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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,360 Ratings  ·  253 Reviews
"An utterly charming and engaging travel book that offers vivid portraits of unusual corners of Asia, told by a skilled raconteur whose eyes were open wide." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for an entire year, Tiziano Terzani--a vastly experienced Asia correspondent--took what he called "the first step into an unknown
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Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 23rd 2002 by Broadway Books (first published 1995)
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Brian
Feb 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 ☔
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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Gattalucy
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Che dire su Terzani? Grande giornalista, grande reporter, grande scrittore, forse anche grande padre... ma ogni volta mi sento qualcosa che mi va di traverso...
Insomma: con le sue idee appassionate sulla cultura ( e l'ideologia) cinese... e i figli a spupazzarsi la scuola cinese vera, tremenda dal punto di vista pedagogico...!!
Lui a realizzare l'ultimo scoop rischioso, o l'ultimo tiro in una fumeria d'oppio di Macao...e sua moglie a tirare avanti da sola con i figli in attesa del grand'uomo...
Se
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Mike S
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Elisabetta
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life, lovely
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
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
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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.
Sandra
Sep 02, 2012 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".
May
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked 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
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Andrea Bovino
Mar 11, 2014 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
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Matteo
Jan 22, 2016 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
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Dolceluna
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Devo premettere che, forse per mancanza di interesse o semplicemente di occasioni di studio e di approfondimento, la mia conoscenza riguardo la cultura orientale in generale è sempre stata piuttosto scarsa. Questo libro è stato per me una miniera di preziosa conoscenza. Tiziano Terzani nel 1976 si trova ad Honk Kong, dove interroga un indovino cinese il quale lo avverte di non prendere assolutamente aerei nel 1993: incuriosito seppur scettico decide di dargli retta (e farà bene, poichè, coincide ...more
Il cassetto dei libri
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-viaggio
"Il senso del viaggiare è nella strada che si fa e non nella meta cui si arriva"..

Molto bello. L'essenza del Viaggio con la V maiuscola.Talvolta un po' lento, ma questa è proprio la bellezza del libro: niente aerei, niente frenesia, la ricerca di quell'anima orientale nascosta nella culla dell'Asia ormai travolta dallo stile di vita occidentale. E la ricerca di se stessi.
Per dirla con una canzone del gruppo Rein:
"..un viaggio non è mai spostarsi
ma è un atto d'amore
tra te e la terra che incontri
...more
Vanita
Nov 06, 2014 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
Caroline
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Bronwyn
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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Amy Hannon
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  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 rated it really liked it
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
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Jane Routley
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, travel
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
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Sharman Egan
Sep 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
jeano
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
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Alessandro. S
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't share many of Terzani's ideas (the book leitmoitiv is how things were better when everybody (else) was much poorer).
Even if these are the premises, the book is quite interesting as he's a good and curious journalist that travelled extensively, at the end of the year travelling until Europe by train and else (but it won't talk much about this part).
The book is about his experience of one year (1993) spent travelling through Asia without taking planes. His style is pleasurable and easy to
...more
Jon
May 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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".
Mrs
May 17, 2012 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?
Maria Cerase
Un'interessante collezione di annedoti ed avventure, ma come purtroppo spesso accade con Terzani c'e' una ripetizione di concetti e idee che alla lunga non sorprendono piu il lettore. Resta comunque un ottimo libro per porsi delle domande sul fato, la veggenza e l'importanza del proteggere certe tradizioni che altrimenti andrebbero perdute.
Mónica Leirião
Jun 01, 2014 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!
Claudia
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
The greatest book of Terzani's travel book series!
Andrea
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Prospero
Nov 14, 2010 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.
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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
“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.” 30 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!” 4 likes
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