Desert Places

( 2 )

Overview

In 1978 Robyn Davidson visited, quite by chance, a camel fair in Pushkar, Rajasthan. There she found herself amidst the pastoral nomads of north-west India, thousands of whom had congregated to buy and sell their animals. She was on her way to England to write her celebrated book, Tracks, about traversing the deserts of Australia through tribal Aboriginal land - a journey that left her obsessed with nomadism, a way of life that has been with us since our origins but was about to disappear. As soon as she saw the ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (54) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $14.50   
  • Used (50) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$14.50
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(72)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
NY 1996 Hardcover 1st Edition New in None Issued jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). No jacket issued as the ... covers are decorated. Read more Show Less

Ships from: South Portland, ME

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$18.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(72)

Condition: New
New Ships from the UK. BRAND NEW Your purchase also supports literacy charities. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a ... return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Dunfermline, United Kingdom

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$30.00
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(10)

Condition: New
1996 Hard cover New. No dust jacket as issued. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 288 p. Audience: General/trade. hardcover, with pictorial covers (as pictured) ... as new (sharp corners, bright spine titles), no dust jacket (as issued), clean unmarked pages, binding tight as new and unread (clean page edge)....Post Office Delivery Confirmation provided by e-mail to enable you to track your package. Book is shipped in a padded envelope and packaged in bubble wrap. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Cambridge, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$50.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(136)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In 1978 Robyn Davidson visited, quite by chance, a camel fair in Pushkar, Rajasthan. There she found herself amidst the pastoral nomads of north-west India, thousands of whom had congregated to buy and sell their animals. She was on her way to England to write her celebrated book, Tracks, about traversing the deserts of Australia through tribal Aboriginal land - a journey that left her obsessed with nomadism, a way of life that has been with us since our origins but was about to disappear. As soon as she saw the Rajasthani nomads, she wanted to accompany them on a year's migratory cycle through the Thar Desert. The wish took the form of an image - sand-dunes, sunsets, men in red turbans and women in pink muslin decorated with silver - a romantic ideal. A decade later she was given an opportunity to live out that wish. But it was to take years, and a series of false starts, before she was able to join a dang on migration. For the Rabari, who had always survived harsh conditions, life had become increasingly grim. The loss of grazing lands, new political boundaries, and the constant threat of thefts, murders and arrests meant that migration had become a treacherous business. She was determined to live as they lived, to 'enter the frame'. Which meant that she too slept among five thousand sheep, drank Guinea-worm-infested water, survived on goats' milk and roti. But it was not so much the physical discomforts which exhausted her as the isolation imposed by the lack of a common language. Yet solitude was denied her too and crowds gathered wherever she went. It became a journey of extremity and sickness and frightening rages. Sometimes the countryside was beguiling, sometimes brutalized, but always a place in which desperate people fought over few remaining resources. Any lingering romanticism concerning Indian rural life was destroyed. But a profound respect and affection for her hosts was forged. She could return to comfort and security; for the nomads, it was rea
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inspired by an enchanting encounter with camel herdsmen at a Hindu festival in Pushkar, travel writer Davidson (Tracks) took a magazine assignment to accompany the nomads of Rajasthan (a region in western India) on their yearly migration cycle. Arriving in Jodhpur on the eve of the Gulf war under the aegis of her friend Narendra, a prince who equips her with an entourage of servants and an obstreperous camel-keeper named Chutra, Davidson soon discovers that the ancient culture of the nomads (who are known either as Rabari or as Raika) is slowly being eradicated, faced with diminishing grazing lands, new political boundaries and the spread of subsidized agriculture and Western culture. This book, as breathtaking but circuitous as the adventures it chronicles, begins to gather steam when Davidson is finally accepted by a dang (a migratory group) and sets off to follow them across the desert. She spends a few months sharing the shepherds' life of extreme deprivation, traveling 30 miles a day on a diet of little more than fetid water and camel's milk, sleeping two hours a night and battling illness and exhaustion, before deciding to return to Jodhpur on foot-which proves an even more perilous journey that ends when her camels die after eating poisonous weeds. By the book's end, Davidson's romantic vision of the peripatetic life has given way to a bitter account of her own dashed expectations and of the exploitation of India's nomads. Although her understanding of nomadism as an emotional and geographical phenomenon remains only partly digested, this book will nevertheless prove absorbing to even the most sedentary of bookshelf-travelers. (Nov.)
Library Journal
The nomadic way of life is on the brink of extinction. In this work, Davidson, an author (Tracks, LJ 2/15/81) and Australian journalist who resides in England, vividly recounts her stay among the Rabari, sheep- and camel-herding nomads in northwestern India. Davidson ate, slept, and walked endless sunbaked miles with them. She does not remain clinically aloof from her traveling companions but tells of getting poked, prodded, taken advantage of, and laughed at. Neither cynic nor sentimentalist, she was at times disgusted with the earthy Rabari, whose behavior, she notes, was a baffling mixture of aggression and passivity. At other times she was deeply moved by their kindness and spiritual equanimity. Since her travels with the Rabari consisted of several fragmentary journeys rather than one long trip, her account lacks a certain sweep and sometimes seems repetitive. Nevertheless, her book is valuable for its detail and insight. Highly recommended for public libraries and anthropology and South Asian collections.-Mary C. Kalfatovic, Telesec Lib. Svc., Washington, D.C.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670840779
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/1996
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.17 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Memory is a capricious thing. The India I visited in 1978 consists of images of doubtful authenticity held together in a ground of forgetfulness. I don't know how or why I ended up in the medieval lanes of Pushkar, in Rajasthan, during one of the most important festivals of the Hindu calendar. But I'm almost sure I was the only European around.

