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In Xanadu: A Quest
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Manufacturer: Lonely Planet
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 915.04428
EAN: 9781864501735
ISBN: 1864501731
Label: Lonely Planet
Manufacturer: Lonely Planet
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 320
Publication Date: 2000-04-01
Publisher: Lonely Planet
Studio: Lonely Planet

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Editorial Reviews:

While waiting for the results of his college exams, William Dalrymple decides to fill in his summer break with a trip. But the vacation he plans is no light-hearted student jaunt - he decides to retrace the epic journey of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the ruined palace of Kubla Kahn, north of Peking. For the first half of the trip he is accompanied by Laura, whom he met at a dinner party two weeks before he left; for the second half he is accompanied by Louisa, his very recently ex-girlfriend. Intelligent and funny, In Xanadu is travel writing at its best.



Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Somewhat interesting, but could have been better
Comment: In the mid 1980s, William Dalrymple (then in his early 20s) made a journey retracing the steps of Marco Polo's famous journey during the 1200s, from the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to the site of Shangdu (or Xanadu, as is better known in literature), the summer palace of Kublai Khan, in Outer Mongolia, China. In reality, though, since Soviet Central Asia was then barred to western travel, he deviated in part from Marco Polo's route, going through the Baluchi desert, in southern Iran and Pakistan, and then up the Indus river, and through the then newly opened Karakoram highway to western China, instead of traveling to China through Samarkand and other cities in Central Asia. The book itself is a mixed bag, there is some interesting things in it (at least he did some homework in terms of research) but there are far too many of the sort of banal, smug and self-centered comments and experiences you see in much of the travel writing of westerners as they go through the third world.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A delightful and hilarious travel memoir.
Comment: I read this book on an airplane journey, and laughed so hard at some entries that I cried.
And then I got depressed, because I realized that at the author's age, I would have been incapable of the deft writing and erudition he displayed.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Dean Moriarty in a Burqa
Comment:
Well not quite, but sort of.

At least this is what I kept thinking of as the author (referred to as Fatso by Mick, an expatriate hippie in Kashgar) and his travel companion Laura (she's the one clad in black) head out across Iran.

They are on a madcap quest, ostensibly to retrace the tracks of Marco Polo in his journey from Jerusalem to the seat of power of Kublai Khan in Xanadu, bearing oil from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Dalrymple, a student at Cambridge, came up with this idea to kill time between college terms. Presumably the quasi academic cover was in some way necessary, and the intermittent references to Polo and his voyage are mildly interesting. But really this is a chronicle of a road trip plain and simple - a 1980's kind of On the Road.

The Silk Road, that is.

Anyway, all this makes for idle but entertaining reading, filled with intelligent observations and humorous snippets.

Here, for example, is the English menu from a restaurant in Turkey:

Kujuk Ayas Family Restrant

Ingliz Menuyu

Soap

Ayas soap
Turkish tripte soap
Sheeps foot
Macaront
Water pies

Eats From Meat

Deuner kepab with pi
Kebap with green pe
Kebap in paper
Meat pide
Kebap with mas patato
Samall bits of meat grilled
Almb chops

Vegetables

Meat in eathernware stev pot
Stfue goreen pepper
Stuffed squash
Stuffed tomatoes z
Stuffed cabbages lea
Leek with finced meat
Clery

Salad

Brain salad
Cacik - a drink made ay ay
And cucumber

Frying Pans

Fried aggs
Scram fried aggs
Scurum fried omlat
Omlat with brain

Sweets and Rfuits

Stewed atrawberry
Nightingales nests
Virgin lips
A sweet dish of thinish batter with butter
Banane
Meon
Leeches

Recommended reading if ever you find yourself on an over civilized vacation.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Rugged travels on the silk route
Comment: Even if you did not know that this was one of Dalrymple's earlier works, there is quite a bit in the narrative to suggest this. That is not to say that book is not really worth your time - it definitely is - but what is even more interesting is to see & observe the elements of erudition & wonder, & story-telling, that have always been so compelling about WD.

But this is also personal story of a twenty-two year old - complete with a heartbreak - dashing across two continents. WD has certainly tried to talk about many personal episodes - & some of these are as hilarious as they're self-deprecating - but there are definitely pieces, thoughts, & events that probably would not be part of a more mature WD work.

This book is the story of WD & his companions chasing down of Xanadu in Mongolia with a phial of oil from the Holy Sepulcher & all that happens in between.

Informed, eccentric, & never dull.



Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Great Adventures!!
Comment: I really enjoyed this book! Each little observation is spiced with whit, and brilliant inuendo. Each story line intrigued me more and more and to each amateur adventurer out there, I say you'll love it!


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