Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon

3.9 55
by James Hilton

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In the last year and a half, James Hilton has been recognized by a few score of critics, by a few thousand discriminating American readers as one of the really important younger novelists. We believe that this new novel, Lost Horizon, is the finest thing Hilton has written. It has all the emotional, dramatic appeal of And Now Good-Bye, the rich imaginative…  See more details below


In the last year and a half, James Hilton has been recognized by a few score of critics, by a few thousand discriminating American readers as one of the really important younger novelists. We believe that this new novel, Lost Horizon, is the finest thing Hilton has written. It has all the emotional, dramatic appeal of And Now Good-Bye, the rich imaginative vision of Ill Wind, and the fulfullment of brilliant intellectual maturity promised in both these earlier books. Lost Horizon is being published simultaneously in England and America. The story is of such a character that it should not only definitely establish the author's reputation as a novelist, but add considerably to his already substantial group of followers.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Harper Perennial
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Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.63(d)

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Lost Horizon

By Hilton, James


ISBN: 0060594527

Chapter One

During that third week of May the situation in Baskul had become much worse and, on the 20th, Air Force machines arrived by arrangement from Peshawar to evacuate the white residents. These numbered about eighty, and most were safely transported across the mountains in troop-carriers. A few miscellaneous aircraft were also employed, among them being a cabin machine lent by the Maharajah of Chandapore. In this, about 10 A.M., four passengers embarked: Miss Roberta Brinklow, of the Eastern Mission; Henry D. Barnard, an American; Hugh Conway, H.M. Consul; and Captain Charles Mallinson, H.M. Vice-Consul.

These names are as they appeared later in Indian and British newspapers.

Conway was thirty-seven. He had been at Baskul for two years, in a job which now, in the light of events, could be regarded as a persistent backing oft he wrong horse. A stage of his life was finished; in a few weeks' time, or perhaps after a few months' leave in England, he would be sent somewhere else. Tokyo or Teheran, Manila or Muscat; people in his profession never knew what was coming. He had been ten years in the Consular Service, long enough to assess his own chances as shrewdly as he was apt to do those of others. He knew that the plums were not for him; but it was genuinely consoling, and not merely sour grapes, to reflect that he had no taste for plums. He preferred the less formal and more picturesque jobs that were on offer, and as these were often not good ones, it had doubtless seemed to others that he was playing his cards rather badly. Actually, he felt he had played them rather well; he had had a varied and moderately enjoyable decade.

He was tall, deeply bronzed, with brown short cropped hair and slate-blue eyes. He was inclined to look severe and brooding until he laughed, and then (but it happened not so very often) he looked boyish. There was a slight nervous twitch near the left eye which was usually noticeable when he worked too hard or drank too much, and as he had been packing and destroying documents throughout the whole of the day and night preceding the evacuation, the twitch was very conspicuous when he climbed into the aeroplane. He was tired out, and overwhelmingly glad that he had contrived to be sent in the maharajah's luxurious air liner instead of in one of the crowded troop-carriers. He spread himself indulgently in the basket seat as the plane soared aloft. He was the sort of man who, being used to major hardships, expected minor comforts by way of compensation. Cheerfully he might endure the rigors of the road to Samarkand, but from London to Paris he would spend his last tenner on the Golden Arrow.

It was after the flight had lasted more than an hour that Mallinson said he thought the pilot wasn't keeping a straight course. Mallinson sat immediately in front. He was a youngster in his middle twenties, pink-cheeked, intelligent without being intellectual, beset with public school limitations, but also with their excellences. Failure to pass an examination was the chief cause of his being sent to Baskul, where Conway had had six months of his company and had grown to like him.

But Conway did not want to make the effort that an aeroplane conversation demands. He opened his eyes drowsily and replied that whatever the course taken, the pilot presumably knew best.

Half an hour later, when weariness and the drone of the engine had lulled him nearly to sleep, Mallinson disturbed him again. "I say, Conway, I thought Fenner was piloting us?"

"Well, isn't he?"

"The chap turned his head just now and I'll swear it wasn't he."

"It's hard to tell, through that glass panel."

"I'd know Fenner's face anywhere."

"Well, then, it must be some one else. I don't see that it matters."

"But Fenner told me definitely that he was taking this machine."

"They must have changed their minds and given him one of the others."

"Well, who is this man, then?"

"My dear boy, how should I know? You don't suppose I've memorized the face of every flight-lieutenant in the Air Force, do you?"

"I know a good many of them, anyway, but I don't recognize this fellow."

