The Lost Heart of Asia: Book summary and reviews of The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron

The Lost Heart of Asia

By Colin Thubron

The Lost Heart of Asia
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  • Published in USA  Jan 1994,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

A land of enormous proportions, countless secrets, and incredible history, Central Asia--the heart of the great Mongol empire of Tamerlane, site of the legendary Silk Route and scene of Stalin's cruelest deportations--is a remote and fascinating region. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of newly independent republics, Central Asia--containing the magical cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and terrain as diverse as the Kazakh steppes, the Karakum desert, and the Pamir mountains--has been in a constant state of transition. The Lost Heart of Asia takes readers into the very heart of this little visited, yet increasingly important region, delivering a rare and moving portrayal of a world in the midst of change.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Thubron has a gift for describing the ambiances of unfamiliar villages and cities, but his self-conscious literary style sometimes distracts from the instructive content." - Publishers Weekly.

"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." - Booklist.

"Shimmering dispatches from the far, far reaches of the geographical imagination, from the captivating, highly polished hand of Thubron." - Kirkus Reviews.

"One of the most masterful and compelling travel books I have read in along time. Thubron ... is at once astonishingly learned and astonishingly soulful, keenly attuned to the glories and the contradictions, the dreams and the despairs of past and present." - The San Francisco Examiner.

"Interweaving the history of the area with conversations he has along the way, Mr. Thubron gives a strong overall impression of the ... pervasive unfocused homesickness of the new republics ... [and] tracks down key leftovers from Central Asia's colorful past." - New York Times Book Review.

"Reading Thubron is the next best thing to being there.... His description is as rich with color and detail as the ochre, carnelian and peacock carpets in the mosques. He makes history burn with life." - Newsday.

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Author Information

Colin Thubron Author Biography

Photo: Page Bertelsen Photography

Award-winning travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron was born in London on 14 June 1939. Educated at Eton College, he worked briefly for the publishers Hutchinson, and as a freelance television film-maker in Turkey, Japan and Morocco. His first three books were about the Middle East: Mirror to Damascus, was published in 1967 and is still considered one of the best books on the Syrian capital; The Hills of Adonis: A Quest in Lebanon (1968) and Jerusalem (1969).

Among the Russians (1983) describes a journey he made by car through western Russia during the Brezhnev era. Behind the Wall: A Journey through China (1987) won both the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. The Lost Heart of Asia (1994) narrates his travels through the newly-independent central Asian ...

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