Jim's Reviews > Shadow of the Silk Road
Shadow of the Silk Road
by Colin Thubron
by Colin Thubron
It would be a waste of time to recreate the reviews already posted here, all glowing and full of accolades, many deserved, though I was less enchanted with the book overall than some readers. I thought it was a solid and interesting piece, recounting some of his earlier travels, but I was not blown away. I enjoyed some of the historical information, especially tidbits such as that remnants of a Roman legion settled in China, but his focus seemed to consistently zero in on the crumbling world he seemed attracted to. Did anyone think it was repetitive, and frankly boring, in stretches (possibly reflecting the actual trip)? He has a love for certain words (beetling, for instance), and one almost got the feeling that he took notes home and then spent hours applying heavily painted hand-crafted tiles to the structure of his story, like one of the innumerable mosques and tombs he passed by. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book, but I did feel a bit worn out. I thought he did a good job describing attitudes of the people he met, especially anti-Chinese sentiments and the narrow mindedness of many people he came across (probably the same could be said if one were to travel by foot through some parts of America). Although he chose not to take a camera, a few pictures would have been nice. In only a few places did I feel he felt any real connection or empathy with the people. Where is the joy of travel, man! Just kidding, but he did seem a bit crusty to me. And I don't just mean the layers of desert than undoubtedly weighed him down in the end.
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