A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East
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A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,530 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for a whole year, Tiziano Terzani — a vastly experienced Asia correspondent — took what he called “the first step into an unknown world. . . . It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years I have ever spent: I was marked for death, and instead I was reborn.”

Traveling by foot, boat, bus, car, and train, he vi...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 23rd 2002 by Broadway Books (first published 1995)
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The premise is wonderful. A skeptical journalist is warned by a Hong Kong fortune teller to avoid air travel for the year 1993, and decides to heed the warning partially as a personal challenge (considering the amount of travel that his job requires) and partially to playfully indulge the superstition. So he travels by land and sea through Asia (as I am doing) and as he ruminates on how much more rich and alive the world becomes when eschewing airplanes & -ports, he gets into the habit of re...more
Chiara Baroni
Reportage, diario di viaggio e autobiografia: Un indovino mi disse è un libro che difficilmente dimenticherete sullo scaffale. E leggerlo stimolerà il vostro apparato pensante, troppo spesso intorpidito da squallidi programmi televisivi che quotidianamente veicolano messaggi omologanti. Corrispondente dall'Asia del settimanale tedesco Der Spiegel, Tiziano Terzani viaggia per un'intero anno via mare e via terra, evitando di prendere l'aereo: un indovino cinese, infatti, lo aveva avvertito di non...more
This book is very well written. I really like the author, he has a very easy-going and readable style; he's articulate, intelligent, observant, and deeply reflective. Whether you are interested his adventures in Asian countries and his thoughts on their cultural developments and how the west has impacted them, or his metaphysical musings and some surprising personal experiences as he searches out mystics, psychics, and fortune tellers, this books is a pleasure to read because the author is able...more
Jenny Brown
This travel book uses the device of the author's avoiding air travel due to a fortuneteller's prophecy to give the author an excuse to do several travels by land, mostly in SE Asia but also on a train trip to Italy. The travel parts are mildly interesting, though since the book is quite old, only of historical interest.

Unfortunately, he carries out his fortuneteller theme by consulting a randomly chosen fortuneteller everywhere he goes which could have been interesting, had he taken the time to...more
Maria Grazia
Prima lettura 2010.
Libro celebratissimo, a cui si fa risalire la spiritualità di Terzani, è una ottima prova di giornalismo di viaggio, con molta autocelebrazione e una spiritualità secondo me un po' di accatto.
Verso la fine diventa anche stucchevole e noioso.
P.S. Non me ne vogliano i terzaniani convinti, forse semplicemente non è il mio genere.
I don't have much love for this book. First off, I think it oversells itself. The map at the beginning details a round-trip journey from Phnom Penh via Russia to Europe and back via boat to Singapore. However, this trip receives very little mention, except for a few pages on his time in Mongolia. I was really interested in hearing about such a fascinating voyage and disappointed that it received very little attention.

Second, the author readily admits that he is no intellectual, simply a man of g...more
Amy Hannon
I loved this book. It is the haunting story of a middle aged Italian journalist from Florence whose lifelong beat has been Asia. He has lived and worked there most of his life and watched it go through wars and "development." In 1976 a fortune teller in Hong Kong tells him that he will die in a plane crash in 1993 so he shouldn't fly that year. It's a long way off but years pass and when 1993 comes, now in his late 50's Tiziano Terzani decides he will organize his ongoing work so that he can go...more
Well this certainly started out promising enough. But oh, did it ever wear out its welcome.

The constant visits to fortune-tellers—while an obvious thread to have running throughout—drag because they're not given much context or significance.
"So I found this fortune teller who's the most respected in the area. I gave him or her some information—some right, some wrong. (S)he gave me some predictions—some right, some wrong. Should I be doing this? What merit does fortune-telling have? Let me rumina...more
Allison Jane Smith
An enlightening and entertaining look at Asia, the changes it is undergoing, and the superstitions that dictate much of life for many from Malaysia to Cambodia to China.

