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The Waiting Land: A Spell in Nepal by Dervla…

The Waiting Land: A Spell in Nepal (edition 2012)

by Dervla Murphy (Author)

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874216,511 (3.91)2
Finding work in a refugee camp in Tibet, the author makes her home in a tiny vermin-infested room. In the form of a diary, this book describes her life there and the journeys she made in the remote regions bordering Tibet. Originally published: London: John Murray, 1967.
Title:The Waiting Land: A Spell in Nepal
Authors:Dervla Murphy (Author)
Info:Eland Books (2012), Edition: 1st Edition Thus, 256 pages

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The Waiting Land: A Spell in Nepal by Dervla Murphy



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One of the author's earliest works of her travels in Nepal in the mid 60s. As usual very funny and readable.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
One of the author's earliest works of her travels in Nepal in the mid 60s. As usual very funny and readable.
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
Murphy, having ridden a bicycle to India in '62, returns in '65 to continue working with Tibetan refugees, this time in Nepal. Flying into India and Nepal, looking down on the route she'd previously cycled, she reverts to type on arrival and acquires a sturdy machine and rides, walks, climbs and drinks her way around the Himalayas. Murphy it might be added is one of the great Irish drinkers, although having been warned by medical professionals (and her own observations) she sticks to the milder version of the local brews, the one that promises blindness rather than certain early death.

Readers who are looking for stories of pleasant travel, or extremes of adventurous endeavour should look elsewhere - Murphy's speciality is a version of 'slow travel', literally bedding down with the locals (and their animals and bedbugs) while telling the stories of people that would otherwise never come to our attention. In some ways to read Murphy is to forever swear off any thought of travelling into such an unsanitary and pestilent place, but she isn't selling a 'pleasant image', she's relating an experience of life in a place that gives no quarter to either to its inhabitants nor those who choose to share their discomfort.

It's grim reading in parts. Adults and children dying from preventable illness, and a whole culture in danger of being erased by modern politics and economics. But for all of that, Murphy is never beaten down (too long). She shrugs off bureaucratic ineptitude, dysentery, blizzards and her own unerring talent for getting lost and finding her way home each time by the longest and most difficult route. Yet always, in the beauty of the landscape, in the generosity of her hosts, and in the sheer persistence of the human spirit she finds - and shares with the reader - some sense of redemption for our sins against this planet and each other.

Murphy has led a remarkable life and written over twenty books recording her travels - mostly by bicycle - across Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. All these books are great reads, but if you have the option I wouldn't recommend starting with 'The Waiting Land'. There's just a few too many threads that lead backwards and forwards to make this the ideal 'stand-alone' introduction to Murphy. An ideal starting point is her first travel story, 'Full Tilt', or 'On a Shoestring to Coorg' which describes her later work with Tibetan refugees in Southern India. Even so, with or without that wider context, 'The Waiting Land' is highly recommended. ( )
  nandadevi | Jul 2, 2015 |
Read in 1999 by Mike Galway, who has lived in Nepal, and who wrote in the flyleaf: Read July 1999. Imagine, KTM without Thamel. I'm so envious! ( )
  mjw | May 28, 2006 |
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The third in a series of books tracing Dervla's involvement with the self-sufficient mountain cultures of the Himalayas. Lured by the chance to work again with refugees (a group of 500 Tibetans lodged in tents in the remote Pokhara Valley), Dervla settles down to live in a tiny, vermin-infested room above a stall in a bazaar. Here she falls under the spell of the ancient land of Nepal, poised between East and West, between China and India, between Buddhism and Hinduism, yet true to its own distinct civilization. Dervla's understanding of the roots of the Nepalese past, and her own stamina, culminate in an epic trek into the remopte Langtang region on the border with Tibet.
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