The November Novella Challenge starts here and, for once, I am announcing my reading plans ahead of time – because if I don’t,  I’ll divert and I’ll acquire more books …. and I really, really,really don’t need to.  Except there is a new edition of one of my favourite books of all time being published at the end of this month.  I’ll keep you guessing for now but I will reward myself once I’ve completed this list.

For the purpose of this challenge, a novella is a single story between 60 and 160 pages long. 

This is the plan.  I live in Scotland, so this world tour starts and ends with Scottish authors.  Perhaps we can to meet up along the way …

From left to right:

1.  The Island – R J Price  (Scotland)

2. Aquis Submersus – Theodor Storm (Germany)  (From the NYRB edition of “The Rider of The White Horse”. )

3. Visitation – Jenny Erpenbeck  (Germany)

(As it’s New York Review of Books Reading Week, I’m making a quick diversion into Belgium to visit Georges Simenon and his Red Lights.)

4. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman – Friedrich Christian Delius (Switzerland, set in Italy)

5. A Castle in Romagna – Igor Stiks (Bosnia, also set in Italy)

(While in Italy, it seems churlish not to read Thomas Mann’s Death In Venice ……)

6. Gasoline – Quim Monzo (Spain)

7. Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (Poland, set in Africa)

(Got to read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart now!)


All those diversions, no wonder I didn’t finish in November.  As we go into December, I’m now crossing the Atlantic …….


8. Bonsai – Alejandro Zambra (Chile)

9. Chronicle of A Death Foretold – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia)

10. Alphabet of the Night – Jean-Euphele Milce (Haiti)

11.  Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton (USA)

12.  My Life – Anton Chekhov (Russia)

13. Faustine – Emma Tennant (Scotland)

13 novellas, authors from 11 countries,  books from 12 publishers.  That should satisfy my literary wanderlust for a while.   So  if I go missing in the meantime, at least you’ll know where I am.