The author was studying in China and finagled permission to travel home to India via Tibet. He comes across as curious, observant, and resourceful, and his account is well written, but somehow the book and trip were disappointing. I kept thinking it woul This fairly short account started me thinking about what makes a good travel book. I kept thinking it would make a better magazine article than a book. The crowd enjoys this.
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The poetic prose was very little. Still quite an enjoyable read for a super adventurous travelogue. Learnt a few things about the Chinese culture, and their strict documentation requirement.
Not sure if the strict guidelines are still in practice after a quarter century. If a picture could speak thousand words, then the cover speaks up for the beauty of the place. Would have been better had the inset photo plates were colored and glossy instead of black and white regular print.
This one has seeded the curiosity to read more travelogues around Tibet and explore more about Dalai Lama Feigning concern and goodwill, he recommended From Heaven Lake; however, I knew that his ulterior motive was to get me to renounce the obnoxious levels of planning I do before a trip, and adopt more of his laid back and serendipitous aka lazy style of travel.
Begrudgingly, I started reading the book. The book describes Seths two month trip from the desert in After having lost all faith in humanity by reading A Fine Balance, I asked my boyfriend to recommend a book that would restore that faith. Moreover, these ingredients are combined in perfect quantities, and what ensues is a travelogue that flows like a clear and unperturbed mountain stream.
To pull off this impressive travelogue, Seth must have been both an amazing traveler and an amazing writer. One gets a taste of his curiosity, sense of adventure, people skills, and his knowledge of history, politics, and economics from the book.
Alas, I had to settle for store-bought chamomile to quench the ensuing craving. The hand-drawn map on the book was immensely useful to the map-nerd that I am.
For the less traveled, I am certain that this book would spark your wanderlust and get you packing for your next trip. For more seasoned travelers, this book would force you ask yourself why you travel. Is it a means to accumulate more nostalgia for your own self indulgence?
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
For self-indulgence purposes, having the Chinese name of the places pencilled in next to their phonetically transliterated English names was especially satisfying. As a constant admirer of the Seth prose, I heartily recommend this quietly unassuming travelogue to all his fans. After studying in his native India he pursued postgraduate study in England and then California, before moving on to Nanking University in China in Having embarked on an officially sponsored tour of some of Western China Seth became obsessed with the possibility of visiting Tibet, and travelling from there to Nepal and then on home to India. Seth never quite resolves his doubts about China, and spends much of his journey comparing life there with conditions back in India. Most of his journey is spent in the cramped cabin of a large lorry, except when he is delayed by dreadful floods, or sinking into mud having deviated only slightly from the marked trail. From Heaven Lake was written while Seth was a research student at Stanford in the early s.
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet by Vikram Seth (Paperback, 1993)