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The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939
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The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939

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3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  73 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Once again Ella Maillart is on her way to Asia, but she is not alone. Christina, (real name Annemarie Schwarzenbach) a friend of Klaus and Erika Mann, accompanies her. She possesses exceptional charm and talent but she is a drug addict. Two courageous women, both highly original, find themselves in a difficult situation. An 18 hp Ford car takes the experienced travellers ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 10th 2013 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1947)
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BrokenTune
Jan 18, 2015 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This a combined review of All the Roads Are Open: The Afghan Journey and The Cruel Way: Switzerland to Afghanistan in a Ford, 1939. Quotes are taken from The Cruel Way.

"The gist of our dialogue had been that if she was mad I was mad too: I was unwilling to let myself be strangled by that prudent life that everybody advocated. I also was convinced that— whether we succeed or not— it is our job to search for the significance of life."

The Cruel Way and Alle Wege Sind Offen (published in English as
...more
Bettie☯
Jul 12, 2015 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: BrokenTune
Description: Once again Ella Maillart is on her way to Asia, but she is not alone. Christina, (real name Annemarie Schwarzenbach) a friend of Klaus and Erika Mann, accompanies her. She possesses exceptional charm and talent but she is a drug addict. Two courageous women, both highly original, find themselves in a difficult situation. An 18 hp Ford car takes the experienced travellers towards Afghanistan, via Istanbul, Trebizond, Tehran and Herat. They face checkpoints, poor roads, petty official ...more
Martha
May 30, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it
How have I never heard of Maillart? (Look her up. Her life is astounding.) I just happened on this title, I suppose, from a list of travel books and what a wonderful happenstance. Two especially interesting, accomplished women set out on a journey of recovery and discovery. It is travelogue and philosophical musing - a rich road trip from Geneva to Kabul on the Eve of WWII.
Vivian
May 29, 2014 Vivian rated it really liked it
Amazing travelogue. It's difficult to imagine why this book has remained pretty undiscovered and unheard of in travel literature. (Perhaps because both travelers were women?) This book is filled with wonderful, lyrical descriptions of a country that has changed so much in the Western imagination over the past century; Afghanistan and Iran are so associated with war and conflict in the American mind now that Maillart's perspective reminds us of the beauty and the long, complex histories of these ...more
Matt Brant
Maillart was well-known for her Forbidden Journey, a clear-cut account of a seven-month trek across Central Asia in 1934 (with Peter Fleming, older smarter brother of Ian). This story of a 1939 trip between Herat and Kabul is more complicated. It includes material concerned with her personal relationship with her travelling companion Christina, who was having problems with an addiction to morphine. Maillart's descriptions and observations are intelligent and well-written, blending smoothly with ...more
Denise
Sep 10, 2016 Denise added it
FAVORITE EXCERPTS

"In my greatest moments, in danger, in love, I remain a spectator of myself. I shall never suffer so intensely, then, as Christina suffers: I cannot become entangled in the show I am witnessing."

"And what fools we are to let the projections of our own mind shape a vale of tears! I could prove it to Christian: the beauty of a wall, the joy of a symphony can, most probably, not be felt by my milk-boy. Beauty, pain, joy, are not intrinsic to a thing, an event, they are nowhere but
...more
Patricia
May 01, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, persia-iran
Maillart tells the story of a journey in search of a meaningful alternative to the craziness of Europe on the verge of war and in search of healing for a friend who is addicted not only to drugs but to her own pain. Her honest, earnest story cleanses the soul.
Esther
Deux femmes qui prennent une Ford en 1939 et quittent l’Europe plutôt spontanément afin de se rendre en Afghanistan. Elles sont en route plusieurs semaines voire mois et traversent entre autres la Turquie et l’Iran. Rien que cela, en 1939, mérite du respect.

Le report de leur voyage est partagé entre la description des paysages et des rencontres, les souvenirs d’Ella Maillart, qui auparavant avait entrepris des voyages beaucoup plus aventureux que celui-ci, et la relation entre ces deux femmes t
...more
Nicole
Nov 12, 2015 Nicole rated it really liked it
A highly interesting account of, as the title suggests, two Swiss women's travels through parts of Europe, Iran and Afghanistan. This book is a travelogue, memoir, historical account and mediation on friendship.

Along the way, there are lots of little historical stories (almost all of which I did not know about prior to reading this book so I spent a LOT of time as I was reading Googling names and people to get more information about them).

Maillart writes some very evocative sentences. I have ne
...more
Sarah
This took ages to read! Anytime I picked it up, I got sidetracked trying to look up locations on Google Maps (GeoNames came in handy, although Maillart is unique in some of her spellings) and researching the towers, shrines, and tombs they visited.

(For example, they saw the Gonbad-e Qabus and now-destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan.)

The writing style is a little dated and my eyes glazed over at times --- lots of lists of kings and conquerors. I liked reading about the people they encountered, especia
...more
Géraldine
Jan 29, 2011 Géraldine marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recits, suisse, 2011
Qui lit lentement lit surement.. Mais prise par d'autres choses pour lire vraiment bien ces derniers temps :( Sinon ça débute pas trop mal.
_____________________________

Retour pal le 29/01/11.. Décidément je n'accroche pas !
Jamie
May 06, 2016 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Fascinating read. What stood out most to me was the constant reminders of war that come up throughout Maillart's journey. As they leave Europe behind, war and opinions about Germany are encountered all along the road and this along with Christina's addiction shadow Maillart's observations.
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Elisabete
«A via cruel»
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382971
Ella Maillart (or Ella K. Maillart, or Kini Maillart) (February 20, 1903, Geneva - March 27, 1997, Chandolin) was a French-speaking Swiss adventurer and travel writer, as well as a sportswoman. She had been captain of the Swiss Women's ice hockey team and was an international skier. She also competed in the 1924 Summer Olympics as sailor in the Olympic monotype competition

From the 1930s onwards sh
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More about Ella Maillart...

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