One problem with trying to read a book from every country in the world is that not every country has authors whose works have been translated into English. When I started this project, my hope was that each book I read would (a) be written by an author who was born in the country in question, and (b) be set, at least for part of the book, in that country.
Unfortunately, that's not the case for Andorra. The author of the book I read is indeed from Andorra, but his book is set in ancient Egypt. There don't appear to have been any novels translated into English that were set in Andorra and written by an author from Andorra. So I read the same book that Ann Morgan read for her blog, "A Year of Reading the World": The Teacher of Cheops, by Albert Salvadó.
The book centers around the character Sedum, who was born a slave, but through hard work, intelligence, and plain old luck, manages to become a free man and a valuable employee to the Egyptian pharaoh Snefru, who ruled between 2613 and 2589 B.C. Snefru was responsible for building the first pyramid with straight edges, rather than the step pyramids that were common at the time. Sedum serves for a time as teacher to Snefru's sons, Kannefer and Cheops. A catastrophe in the building of a pyramid, however, leads to a shake-up among Snefru's inner circle, and Sedum is called upon to assume a more demanding role in the pharaoh's kingdom.
This is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls one faces in a treacherous world. Sedum was smart, honest, and industrious, and even so, he always had to look over his shoulder to see what danger might be threatening.
The book's author, Albert Salvadó, is popular in Andorra for his historical novels, and The Teacher of Cheops won the Nestor Lujan Prize in 1998. I'm hoping that someday he'll write a historical novel about Andorra that will be translated into English.
I made an Andorran recipe, even though The Teacher of Cheops wasn't about Andorra. Trinxat is a fried potato and cabbage pancake that's popular in the Pyrenees. I used a recipe I found on a blog called "The Mediterranean Vegan." Since most trinxat recipes call for bacon, I chopped up a couple of slices of vegan bacon and added them to the minced garlic that was being sautéed in olive oil. This was really tasty, but it didn't fry up into cakes very well, so if I were to cook it again, I'd just fry it as a kind of hash.
This article is being posted a little later than usual this weekend because, although I have been frantically searching the Internet, I have been unable to find a nonprofit organization in Andorra to which I can send a donation. The few organizations that looked promising have websites written in Catalan, making it impossible for me to understand what they do or how to donate. I'll continue to look for a way to contribute to Andorra, and if I find anything, I'll post an update here. In the meantime...
NEXT STOP: ANGOLA