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To a Mountain in Tibet Hardcover – 3 Feb 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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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 (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short book of just under 220 pages, covering the author,s trek to and around Mount Kailas in Tibet. Kailas is sacred to over 20% of the world population and to trek around the mountain - it has never been climbed- provides merit to Buddhists and to Hindus. Full of information about these faiths, their rituals and sacred places, this is also a splendid piece of travel writing that allow the reader to feel as if they were there with the author.

Tibet comes over as a sad place, where the Buddhist faith is largely repressed, and where poverty, real grinding poverty is a way of life for so many. There is a happiness too in the people who Thubron means and the stoicism with which they face life's challenges.

This is a beautifully written tale of a very arduous journey, undertaken when the author was certainly no longer young. He seems to have found some peace in Tibet, and to have seen some remarkable sights.
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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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