After being told by a fortune-teller that he risked death if he took a plane in 1993, Terzani spent the earth traveling throughout Asia by land, visiting a local fortuneteller in every place he stopped. The resulting book is a bit of a cross between a travel memoir, a reflection on spirituality and superstition, and an examinati...more
Jane Routley
Apparently this is a classic of new age travel fiction. I enjoyed it because it was a very different take on travel. He went to unusual places and interviewed fortune-tellers (and lots of other people) in each destination.But even now and then he'd really alienate me by saying classic new age tourist things about how nice it would be for the natives to remain as they are which is always pretty rich from someone who enjoys western plumbing and freedoms.
For instance when talking about the young wo...more
Jul 18, 2007 jeano rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: SE asia backpackers
this travelogue had me in its grips all thru my SE asia trip. then i got home and found out from a pretty-reliable-but-extremely-cynical source, who had personal contact with the author, that terzani may or may not be a pathological exaggerator and jerk in real life. so now i don't know what to make of it.

well extramoral confusion doesn't detract from the book's merits, per se. the snapshots of singapore, thailand, hong kong, malaysia, indonesia, china, vietnam, cambodia, burma, and mongolia ar...more
I read this book slowly at the beginning. Slowly like the travels Tiziano makes through Asia. When he decides to follow what a fortune telle told him years before in Hong Kong, maybe he couldn't imagine how travels can change when you decide not taking a plane for a whole year, and keep on working as a journalist in Asia. This is a lovely book. Tiziano was a real traveller, not a tourist at all. He describes the bad and good part of every country he visits, but he never complains like tourist so...more
I enjoyed this book. Not "a real page-turner!" but one of those books that is just plain enjoyable and provides food for thought.

It is a recounting of a year in the author's life in the 90's. He had seen a fortune teller in the 1970's that told him not to fly that year, so he didn't. In not flying, the author was reminded again that life is about the journey, and that history, tradition, and the intelligence of thousands of years live outside of western "progress".
se solo lo avessi letto prima della mia esperienza indonesiana...
ma cio' che mi colpisce di piu' e' che io nel '94 ero a Bangkok, avevo 24 anni e avevo gli stessi identici pensieri che aveva lui: forse ad occhi attenti e sensibili le varie popolazioni sanno parlare con voce forte, molto piu' forte che a quelli che partono con i viaggi organizzati?
Feb 23, 2012 Monica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Monica by: Salamandrine
A fantastic journey that makes 600 hundred pages go by like 60 and leaves you wishing for a few more chapters!

Have been re-reading some passages these days. Need to alter my rating, to do it justice.
This was a true pleasure to read as well as informative. I really honestly knew nothing about Burma when I read this years ago. But I really wanted to go there after I read it.
Un reportage intenso per scoprire i particolari di un sub continente ancora misterioso ed intrigante.
Una lettura riflessiva che cattura grazie ad uno stile sobrio che non stanca mai.
enjoyed this book as much for the descriptions of the places he visited as well as the adventures he encountered. I will have to read it again someday
It is a travel memoir, made me want to quit everything and travel. I did go see a fortune teller in Hong Kong because of this book.
Andrea Bovino
Un altro di quei libri che ti lasciano senza fiato. Leggere Terzani è meglio che comprare un guida per un viaggio. Esplorare insieme a questo fantastico autore i posti da lui visitati è tanto semplice quanto reale.
La sua capacità descrittiva si mescola a un fondo di saggezza che è parte del suo scrivere e del suo modo di vivere. Scenari orientali a noi lontani, su cui si poggiano lo jin e lo jang, la luce e il buio, l'acqua e il fuoco: un equilibrio su cui si regge la vita.
Ancora una volta, in...more
The greatest book of Terzani's travel book series!
Ferda Nihat Köksoy
Kitaptan Alıntılar ve Sentezler:
-NEW YORK'ta içilen kahve, Floransa'da içilenden farklıdır.

-Genç bir kadının tüm hayatını doldurup geldiği valiziyle, N.York'da savaştıktan sonra, 10-20 yıl içinde kimsesiz ve hüzünlü orta yaşta bir kadına dönüşmesi çok görülen bir gerçektir.

-USA'da yaptığı işten hoşnut olan, derisinin altında olmaktan gerçekten memnun halde yaşayan hiç kimseyi tanımadım; özgür ve her şeye hakkı olduğunu düşünen...more
This was a book about travel and superstition in Asia. Sadly, it was also a book about the author's journey of discovery. At his best, Terazani tells wonderful anecdotes about his dificulties traveling the world in a year without airplanes, and does an excellent job of describing the characters he meets and the landscapes he visits. At his worst, he takes the opportunity to beat us over the head with his amateur philosophy and "thought-provoking" questions.

Especially in the early going, Terazani...more
Non avevo mai letto niente di suo, e pur essendomi ripromessa di farlo la mia non era mai stata una risoluzione seria e concreta. Terzani sa come rapirti quando scrive: è come se ti prendesse per mano nei suoi viaggi e ti dicesse "vieni con me", ora ti mostro tutta una serie di posti che altrimenti, forse mai avresti visitato in vita tua. Nel 1976 un indovino cinese, incontrato casualmente ad Hong Kong, mise in guardia l'autore su una pericolosa maledizione che incombe sulla sua testa: nel 1993...more
Mindy McAdams
I saw someone reading this on a tent-camping trip in southern Africa in 2010, and I was hoping she would finish it before our trip ended so I could borrow it (and maybe keep it), but no such luck. Eventually I remembered to search for it, and when I finally picked it up to begin reading, I was really delighted. First, the author (now dead) was a journalist, so his style is direct and to the point. Second, he’s traveling around Asia for most of the book (with a significant outward trip to Italy,...more
Stuart Chambers
I found this book quite by chance in Heathrow airport and that in itself is apt. How good it would it be if we could all spend at least a year of our lives traveling only by land or sea? Forgive me for saying this but British ‘idiots’, like their American counterparts have sucked all joy out of air travel in their relentless pursuit of higher margins and lower fares and ‘secure’ airports, these days it’s all self-check-in and paying extortionate amounts for your excess baggage, it’s faceless, co...more
L'ossessione degli indovini
Finalmente finito! Questo libro è rimasto sul mio comodino per tutta l'estate, volutamente non inserito nella valigia. Terzani era indubbiamente un bravissimo giornalista, la sua scrittura è piacevole, e le descrizioni e le considerazioni sui vari paesi dell'Asia da lui visitati sono affascinanti e hanno il potere di far cogliere lo spirito del luogo. Allora, cos'è che non va? Che nell'anno trascorso senza prendere un aereo, per dare retta alla profezia di un indovino,...more
Tiziano Terzani's book is about his land journey across Asia through Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China and Mangolia and then his return back to Thailand. But this is not your usual travelogue. He searches out the soothsayers, fortune tellers, astrologers and other mindreaders in Asia and asks them to prophesize his life. It all starts with a fortune teller in Hong Kong telling him to avoid flying all through 1993 and he decides to follow the advice. His narrative flits between...more
In truth, this book made me wanted to visit laos and burma, the only two asean countries that my teva yet to set foot on. :)

Interesting quotes and extracts from the book:
"Life is full of opportunities. The problem is to recognise is them when they present themselves and it isnt't always easy."

"Travel is an art and one must practised it in a relaxed way, with passion, with love."

"Love the one you marry, not marry the one you love."

Love this short extract on Silence...and if you realise, the paren...more
Jun 13, 2011 May added it
Shelves: travel
A really fantastic book about a journey through Asia sans the use of an airplane. The reader really gets to see the world through Terzani's eyes. I enjoyed the montage of experiences, the poverty, the joy, the strength of belief, the greed that Terzani portrays.

Though many have attempted dispute of the so called "Asian Economic Miracle" Terzani may be one of the first to present a cogent human side to why things are perhaps not so perfect. He shows the loss in vivid color that has nothing to do...more
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“Every place is a goldmine. You have only to give yourself time, sit in a teahouse watching the passers-by, stand in a corner of the market, go for a haircut. You pick up a thread – a word, a meeting, a friend of a friend of someone you have just met – and soon the most insipid, most insignificant place becomes a mirror of the world, a window on life, a theatre of humanity.” 13 likes
“La mobilità sociale ha aperto a tutti la possibilità di aspirare a qualsiasi cosa, ma con ciò nessuno è più "predestinato" a nulla. È forse per questo che la gente è sempre più disorientata e incerta sul senso della propria vita.” 1 likes
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