"Then he must belong to the minority whom you don't know." Conway smiled and added: "When we arrive in Peshawar very soon you can make his acquaintance and ask him all about himself."

"At this rate we shan't get to Peshawar at all. The man's right off his course. And I'm not surprised, either -- flying so damned high he can't see where he is."

Conway was not bothering. He was used to air travel, and took things for granted. Besides, there was nothing particular he was eager to do when he got to Peshawar, and no one particular he was eager to see; so it was a matter of complete indifference to him whether the journey took four hours or six. He was unmarried; there would be no tender greetings on arrival. He had friends, and a few of them would probably take him to the club and stand him drinks; it was a pleasant prospect, but not one to sigh for in anticipation.

Nor did he sigh retrospectively, when he viewed the equally pleasant, but not wholly satisfying vista of the past decade. Changeable, fair intervals, becoming rather unsettled; it had been his own meteorological summary during that time, as well as the world's. He thought of Baskul, Pekin, Macao, and other places -- he had moved about pretty often. Remotest of all was Oxford, where he had had a couple of years of donhood after the War, lecturing on Oriental History, breathing dust in sunny libraries, cruising down the High on a push-bicycle. The vision attracted, but did not stir him; there was a sense in which he felt that he was still a part of all that he might have been ...


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Lost Horizon 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wars do strange things to those who fight them. The trenches of the First World War have left Conway, James Hilton's most memorable hero, feeling himself old long before his time. When he and three others being evacuated from the British consulate at Baskul find themselves kidnapped - flown to a Tibetan monastery, instead of to safety as they expected - he accepts the situation with an ease that infuriates his hero-worshipping young colleague, Mallinson. Conway takes easily to Shangri-La's life of isolated serenity. When he learns why he and his companions were brought to that remote and secret valley, he's not angry. Instead, he feels so oddly at home that only for love's sake will he leave.... I first read 'Lost Horizon' in Grade 8, and remembered it fondly enough to pick up a copy when it recently crossed my path again. I read everything else by James Hilton that I could find during the years between. Definitely, this book is a fine author's master work. Clear and beautiful prose, haunting themes, and - at the end - a twist that once you've read it seems inevitable. Like Shangri-La, this story is timeless.
HutchMI More than 1 year ago
No violence, explosions, sex, etc. Great to read a book now and then without the fluff. Just a down right good story. I learned about this book as a reference in a Clive Cussler book. I now want to see the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in my teens. Now at age 51, I found it to be a rich and thoughtful read. We would all do well to pause occasionally to think about our own definition of utopia (shangri la)...and also to consider what is real and what is illusion. Although set in the 1930's, it is remarkably undated.
JKtypist More than 1 year ago
This is a book that carries significant nostalgic ties for me, as it was one I read during my teenage years and really connected with. Rereading it now, I see a few flaws here and there, but the overall mystery and fantasy of Hilton's Tibetan dreamscape still draws you in and holds you all the way through. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An incredible book!!! It's not action packed, but it has great insight. Although I tend to be drawn to action/adventure this book really captivated me.
Sharibear More than 1 year ago
I am very happy with the books that Book Bub recommends through Barnes and Noble. Most of them have been very entertaining reads.
thinkingaboutit More than 1 year ago
Ahaa….so nice to read a book that is so thoughtful and unrushed. It captivates at a slow pace just like mysterious Shangri-La in the book. It’s also a pleasure to read words so well put together and a plot that tells too little instead of too much. It leaves you to work out the details and possibilities in your mind. I thought about this book for several days after finishing it which is a real complement as I generally move on to the next one in a matter of hours. Lost Horizon is a book for thoughtful adults that want more than just a good read. Both subtle and complex, I now look forward to reading all of James Hiltons books.
lovesbooksRF More than 1 year ago
"Lost Horizon" has all the elements! When it was REQUIRED READING in high school, I didn't think too much of it, but now that I'm older, it was really, really good. The descriptions were so detailed, the author transported me into Shangri-La.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, suspenseful, beautiful book -- not afraid to be idealistic AND clear-eyed. More complex than might appear at first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OliviaAL More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book. It would be an excellent book for book clubs to read. You will find yourself asking, "Would I want to live in a Shangri-La?" I will definitely look at the other books written by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had wondered for years what exactly was Shangri-La. Now I know. A great story that teeters on the edge of reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zcovekeepa More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie and was thrilled to find the book on Nook. It is so nice to learn new words found in a novel. And great to have a storyline that keeps you involved. If you want to read today's shallow fluff don't try this one. But if you want a classic story that will influence your life and cause you to set back and take a different look at your life read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A marvelous classic everyone should read.
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