John's Reviews > The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise

The Heart of the World by Ian Baker
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's review
Apr 19, 2010

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Read in April, 2010

My favorite literary genre! Spiritual-autobiography-adventure-travelogue. The kind of book I buy and treasure. My illusory and high expectations, thus and of course, a bit disappointed. Baker is a practicing Buddhist, knows the languages and cultures and is a great student of Tibetan religion and tantric lore. But he also comes across as a bit of swashbuckler, Indiana Jones type. He is obviously captivated by the more exotic and exoteric side of Tibetan tantra, emphasizing the visionary "wisdom" side of things a bit too much over the more empathic, compassionate element. He's a good travel and landscape writer though, and a great plus of the book is the array of photos, thankas, and maps throughout and the extensive endnotes. Unnecessary and sometimes seemingly unconscious repetition throughout though, and add-on quotes from whoever (Blake, Henry Miller, etc.) distract from rather than embellish or deepen the main narrative and journey. Much like the secret key behind the Hidden Falls of Pemako I guess, I'll continue my endless journey for the perfect, beautiful spiritual travelogue! So far, The Snow Leopard is still my favorite treasure.
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