Thursday, 18 June 2015

From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet - Vikram Seth

In one extraordinary travelogue, written back in 1981, famous Indian author Vikram Seth backpacks across China. And boy, is this tale marvelous. Seth knows the secret formula of what is needed and what is not. He does not bore us with excessive details yet, through a mixture of beauty, hardships, and humour he allows you to feel what he felt without being in China.

Although, the story is over thirty years old, at the time when Mao Tse Tsung died leaving his country in the hands of Deng Xiaoping (after a violent defeat of the Gang of Four), it does not feel irrelevant at all. He conveys the history, the people and the culture so subtly that you know everything before you realise that you do and that to through the eyes of an insider and not an outsider. At a time when there was so much restriction on foreigners, his journey across China is truly special in more ways than one.

Seth's 'From Heaven Lake' is a must-read for everyone whether or not you like the genre. He does what a successfully travelogue should do - he convinces you that you need to travel. He convinces you that what you are doing is insufficient and pointless. I promise you he makes you want to get up and go.

There it is for you, Vikram Seth's From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet!

Other Books:  A Suitable Boy, Beastly Tales (Poetry & Children's), Two Lives
Must-read (article): India Today with Vikram Seth