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The Places in Between Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Oct 2006
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This is traveling at its hardest and travel-writing at its best (David Gilmour)
His encounters with Afghans are tragic, touching and terrifying (Daily Telegraph)
[Stewart] must have balls of steel, but he writes like and angel all the same (Giles Foden)
This evocative book feels like a long lost relic of the great age of exploration (Guardian)
An astonishing achievement: a unique journey of great courage (Colin Thubron)
Wise, funny and marvelously humane (Michael Ignatieff) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: A brilliant account of a death defying walk through Afghanistan --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The Places in Between gives insight without being invasive and the reader is treated with the same respect as those Stewart meets on his travels. The prose is crisp and clean as freshly fallen snow on a mountain pass, yet its subject lends the writing an air of lyricism and beauty. Never labouring a description or point, Stewart is as quick to move on in his telling of the story as he is from every host that welcomes him into their home, setting a determined but agreeable pace. There is a clear narrative with a goal in sight from the beginning, separating this book from so much travel-writing and giving all the plot satisfaction of a novel.
To those who enjoyed books such as Eric Newby's A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush and Jason Elliot's An Unexpected Light, I heartily commend this book - it is, although perhaps not really comparable, much better.
I look forward to reading Stewart's new book, Occupational Hazards, and hope that his new project, The Turquoise Mountain Foundation, inspires him to write further.
Thanks for the book. For it was indeed a journey of great spirit and determination. Mr. Stewart was well prepared for this trip with vitamins and various medications he knew would be necessary to successfully complete this challenge; ibuprofen, antibiotics, just name it and he had it; sharing with the villagers he met on his way when they saw what he had and begged him.
Well written, well told. I was truly impressed with how hospitable the people of Afghanistan were; those whom he encountered and offered him rest and meals and at times water to wash with, at their various humble abodes where he was invited to stay for the night. Even through they understood little English, Mr. Stewart was able to communicate to them by speaking Persian. I love reading about anything in the Eastern and Asian side of the world, so I was with him all the way. I felt like I was alongside him as he climbed those steep slopes and when he walked on the flat valleys. I drank tea with Mr. Stewart from glass cups, ate stale bread with him and soup, and enjoyed the rest at the end of the day, sleeping on a carpet or just on the floor.
The attention given to him was enormous as he persevered onwards. My main concern was just before he got to Kabul when he had to travel through the deep powdery snow which was known to cause frostbite, making it necessary to amputate limbs for some in the past. I held my breath as he and his dog companion Babur made it out of the snow covered mountains, and alas into another bright day. God bless you Rory Stewart. I will soon be starting Prince of the Marshes, which sounds like another winner; but to those of you out there looking for a Christmas gift or other, buy The Places In Between first, for you won't be disappointed. An excellent gift, especially for travellers!!!
Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 25/11/06)
So much for political prejudices... it's a brilliant read, with fresh writing and a sense of both empathy and sympathy for the Afghan regions through which he rambles - incredibly bravely facing up to questioning by members of the Taleban along the way, soon after 9/11.
With a stick, a grasp of local languages, stamina, a sense of curiosity and an admission that he's not really sure why he's doing it (which is the mystery of much travel), he sets off. His analysis of the tribes he meets and the juxtaposition of his own journey with that of Babur - the first emperor of Mughal India - brings depth to his antics, exploits and near misses: he is shot at once and dices with death on many occasions. Land mines by the side of the track... throat-cutters after his cash... white out snow storms on vertiginous peaks.
He is given a dog - whom he names Babur and who joins him (reminding me a little of Travels with a Donkey). This adds great colour and, often, comedy.
Stewart's simple but important point is well made: that most foreign policymakers haven't a clue what actually happens on the ground in the countries in which they interfere and seem to care even less for local culture than did 19th century colonialists. If only they'd bother to take a look around (but they're too 'important' for that).
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