spain.(Shutterstock) The unsettling story of an evil Transylvanian aristocrat’s depredations was brought home – in all senses – to the readers by a British coastal resort, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s fictional Colombian setting of his best-known works actually exists and San Francisco highlights the spot of a murder catalysing one of the most famous crime noir novels. Literature may be the ultimate epitome of inspired imagination, but it is somewhere tied to reality though its settings, characters or plot. And as these examples and others show, the first tends to take more prominence. There is scarcely a place in the world which has not figured in some story, and conversely, many places have inspired some of the most iconic fiction of all genres. The dreaming spires and cloisters of Oxford, the “foreboding forests, striking towers, and even some genuine castles” between Germany’s Frankfurt and Bremen, the hedonistic playground […]

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