Top critical review
No ad for Tibetan tourism
on 1 June 2016
One thing that this book most definitely is not, is a strong advert for holidays in Tibet. Within in Alec Le Sueur describes what must have been a life-changing (in many ways) five years working at the Holiday Inn in Lhasa, Tibet. It certainly doesn’t sugar coat the experience and perhaps the fact that he now manages Law Firms rather working in the hotel industry is telling.
The book had a promising start – I laughed out loud within the first couple of chapters which is rare for me when reading, but there was definitely a dip after that. Much of the middle section was taken up with tales of privations, difficulties and challenges which, while described in a light hearted tone, didn’t always make for energising reading. The book then suddenly took another turn and the humour, pace and interest picked up significantly.
Certainly the author’s insights and observations on life in Tibet are fascinating and served to shame me thoroughly about my ignorance of the country and its recent and more distant history. I was also saddened to read about the destruction of many of the sites of natural and ancient beauty – something I knew little about. For this reason I’d certainly recommend the book for those who enjoy travel writing and snapshots into cultures very different from our own but would say that it’s perhaps not as uplifting a read as the cover and quotes would suggest.