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To a Mountain in Tibet Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 1st Edition edition (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701183799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701183790
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.1 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A distinguished travel writer and novelist, Colin Thubron was named by the Times as one of the fifty greatest post-war writers. His books include Among the Russians, Behind the Wall, In Siberia and the New York Times bestseller Shadow of the Silk Road. He has won many awards.

Product Description

Review

This transcendentally gifted writer is of course one of the two or three best living travel writers - in some ways probably the best (Jan Morris)

I would rather read Colin Thubron than any other travel writer alive on central Asia (John Simpson)

Book Description

The doyen of travel writing at his elegiac and luminous best

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Adrenalin Streams on 13 Mar 2011
Format: Hardcover
That Colin Thubron is a writer out of the top drawer is beyond dispute, but I do not think this is one of his best books. Always an author who deploys a rich descriptive vocabulary, in this book I feel Thubron overdoes it. The descriptive vocabulary is often so dense and the use of simile so frequent that, instead of helping me picture the landscape through which the author was trekking, I was often stopped in my tracks part way through a sentence trying to work out what he was saying, and finding myself floundering in a soup of colourful language and imagery. In the book "In Siberia", Thubron's intense descriptive palette is offset by a deep exploration of and insight into the character of people he encounters on his journey, including his own character. In this book the narrative lacks depth and I don't feel we really learn much about anyone beyond the superficial, and not enough to make me really care deeply about anyone. I found the book heavy going - meandering and without a clear sense of purpose, even though there are some allusions to Thubron seeing the journey as an opportunity to reflect on life following the death of the last member of his immediate family. It is only in the final couple of chapters, where the author and other travellers climb very high into the mountains to go over a pass of spiritual significance that the book comes focused and sparks into life.
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76 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Samogon on 1 Feb 2011
Format: Hardcover
Travel writer extraordinaire Colin Thubron is back. If you're familiar with his rich, mellifluous prose and empathetic exploration of non-western culture, religion and history, then this is a must-read piece of work.

To a Mountain in Tibet describes the author's journey as embarks on a pilgrimage to sacred Mount Kailas, encountering on his way a fascinating cross-section of Nepalese and Tibetan society.

Shorter than usual but movingly personal, profound and highly evocative, this is a book (like all of Thubron's) which deserves to be read again and again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SouthScot on 10 Oct 2011
Format: Hardcover
Another magnificent book from one of the very finest travel writers. It's a shorter book than usual for this author, about a journey he made round the sacred Mount Kailas to mark the passing of the last of his family apart from himself. Most of the usual aspects that mark Thubron's travel writing so distinctly are here - meticulous research into the history, religion and politics of the remote areas he visits, a razor sharp eye for detail, the air of reflective melancholy, and especially the lyrical prose he uses to clothe his thoughts and observations.

This time however something is added and something taken away. The addition is of moving thoughts on the death of loved ones that will strike a chord with many. As you might expect with this author these are understated, which gives them all the more power. The missing bit is the usual level of interactions with people he meets on his travels, gaining insights into their lives and circumstances. There are some in this book but they do seem less deep than usual. Some of this may be the circumstances of the walk - physical tiredness and oxygen depletion don't lend themselves to deep conversation, but I think it is likely to be because he has chosen to keep the focus more firmly on himself for once. My guess is that has not been easy for this writer, who is so used to keeping himself in the background. I had a real sense of almost doing the pilgrimage along with Thubron, so vivid were his descriptions, and was sad when it was over.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Kim on 6 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book has really lifted my spirits! I have not read Colin Thubron before and my purchasing this book was due to my personal interest in Tibetan Buddhism & Mandala's, Bon culture and also a long and ongoing desire to visit Lake Manasarovar at some point before I die.
I enjoyed the focus of the book being about the landscape and its references to Tibet's culture and beliefs and it has helped me realise that if I am to go, I should study even more beforehand so I can really SEE the symbolism surrounding Mount Kailas.
A previous reviewer didn't like the lack of human relationship in the book, but for me this was liberating - I often get put off going to a place when a travel book focuses on connecting with the locals - this doesn't really happen much for the passer by and when it does it is a deep shared moment often made lightweight when shared in the pages of such a spiritual landscape.
I think the journey in this book reflects well the understanding that all things are transient. I also felt the author seeing the amplification of beauty within landscape that one can only experience if or when one has lost a parent, sibling or partner. A beautiful inspiring book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Barnesdavid on 9 Feb 2011
Format: Hardcover
A superb book full of compassion,ideas and acute insights. He takes us through his narrative camera to places remote austere and beguiling .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Young on 11 May 2012
Format: Paperback
I rather like Colin Thubron. He can take a while to get going at times, but he had me gripped from the start with his latest book in which he treks into Tibet to join the faithful of four different religions on the pilgrimage to the sacred Mount Kailas. Although he never quite explains why he, a lapsed Anglican, opted to undertake this highly spiritual yet physically very arduous journey (there are autobiographical snippets woven into the text which offer some clues), what is clear is that he is in his element, combining his travelogue with asides about Nepalese and Tibetan society and descriptions of why this mountain his held sacred by so many people. Thubron has been described as one of the last of the gentleman-travellers - his educational background (Eton) and his obvious erudition are factors here, but there's much more to him than that. He's made his name by going to out-of-the-way places and providing the reader, who is frankly unlikely to visit such parts of the world, with vivid descriptions of the terrain and the people he meets. What's more fascinating with this particular adventure is that he did this trek, which is not for the faint-hearted as several fellow-walkers discovered, when he was seventy; there are people half his age who wouldn't have lasted five minutes.
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