1. Saul Bellow: The Dean’s December

Set in the time of the communist regime in Romania, this novel deals with the life of a Chicago professor and his wife. During his travels, Albert Corde, the protagonist, uncovers the workings of a totalitarian regime. In addition he discovers the true nature of friendship.

2.  Cara Hoffman: Running

This novel also takes place in 1980s Europe, in Athens, Greece. The protagonist discovers the inner workings of an underground society and becomes entangled in this web.

3. Ben Lerner: Leaving the Atocha Station

A young American poet's journey takes him to Madrid, Spain, where he discovers a different culture and lifestyle. In attempting to become part of this society, he learns to re-examine himself.

4.  James Baldwin: Giovanni’s Room

Dealing with controversial issues of the mid 20th century, the author sets his plot in Paris, where he can explore the tribulations of a young man. His crisis and turmoil about dealing with his sexuality is narrated from his own perspective.

5.  Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley

The protagonist is sent on a mission to Italy by a wealthy father to locate his son and send him back to the United States. Can the small-time con-man elude detection and escape or the ghosts of the past will change him forever?

6. Arthur Philips: Prague

The novel follows four Americans and a Canadian in Budapest, Hungary. All the characters are trying to build their lives in the post-communist Hungarian society of early 1990s.

7. Justin Kurian: The Sunlight Lies Beyond

The novel is set in the early 1990s in Transylvania, Romania. In this struggling society John Arden tries to re-evaluate his life after working in the ruthless business world of New York.

8. Garth Greenwell: What Belongs To You

The protagonist travels from America to Sofia, Bulgaria and finds himself falling in love. He learns much about himself from both his lover and the circumstances surrounding him.

9.  Nell Zink: The Wallcreeper

An American adventurous couple travel to Switzerland. Their whole experience is shown through the wife's eyes, who tries to make sense of her husband and the unfolding events around her.

10.  Mavis Gallant

Her short stories are predominantly about Americans trying to fit in French society. Their self discovery is a natural consequence of the effects society and foreign culture has on the protagonists.

11.  Darryl Pinckney: Black Deutschland

The main character leaves 1980s Chicago to find himself emerged in the tumultuous society of Berlin, Germany. His painful past haunts him, but he tries to find a better future in a society ready to tear down the Wall that is dividing the city.

12. Henry James: The Portrait of a Lady

Isabel Archer journeys to England then Italy in this novel. She tries to find her way in life between the plots and plans of her acquaintances and her own decisions.