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To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron

To a Mountain in Tibet (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Colin Thubron

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2981537,648 (3.54)28
Title:To a Mountain in Tibet
Authors:Colin Thubron
Info:Harper (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

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To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron (2011)


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This is a slow, dreamy kind of travel memoir. Colin Thubron reflects on his own life and mortality as he joins pilgrims on the trek to Kailas, an ancient sacred site in Tibet, revered by Buddhists and Hindus, but difficult to reach not only because of it's height and remoteness but also because of the political turmoil in the region between China and Tibet. There is enough traditional travel observation and physical rigor to create movement and tension, but there is also a deeper level of personal reflection on immortality as Thubron reviews his feelings and reactions to the deaths of his father, his sister (in a mountain skiing accident) and his mother. Alone in the world, he contemplates the purpose of pilgrimage and wonders if simply following a certain physical path can have any spiritual significance. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
There was not enough first person narrative for me.
  VaterOlsen | Oct 15, 2013 |
I liked it, but it took a while to get through. Normally audio books tend to go a bit faster, but this one dragged for some reason. I'm not sure why, as the narrator was fantastic and it was only 6.5 hours or so. The writing itself was great and I have a hunch that I would have enjoyed it much more had I read it instead of listening to it. ( )
  liz.mabry | Sep 11, 2013 |
I'm reading this for the second time, much more slowly than my first go at it, and finding it very rewarding. I'll rate it with stars when this second reading is complete, but it's very powerful, very personal, and goes way beyond traditional travel writing.
  evergene | Nov 25, 2012 |
In this relatively short (218 page) book, travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron recounts a trek from Nepal to Tibet, where he ultimately circles Mount Kailas, a holy mountain sought by Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Bon pilgrims. His journey is fairly short, and far from epic, but he observes and describes the landscape and people he meets with such care, that the story expands and commands attention. The trip is also as much an internal as an external pilgrimage; Thubron took this trip some months after losing his mother, his last immediate relative. So the story is also the work of a mature author meditating on grief and on the impermanence of all we love, including ourselves. The author's struggle both grounds the information he shares about the historical and cultural meanings of Mt. Kailas -- over and over, stations on the pilgrimage around the mountain are meant to reinforce the pilgrim's awareness of his or her impermanence -- and also creates a tension that drives the book, since Thubron, as a skeptical Westerner, cannot hope for the cosmic salvation experienced by the real pilgrims traveling alongside him. And yet, the journey, at least as he recounts it here, does offer a kind of resolution. Overall, it is a beautiful, respectful, and sober book. ( )
1 vote bezoar44 | Oct 28, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This relatively slender volume, which might have been nothing more than a dashed-off travelogue by an established name, reveals itself as daring and brilliant. Thubron has crafted a book which beautifully describes one man's experience of loss, and familial love.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006176826X, Hardcover)

This is the account of a journey to the holiest mountain on earth, the solitary peak of Kailas in Tibet, sacred to one-fifth of humankind. To both Buddhists and Hindus it is the mystic heart of the world and an ancient site of pilgrimage. It has never been climbed. Even today, under Chinese domination, the people of four religions circle the mountain in devotion to different gods.

Colin Thubron reached it by foot along the Karnali River, the highest source of the Ganges. His journey is an entry into the culture of today's Tibet, and a pilgrimage in the wake his mother's death and the loss of his family. He undertakes it in order to mark the event, to leave a sign of their passage. He also explores his own need for solitude, which has shaped his career as a writer—one who travels to places beyond his own history and culture, writing about them and about the journey. To a Mountain in Tibet is at once a powerful travelogue, a fascinated encounter with alien faith, and an intimate personal voyage.

It is a haunting and beautiful book, a rare mix of discovery and loss. In its evocation of landscape and variety of exotic peoples, of mythic and spiritual traditions foreign to our own, it is a spectacular achievement from our greatest living travel writer, an artist of formidable literary gifts, uncanny intuition, and wondrous insight.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:03 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Offers an intimate travelogue of the author's trek to Kailas, the holiest mountain in Tibet, in the wake of the death of his mother and the loss of his family.

(summary from another edition)

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An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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