To Samarkand

Overview

The Lost Heart of Asia is Colin Thubron's long-awaited travel book on the countries of Central Asia that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. This remote and fascinating region contains the magical cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and terrain as diverse as the Kazakh steppes, the Karakum desert and the Pamir mountains. As in his classic work on China, Behind the Wall, Colin Thubron portrays - with rare beauty and distinction - a world on the brink of change. Central Asia is an enormous land, bigger than...
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Overview

The Lost Heart of Asia is Colin Thubron's long-awaited travel book on the countries of Central Asia that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. This remote and fascinating region contains the magical cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and terrain as diverse as the Kazakh steppes, the Karakum desert and the Pamir mountains. As in his classic work on China, Behind the Wall, Colin Thubron portrays - with rare beauty and distinction - a world on the brink of change. Central Asia is an enormous land, bigger than Western Europe, secret, turned in on itself, heart of the great Mongol empire of Tamerlane, site of the legendary Silk Road and scene of Stalin's cruelest deportations. Colin Thubron traveled by train, bus, car and foot throughout its five republics, and this is the story of his encounters with their people, landscape and past. Central Asia has become crucially important with the arrival of its independence. So, behind the excitement of the journey, The Lost Heart of Asia is a search into the region's fragmented identity. Will it fall prey to the Moslem fundamentalism of its neighbor, Iran, or revert to communism, or move toward capitalism? Colin Thubron met every kind of inhabitant from Islamic students to workers, academics, artists and farmers, slept in their homes and listened to their thoughts. His book paints a rich, sympathetic and complex picture of a changing land. It is, above all, a seductive travel book - full of the sights, sounds and smells of this extraordinary heartland.
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Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
Thubron, a fine novelist as well as an accomplished travel writer, has developed exceptional skills of observation and dramatization. He absorbs every scene and conversation and then distills them into incisive commentary, poignant anecdotes, and remarkable metaphors. His last travel book, "Behind the Wall", chronicled his journey across China. Now Thubron ventures farther into the great continent of Asia, exploring its landlocked, remote, and "fearful heartland" in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As he travels by bus and train from one isolated and disconsolate central Asian city to another, he inhales an overwhelming atmosphere of hopelessness. Without the structure of Communism, life seems to be drifting into chaos and apathy. Communities lack jobs, money, and a sense of purpose. Although many Muslims are pleased to be able to practice their religion openly, they know that faith alone won't revitalize life in their neglected countries. As Thubron explores Turkenia, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, and Kazakhstan, visiting markets and mosques, he becomes attuned to a pervasive sense of displacement and vacuousness, of ethnic divides and distrust. In this land of conquerors and tyrants, times of peace and creative flowerings have been brief and infrequent. The future promises to be no different.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060182267
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288

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