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Turkestan Solo (Traveller's) Paperback – 1 Sep 1986
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Maillart is at her best describing the colorful bazaars, the desert, mountain or river landscapes, and talking about the people she meets on the trains or the trails. Though she does try to introduce a bit of information on history or culture, it is often sketchy or even garbled. Similarly, it seems that either she or the translator did not give accurately the distances between certain places. The border between diary and book is blurred occasionally, when the writing is abrupt and unclear, but most of the time, I enjoyed the narrative, the scenes from a part of the world that has changed greatly since the early `30s. Like inveterate traveller Dervla Murphy, Maillart seems to revel in hardships, delight in telling us how tough it was. Two years later, she travelled through Xinjiang (Chinese Turkestan) with a British adventurer. These travels inspired an American, Stuart Stevens, to attempt a repeat voyage in the 1980s,--he even visited the aging lady traveller in Switzerland---but neither the trip or the book came up to Maillart's.