Tori's Reviews > Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon by James Hilton
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Oct 31, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: book-club-books, classics, fiction
Read from October 22 to 31, 2011

Wow - what a book! I can't believe I never had to read this in school. This was one of those few great books that has exceptional writing, good characters, and a timeless story. Although it was published in 1933, aside from some British historical references, it is a very current, thought-provoking story. I'm looking forward to discussing this at our book group. This is the story of Conway - who, along with three others, is "hijacked" to Shangri-La. Shangri-La is a place of moderation; but is it paradise or hell? This was one of those stories that prompts me to mention it in various conversations. The writing was wonderful - these are the quotes I noted to remember:

When Conway thinks about himself: "It was his fate in life to have his equanimity always mistaken for pluck, whereas it was actually something much more dispassionate and much less virile."

Chang, his "guide" tells him: "...the application of a little courtesy all round helps to smooth out these problems."

Chang then adds: "...we believe that to govern perfectly it is necessary to avoid governing too much."

When Barnard - a fugitive - is questioned about his financial crimes, he replies that his "investors" "all wanted something for nothing and hadn't the brains to get it for themselves." Wall Street?????

when talking with Chang, Conway wonders if life actually has any point and confesses: "I've sometimes doubted whether life itself has any; and if not, long life must be even more pointless."

Conway did a lot of thinking in Shangri-La and "Sometimes he wondered which of his two lives were the more real, but the problem was not pressing; and again he was reminded of the War, for during heavy bombardments he had had the same comforting sensation that he had many lives, only one of which could be claimed by death."

Would I want to live in a place like Shangri-La, where I could do the things I'd like to do - and more - with no limits on time, no arguments........in some ways it kind of sounds like a drug-induced stupor............ and as idyllic as living in a cabin away from the hustle and bustle of real life sometimes sounds tempting - I do wonder if I could really be happy escaping from the world. Maybe the world needs me.....
I even enjoyed the ending of this book, and thought the author tied everything together quite nicely. What an enjoyable, thoughtful read!!!!!
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