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The Way of the World: Two men in a car from Geneva to the Khyber Pass

The Way of the World: Two men in a car from Geneva to the Khyber Pass [Kindle Edition]

Nicolas Bouvier , Thierry Vernet , Robyn Marsack
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Nicolas Bouvier's passionate and exhilarating travel stories have inspired generations of young Europeans onto the road. --Rory Maclean, author of Magic Bus

Bouvier is that rare author who alerts the reader to the transcendent dimension of travel. This courageous alchemy makes Way of the World a masterpiece. --Jason Elliot, author of An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

As good a novel as it is tough and relentless. --Evening Standard

Product Description

The Way of the World, a cult classic, is the beguiling tale of an impecunious and life-enhancing journey from Geneva to the Khyber Pass in the '50s. When Nicolas Bouvier and the artist Thierry Vernet set out, they had money for four months and a sturdy Fiat Topolino. They broke their journey when money ran low, to teach and sell paintings and articles in Istanbul, Tabriz and eventually in Quetta. Gravitating towards the poorer neighbourhoods, they spent intoxicating nights listening to gypsy musicians, trading poetry with Iranian tramps and entertaining their fellow drinkers with songs and an accordion. The Way of the World is also a journey towards the self. 'You think you are making a trip,' writes Bouvier, 'but soon it is making you - or unmaking you.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4327 KB
  • Print Length: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Eland Publishing (18 Oct 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070D3U4S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #159,815 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Road... but East... 26 Mar 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
It was the `50's, and two authors hit the road. Since having read it, I think that Jack Kerouac's work, with the subject title is vastly overrated. He bounced back and forth between the oceans that encompass America, and seemed to see so little. But Nicolas Bouvier, seven years younger, was so much more perceptive, and undertook a bolder and more arduous journey, in a beat-up Fiat, with his artist companion Thierry Vernet.

At 25 they simply did not have the financial resources to undertake the trip, so they "had to wing it," and more than once benefited from the kindness of strangers. As an epigraph, he quotes Shakespeare: "I shall be gone and live, or stay and die." And to those that have done it, the end of his preface rings true: "Traveling outgrows it motives. It soon proves sufficient in itself. You think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you - or unmaking you."

Bouvier was one of the trail-blazers along what would become known as the "hippie route to India" in the `70's. He is Swiss French, from Geneva; he meets Thierry in Yugoslavia. They travel on through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and into Afghanistan, with the book, but not the journey (apparently) ending at the Khyber Pass, between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It takes them 18 months to complete this portion (they "wintered" in Tabriz, Iran). They both have an astonishingly well-developed aesthetic sense, and are quite knowledgeable in a broad range of fields, particularly for their age. And they are observant, both of their surroundings, and human nature. They have a "knack" for dealing with government officials, and the people of the road.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically seductive 25 Sep 2009
One of the best reisebucher I know.
On par with Byron's Oxiana, only much "younger" in mindset and style.
Could be better edited, but (minor) imperfections add to the charm of this book which I found way above any otherwise respectable if oversold Chatwin
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The Way of the World takes me back to when a generation traveled the world with backpacks, motorcycles and VW buses.
It is a travel log set in the late fifties, of two casual travelers in their early twenties, who set off on a trip from Europe to India to explore the backroads and see life in its essence as lived by the local people.
The book paints the pictures of gypsys, artists, mountain families and ancient cities with bazaars, using local color and the eye of an artist.
Those who have traveled with similiar resources will enjoy the challenges of the innovative repair of an old Fiat in the middle of a desert, the capricousness of venturing into another country with only pocketchange, and the discovery that most people in the world do have a love of strangers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two young men off to see the world 7 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having travelled a similar route to Bouvier 20 years after him and just a couple of years younger (though by local buses) `The Way of the World' had a lot of resonance for me. I thought I knew all the best accounts of travels in these regions but only became aware of this book recently while reading Bouvier's excellent `Japanese Chronicles'. Both books are beautifully written (or more correctly, beautifully translated, though I'm sure the original French is at least as beautifully written) and full of wonderful insight, historical context and imagery. Bouvier was clearly an intelligent and learned man but wears his intelligence and learning lightly with his seeming modesty and quirky humour. What strikes one initially as a little curious in TWotW is the missing detail - Why did Bouvier and his friend Thierry set off on this journey? What preparations did they make? Where did they buy fuel along the way? What lives did they lead before the journey? However, ultimately I think it made for a better read this way - less of the distracting mundane detail, more of the `feel' of the whole experience. I particularly liked the descriptions of the many colourful characters they met along the way, for example, Terence at the Saki Bar in Quetta. The characters I met on my trip provided some of my most enduring memories. Implausible as many of them seem on the written page, I can tell you I met Terences all the way from Athens to Kathmandu.
....oh and did I mention the quality of the writing? Just dug out my diary from my own trip and compared my accounts of some of the places visited (e.g. Tabriz, Kabul) with Bouvier's. A different league. If you think you've already read the best in travel writing then read `The Way of the World'. Wonderful stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Travel 18 Oct 2011
By Cec
Enjoyable from the beginning, in English tough. Sometimes few sentences stopped my reading; I had to read them few times more to focus on the meaning. Nevertheless,
Monsieur Bouvier has been a nice company, definitively not boring (btw, my first Swiss author). I like the care of his comments, how he experienced the journey appreciating the core of local realities, the different colours and smells. I went back to my memories in Macedonia, but especially in Turkey. Although it has changed so much in the past 40 years, he reminded me how comfortable/welcome I felt over there, the wind from Galata Bridge (nice drawing also) and he also reopened the bright pictures collected inside.
On top of everything, I was quite surprised about his acute historical-politics observations. I mean, I am not an expert at all but its heft really surprised me. I think, he describes a very current topic regarding the difficult relationship between the East and the West; the already influence/presence of the Americans in the Middle East. I think, if the West had looked through the eyes of Monsieur Bouvier today, perhaps the word would be a little bit better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great travel book about an interesting part of the world ...
This is a great travel book about an interesting part of the world in a less troubled era and a very enjoyable read. I was gad I bought it.
Published 25 days ago by Marek Filipiak
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Dull
Normally a big of the writers that Eland choose to publish. Unfortunately I could not say that I was s much a fan of this author in fact I found him dull and plodding at times,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nico
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully observed and poetically written.
I wonder how this book would read if the same trip were made today. I suspect that further generations of the people they met would still be living their lives in similar ways. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Michael Evason
3.0 out of 5 stars Prisoner of time
It's a great account of two people's travels through what would not be almost impossible territory. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Eleni
5.0 out of 5 stars The Past in the Present
In The Way of the World, Nicolas Bouvier recounts his youthful wanderjahr--actually a year and a half--with a painter pal, driving a finicky two-seater from his hometown of Geneva... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Taylor McNeil
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute joy
I'm in Mongolia having just succesfully driven from London, through Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgistan and Russia on our way and can safley Bouvier describes this style of travel to... Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2008 by Mr. O. Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read this year -The Way of the World
Quite simply the most magical, delightful book I have read this year - intelligent, warm and down to earth. An inspiration for all travellers. Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by M. M. Jackson
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