The crowd was a deluge drowning individual will. It unmoored things from their meanings. Turbans and tinsel, cow horns lyre-shaped and painted blue, the fangs of a monkey, eyes thumbed with kohl looking into my own before bobbing under the torrent, a corner of something carved in stone, hands clutching a red veil, a dacoit playing an Arabian scale on his flute, his yards of moustache coiled in concentric circles on his cheeks -- all these elements sinking and reappearing, breaking and recombining, borne along by the will of the crowd in which a whirlpool was forming, sucking me to its centre.

A beggar was lying on his back. His legs were broken and folded, permanently, into his groin. He moved sideways along the lane, using the articulations of his spine, through garbage and faeces, drawing his flotsam along with him, rolling his eyes backwards in his head and muttering mantras, or perhaps nonsense. He wore a white dhoti and his body was whitened with ash. His turban was parrot green and I think I remember make-up on his face, though I may have painted it on afterwards. A parrot took coins from the tentacles of arms swirling above it and placed them in a bowl on its master's stomach. I breasted through the crowd, past the limbs of street sleepers jumbled in shadows, hindered by hands and imprecations, out at last to air.

You can walk for months in Australia without meeting a single human. Thousands of miles empty of footprints, unburdened by history's mistakes. Through an association with the original inhabitants I had learnt to see that wilderness as a garden -- man's primordial home before the plough. The tracks of the ancestors mapped it and gave it meaning so that however far an individual might travel from their place of origin, in the deepest possible sense he or she was forever at home in the world. In Aboriginal society everyone received a share of goods and the only hierarchy was one based on accumulated knowledge to which everyone could aspire. The Australian desert and the hunter-gatherers who translated it had so informed my spirit that the crowds of Pushkar were unnatural and frightening to me -- evidence that agriculture had been my species' greatest blunder.

Thousands of camels were tethered on hills surrounding the town. Nomads had come here from all over north India to buy and sell their animals. I climbed up to their encampments, away from the river of souls. When I reached the crest of the hill I turned to look back. A full moon had risen. The rumble of the crowd was muffled under a layer of pink dust. There was a sensation of suspension. All around me camels sat peacefully chewing the cud. Groups of men lounged back on the sand sharing chillums. A woman called me over to her fire. Her dress was a sunset of red, pinks and silver. When she moved, ornaments rattled. A veil was draped over a contraption in her hair so that it peaked like a pixie's hat. Had she pulled out a wand and offered me three wishes, I would not have found her more fantastic. She flung down a camel-hair mat, tugged me on to it and seemed to be asking if I would swap my necklace for her silver one. I tried to explain that hers would be more valuable than mine and, despite her entreaty to stay longer, wandered away.

But a wish was forming. It took the shape of an image. I was building a little cooking fire in the shelter of soft, pink dunes, far away from anything but a world of sand. It was twilight, the lyrical hour. The nomads were gathering beside me by the fire. There was fluency and lightness between us. We had walked a long way together. The image exalted the spirit with its spareness and its repose. My only excuse for having it is that I was young, and youth is vulnerable to Romantic sentiment.

I made some inquiries. The nomads were called Raika or Rabari and they herded camels and sometimes sheep. There was a folklorist in Jodhpur who knew everything about them and would be happy to answer my queries but was busy entertaining a French journalist that week. I had eight days left in India. French journalist notwithstanding, I had to try my luck.

From DESERT PLACES by Robyn Davidson. Copyright © Robyn Davidson, 1996. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)