Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road
Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." —Pico Iyer
A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dare...more
The end of the road was always just out of sight. Cracked asphalt deepened into night beyond the reach of our headlamps, the thin beams swallowed by the blackness that receded before us no matter how fast we biked. Light was a kind of pavement thrown down in front of our wheels, and the road went on and on. If you ever reach the end, I remember thinking, I’ll fly off the rim of the world. I pedaled harder.Some lights shine brighter. The sky is full of stars, all with their distinct glow, c ...more
Beyond avenging my childhood ideals of explorers, and figuring out how to be one myself, I wanted to bike the Silk Road as a practical extension of my thesis at Oxford: to study how borders make and break what is wild in the world, from mountain ranges to people's minds, and how science, or more specifically wilderness conservation, might bridge those divides. So there I was, rich in unemployable university degrees, poor in cash, with few possessions to my name beyond a tent, a bicycle, and s...more
You can't hep but admire the determination of Ms. Harris and her companion Mel to complete the bicycle journey along the Silk Road. This journey took over a year in conditions varying from freezing to scorching temperatures, and very little in the way of creature comforts along the way.
I really enjoyed her descriptions of the terrain, and the many of the historical references to the locations she travelled through, especially in the ...more
Packed with historical, geographic and scientific facts, literary references and philosophical wisdom, this book is an impressive debut and well deserving the recognition. Harris' passion, curiosity, and love for mountainous landscapes and vast spaces are contagious. Though I've never felt particularly drawn to Central Asia as a travel de ...more
Travel literature is the antithesis to 'travelling through reading'.
People who write books (or even worse - blogs) on their travels are often suffering from two conditions that go hand in hand: inflated sense of self, and a condescending (cough, ORIENTALIST, cough) view of the rest of the world. I so wanted Kate Harris to prove my ideas a ...more
I don't know why it took me so long to read Lands of Lost Borders. My unfamiliarity with the area made it more slow-going, as did the lack of maps (and my laziness not looking up the countries or looking for more resources that the author has available). That said, it is very very good and I hope to read it again in the future after I lend it to my ...more
The appeal of seeing some of this planet first grew on her after trips to Italy and hearing the Dali Lama talk. Reading about t ...more
Like a ...more
At my last book club meeting, when we were trying to decide on our next read, I was fully behind this story. The blurb sounded interesting and I was hoping for a story that would speak to me, the way Cheryl Strayed’s Wild inspired me to want to do more. I’m not at all pleased to admit that I had to force myself to finish this book. I did not enjoy but a few bits and pieces.
Kate Harris’ tale started strong; I was very optimistic after just the first chapter. Things quickly went downhill ...more
I'm a great believer in the idea that travel changes a person and I've always loved books (non-fiction or fiction) about long journeys. Not everyone can be fortunate enough to go on life changing expeditions, but armchair travel via a book like this one can still provide plenty of insights. In Lands of Lost Borders Canadian ...more
But I wish she had spent more time talking about borders and their differences in kind and effect. There are literal borders, like rivers and mountain ranges that establish separation not just of people but of ecosystems and even weather (the rain shadow of a mountain range, for example). Language is a border, distinct, divisive, and developed by isolation and by deliberation (the Academie Francaise, thirty profes ...more
I generally try to only read books that have an average rating of 4 star or higher because it helps me weed out the bad or boring books. This book is fairly new and I think I read about it in a popular women’s magazine which is usually code for some publisher really pushing it so as I am writing this review it still has over a ...more
I have many thoughts about this strange beauty of a book. A list, then!
1. First, it's the first book I've stumbled into in a long time where the writing is simply stunning. In places, it's absolutely perfect: visual and clever in all the right places. But there a ...more
But, while I do share the wanderlust and some of the restlessness of the author, we would never have gotten along as travel companions.
I admire the determination and the achievement, it really does take a special kind of guts to bike from Istanbul to India, the sharing of the experience just doesn´t satisfy my curious mind.
Thinking of the parts of the Silk Road I have travelled, th ...more
This book is quite an armchair adventure and features some very quotable passages.
Thank you Caryl for recommending it!