19 September 2012

The Silken Thread

I've read many, many travel books about Central Asia and most of them are pretty similar.  Hardly anyone who is feeling successful and accomplished goes off to Kyrgyzstan to write a book about it, so you end up with a lot of people dithering about their past failures.  Hardly anyone reads much about Central Asia before going beyond The Lonely Planet, so you get a lot of LP-based info (sometimes down to exact phrases).  Sometimes they've read about various British explorers/military guys, so you hear about them. 

Then they talk a lot about getting around and gross stuff they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.  And there's a lot of standard history thrown in- usually very basic with some mistakes thrown in.  And there's plenty about the other tourists they meet and the people who run their hotels and guesthouses and their taxi drivers. 

This book was all that, although this one was probably a little better than many, at least in some ways.  But please, if you need to work through all your past relationships, don't go to Central Asia to write a book about it.  Or stick it in something besides the travel section.


  1. I recently read a book about India that surprised me because the author *didn't* talk about herself the whole time. Not one word did I hear about former boyfriends. It was such a relief!

  2. I've got that one on hold, Jean, thanks to your review.

  3. I had no idea I was supposed to go to Central Asia to work through past relationships. Boy am I clueless!

    Great review. I can't stand it when a travel book writer is more interested in writing about their issues and not the place they are traveling to.