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A Fortune Teller Told Me
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A Fortune Teller Told Me

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,596 Ratings  ·  211 Reviews
It was 1976 when Tiziano Terzani was warned by the fortuneteller in Hong Kong: "Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn't fly that year. Don't fly, not even once." Sixteen years later, Terzani had not forgotten. Despite living the life of a jet-hopping journalist, he decided that, after a lifetime of sensible decisions, he would confront the prophecy the A ...more
Published August 18th 1997 by HarperCollins (first published 1995)
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Jun 27, 2013 Brian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane S ☔
Mar 04, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A while back I read a book, that made a huge impression on me, it highlighted the native American culture and how so much of it is disappearing. This book in many ways resembles that one, though the location is very different, a look at the disappearing Asian primitive landscape, it being overtaken and changes through progress.

This is also, a book that I had never heard of nor probably picked up if it wasn't a recommendation pick from a group I am in. It covers so much ground, different beliefs
Mike S
Feb 12, 2009 Mike S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: metaphysics
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
May 12, 2010 Elisabetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lovely, life
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
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
Maria Beltrami
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.
Jan 26, 2015 Vanita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avessa a ciências ocultas e do obscurantismo, como poderia eu deitar mãos a um livro que envereda pela procura do melhor visionário de futuro numa viagem pela Ásia? A culpa é da minha amiga J., que me alertou para este livro do jornalista italiano Tiziano Terzani, que viveu grande parte da sua vida entre a China e a Índia e que ficou um ano sem viajar de avião por causa disso mesmo... de um adivinho, que lhe disse, 16 anos antes, que poderia morrer se andasse de avião durante o ano 1983! Esta é ...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
Tiziano Terzani qui incontra un indovino che gli fa una tragica previsione: se prenderà un aereo entro i prossimi anni, morirà! Allora Tiziano, più per ironia che perchè credeva che la previsione si avverasse, viaggerà per tutto l'anno in giro per il mondo, senza mai salire in un aereo... Divertente racconto dei suoi viaggi, mettendo al centro gli uomini e altre culture. Bello!
Feb 15, 2015 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letto. Devo dire la verità, non mi è piaciuto molto, è un pò pesante. Bello è il farci conoscere la mentalità orientale, che si può riassumere in questo pensiero:"Il saggio sa che la vita non è che una fiammella scossa da un vento violento".
Sep 04, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
As a premise for a travelogue, it's certainly an interesting one: warned by a Hong Kong fortune teller not to fly during 1993 or he will die, on a whim an Italian journalist decides to take the hint and forgo flying for an entire year. Obviously as Asian correspondent for a German magazine this presents certain problems - how can one ensure one can make it to the right place at the right time, when travelling there can take days or even weeks instead of hours, assuming that it is even possible t ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Bronwyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Amy Hannon
Jun 27, 2008 Amy Hannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Al Deg
Mar 19, 2016 Al Deg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo libro mi lascia con sensazioni contrastanti. Mi è piaciuto molto nelle parti di narrazione dei fatti, dei luoghi e delle persone - straordinario il pezzo su Singapore -, molto molto poco nelle filippiche sui mali del mondo moderno e nella nostalgia di un buon vecchio continente asiatico perduto, con la spiritualità da cartolina dei bonzi vestiti di arancione e con le manine giunte. Sarà che gli studi asiatici sono stati a lungo il mio pane quotidiano, sarà che mi è evidente che Terzani fo ...more
Allison Jane Smith
Aug 25, 2013 Allison Jane Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jane Routley
Mar 22, 2014 Jane Routley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, biography
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
Sharman Egan
Sep 25, 2014 Sharman Egan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was nothing more a continual diatribe against the negative effects of development in Asia. Heavy on exposition/editorial, light on narrative and scene. I think it could have been effective as an essay or editorial but a 365 page rant? In fairness, there was some reference in the book jacket copy to the anti-materialism message but I was not prepared for such a negative and one-sided book (surely there have been some positive effects of development like rising standards of living?). And also ...more
Jul 18, 2007 jeano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrea Bovino
Mar 11, 2014 Andrea Bovino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2016 Matteo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un bellissimo libro, pieno di "umanità". Non umanità inteso come amore e comprensione dell'autore verso qualche personaggio, ma "umanità" come complesso delle cose che nel bene o nel male rendono uomo la scimmia che siamo.
Terzani scrive benissimo e viaggia altrettanto bene, porta il lettore con sé in giro per l'Asia e presenta in modo onesto tutto ciò che incontra.
Una lettura che apre gli occhi sulla direzione che il mondo ha preso e un importante documento per ricordare ciò che sta andando pe
May 07, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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".
Jun 12, 2013 Mrs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
Mónica Leirião
Aug 02, 2014 Mónica Leirião rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Viajar só faz sentido se regressarmos com qualquer resposta na bagagem"
Tiziano, obrigada pelas quase 600 páginas de viagem!
Apr 01, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 14, 2010 Prospero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 28, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2008 Hilariapdx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 13, 2012 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The greatest book of Terzani's travel book series!
Feb 25, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1976, a year after the fall of Saigon, Terzari, the late an Italian journalist who lived much of his adult life in Asia, was told by a fortune-teller that he should not fly during the year 1993. Although he didn't believe in fortune-telling, the specific warning stayed with him and as 1993 began to draw near, he decided to spend the year traveling on the ground. This book tells of his journeys that year as well as bringing to life the richness and the challenges of Asia as the 20th century d ...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
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Tiziano Terzani was an Italian journalist and writer, best known for his extensive knowledge of 20th century East Asia and for being one of the very few western reporters to witness both the fall of Saigon to the hands of the Vietcong and the fall of Phnom Pehn at the hands of the Khmer rouge in the mid-1970s.
More about Tiziano Terzani...

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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.” 27 likes
“Per i prossimo dieci anni la tua vita sarà orribile, avrai grandi problemi e niente ti andrà bene", dice l'indovino. "E poi?", chiede ansioso il cliente. "Poi? Poi ci farai l'abitudine!” 3 likes
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