Himalaya: A Literary Homage to Adventure, Meditation, and Life on the Roof of the World

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The Himalayas have ignited human imagination before recorded history and continue to do so today. They have figured in mythology, religion, adventure, art, natural sciences, philosophy, and other areas of human endeavor. Their majestic peaks, serene landscape, harsh conditions, and impenetrable planes have tantalized humans for millennia. This book is an anthology of essays (some are extracts) written by those who have lived or traveled through the Himalayas. As such, each essay describes the Himalayas through its unique perspective. Some essays are inspiring and uplifting, while others capture the daily life of peoples who call this mountain range home. It seems that the only unifying theme of this eclectic collection of essays is the eponymous mountain range.

The thirty-two essays are divided (roughly equally) into three sections. The first section (titled Adventurers) is filled with accounts of espionage, mountaineering expeditions, perilous journeys, natural disasters, and the difficulty of traversing such a dangerous terrain. The second section (titled Meditations) focuses on the aspect of the Himalayas that draws people to seek peace, salvation, solace, or soulfulness. These essays express how the Himalayas have caused people to change. The third section (titled Life) describes the tough life of those who live on the Himalayas’ steep barren and perilous slopes. As anthologies go, this one offers readers a glimpse of the types of literature that exist about the Himalayas. Not all essays will resonate with readers, but that is true for all anthologies.

This book seems to be a reprint of an earlier work published by Speaker Tiger in 2016 titled Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations, Life. However, when comparing the table of contents, the earlier edition had more essays in each section. The lack of maps and even pictures or sketches made some essays difficult to follow and detracted from appreciating the herculean effort put forth to survive in such a harsh landscape. As the pace of the essays varies, they need to be savored – one tale at a time with time for reflection between essays. Overall, a wonderful glimpse into the legends, lore, and everyday life of the Himalayas.

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Ruskin Bond, Editor • Namita Gokhale, Editor
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Shambhala
Publish Date 2018-Jun-05
ISBN 9781611805901
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Travel
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