Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,728,043 articles and books

The Lost Heart of Asia.



There are travellers who write and writers who travel. Between them Lies a river of reality. Colin Thubron belongs to the second class. He is no Thessiger or Post. He has an excellent mixture as before which teases out into gobbets of history and chats with the natives, heavily larded with epithet ep·i·thet  
n.
1.
a. A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as rosy-fingered in rosy-fingered dawn or the Great in Catherine the Great.

b.
 and adjective of which he has a large and original variety; and uses deftly. But like an over rich cake, scintillation scintillation /scin·til·la·tion/ (sin?ti-la´shun)
1. an emission of sparks.

2. a subjective visual sensation, as of seeing sparks.

3.
 can sicken and so die like gorgeous palaces of the 'Tempest'. There is a certain egoism egoism (ē`gōĭzəm), in ethics, the doctrine that the ends and motives of human conduct are, or should be, the good of the individual agent. It is opposed to altruism, which holds the criterion of morality to be the welfare of others.  which informs us that his first book was written in a monastery; the second in a brothel. For travel books he needs the conscious eccentricity of Holland Park, within reach of libraries.

This creates the unworthy thought that a first class journalist might have created this book without stirring. There is plenty of material for Thubron's fascinating excursions round the Asiatic Muslim States of the ex-Soviet Union and even more down the great Sea River Oxus, where was enacted the tragedy of Sohrab and Rustem, and where Alexander nearly lost his army to thirst in 329 BC.

Thubron evokes vividly the vast shapelessness shape·less  
adj.
1. Lacking a definite shape.

2. Lacking symmetrical or attractive form; not shapely.



shape
 of an area where emperors rose like whirling storms riding west until the impetus failed, from Genghis Khan to Tamurlane.

For two thousand years, in Thubron's picturesque prose, Central Asia was a womb of terror where implacable queues of barbarian races impelled im·pel  
tr.v. im·pelled, im·pel·ling, im·pels
1. To urge to action through moral pressure; drive: I was impelled by events to take a stand.

2. To drive forward; propel.
 one another into history, and empires reaching from Vienna to China; where Iranian and Turk fought in age-long enmity. Tamurlane, a kind of Asiatic Arthur, was the last of these world predators, born in 1336 near Samarkand, his capital.

No travel hook is complete without Samarkand, city of golden imagination on the edge of myth and geography. A true product of the Music Makers, 'with wonderful deathless ditties we build up the world's great cities'. For no city has been so lauded by people who never saw it. Thubron's bus made landfall land·fall  
n.
1. The act or an instance of sighting or reaching land after a voyage or flight.

2. The land sighted or reached after a voyage or flight.
 at a nondescript non·de·script  
adj.
Lacking distinctive qualities; having no individual character or form: "This expression gave temporary meaning to a set of features otherwise nondescript" 
 depot near a monolithic statue of Lenin but only the great mosque of Tamurlane still spoke of past glory.

Today, the lost heart of Asia is being transformed into ECO E·co   , Umberto Born 1932.

Italian writer best known for his novels, including The Name of the Rose (1981). He has also written extensively on semiotics and British and American popular culture.
, a ten-member Economic Cooperaton Organisation with a prosaic and prosperous future. But within it Turk and Iranian still face each other; the growl of a new Islamic empire can be heard and Colin Thubron is wise to draw no conclusions. Only that it was late and dark, and not his country.

MOLLY MORTIMER
COPYRIGHT 1995 Contemporary Review Company Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Mortimer, Molly
Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1995
Words:412
Previous Article:Clara Barton: In the Service of Humanity.
Next Article:'Great' Serbia.
Topics:



Related Articles
LOG ON, EAT UP & LOSE WEIGHT.
FOOTBALL: CASH OFFER HEART ACHE.
UNICEF. 2001. A Reference Kit on Violence Against Women and Girls in South Asia.
Fancy pants; How to look as sexy as Kylie, Caprice and Elle.
Focus on health.
Professional pointers: postpartum advice.
SHARON SUFFERS SECONDL STROKE; Israeli PM fights for life.
India's overland trade with Central Asia and Persia during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Alcohol.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters