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Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of…

Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of The World

by Pico Iyer

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I would read about pretty much any place Iyer wants to write about. Here he visits some out of the way places, and, as usual, through his talent for description and sense of humor, he brings them to life--at least for a little while. ( )
  datrappert | Oct 22, 2016 |
Joy's review: Iyer visits some very out-of-the-way places in this book from 1993. Really superb writing both in terms of physical descriptions and cultural observations. Not much by way of story lines, though. It's a pleasant diversion. And while I enjoyed reading this book a great deal, I'm afraid it's not going to stick with me very long. ( )
  konastories | Sep 23, 2016 |
Some lovely evocative essays on the lonely beauty of the world. It's hard to believe that there are still pockets of solitude and areas that are removed from 21st century hustle and bustle. Beautifully written. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 19, 2014 |
It had seemed, at the time, a good idea, this holiday in Pyongyang.

Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World is a series of essays about the parts of the world isolated by politics, geography or culture. Pico Iyer spends time in the places you'd expect, like North Korea, Cuba, Bhutan and Iceland, but also in Argentina and Australia. Iyer comes across as a more thoughtful, less humorous Jon Ronson, able to insert himself into interesting situations, offbeat locations, and to get people to speak openly with him, without becoming the focus of his tales. Even the one in which police officers had a great deal of difficulty determining whether "Pico" or "Iyer" was his first name revolves around life in a Cuban village.

Back in the Gran Hotel, the receptionist greeted me in Hindi, a cockroach was waiting to welcome me in my bedroom, and a sudden thunderstorm turned the hotel corridors into rivers, a few dead leaves floating by my door. In the beautiful dining room, where La Madama had once held masked balls and taught le tout Asuncion to polka, four men in ponchos were putting on a show of Paraguayan culture, featuring songs from Mexico, songs from Cuba, and songs from Peru.

Iyer spends time in each of the places featured, returning to some years after his first visits. He falls into the daily rhythms of the places he's staying in, becoming familiar with Saturday markets or the movies being shown at the local cinema. The book itself is a bit dated, having been written twenty years ago but, for me at least, it has lost little of its appeal, the countries that he wrote about remain as exotic and unknown as they were when he wrote the essays. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Jun 8, 2014 |
Since Iyer's account is dated, it's best to read this as a series of snapshots in time. Iyer muses on his experiences in a wide variety of countries. I don't agree with his "lonely places" premise, but the essays were otherwise enjoyable, though not illuminating. This might be interesting to read as a stimulus for a book discussion about one's own experience in any of these countries in relation to Iyer's. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679746129, Paperback)

The author of Video Night in Kathmandu ups the ante on himself in this sublimely evocative and acerbically funny tour through the world's loneliest and most eccentric places. From Iceland to Bhutan to Argentina, Iyer remains both uncannily observant and hilarious.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

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