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Part travelogue, part historical evocation, part personal quest and part reflection on the joys and perils of passage, An Unexpected Light is the account of Jason Elliot's journey to a country considered off-limits to travellers for twenty years.
Setting off from the capital, Kabul, under daily missile attack from its beseigers, Elliot ignores numerous warnings and heads on horseback into the snowbound mountains of the North and the former battlefields of the Soviet army's 'hidden war'. Here the forbidding beauty of the Afghan landscape kindles a moving recollection of the author's life as a clandestine young guest of the mujaheddin, ten years earlier, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Jason Elliot has created a narrative mosaic of startling prose which captures perfectly the emotional allure of a seldom-glimpsed world. In it the reader will encounter traditional wisdom, contemporary anecdotes and insights into matters ranging from antipersonnel mines to Sufism.
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Jason Elliot lives in London. His second book, Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran, is also published by Picador.Review:
“A work of substance and style, witty and moving by turns, never less than wholly passionate . . . What raises the book to the level of a classic is its intensely personal meditation on the magic of unplanned adventure, of the pain and pleasure of pushing into the unknown.” ―The Times (London)
“The surprise of the year: a lyrical, unrestrained and enthralling account of a journey into Afghanistan . . . I loved this book.” ―Daily Telegraph
“This extraordinary debut is an account of Elliot's two visits to Afghanistan. . . The result is some of the finest travel writing in recent years. With its luminous descriptions of the people, the landscape (even when pockmarked by landmines), and Sufism, this book has all the hallmarks of a classic, and it puts Elliot in the same league as Robert Byron and Bruce Chatwin.” ―Library Journal
“An Unexpected Light is often unexpectedly funny and constantly perceptive, but it is also profound.” ―Jason Goodwin, The New York Times Book Review
“Elliot is an enthralling writer with a great gift for evoking places, people and atmosphere, from the pastoral calm of a fertile valley to the terrifying sights and sounds of war.” ―Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times
“Lyrical . . . alluring . . . a poignant remembrance, hued in the mixed reds of war and sunset, that comes close to a place that has already changed beyond imagination.” ―Paula Newberg, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Humorous, honest and wry . . . [Elliot's] literary talents are exceptional. His sonorous prose moves forward with the purposeful grace of a river.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“An Unexpected Light is an unexpected gift . . . Elliot's account is vivid and should broaden the reader's comprehension of an often misunderstood country.” ―Jonathan Shipley, Columbus Dispatch
“An unexpected gift...Elliot's account is vivid and should broaden the reader's comprehension of an often misunderstood country.” ―Jonathan Shipley, The Columbus Dispatch
“If Elliot hasn't already been likened to T. E. Lawrence, then I'll do the honors now.” ―The Guardian (London)
“The author's impressive knowledge of Afghanistan's history, his seemingly boundless affection for its people, his understanding and respect for their culture and religion, and his flair for the language make this more than a casual travelogue. It is a plaintive love song whose discordant notes are provided by daily encounters with violence, hardship, and poverty.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Elliot's observational gems, when glimpsed as a whole, offer a fascinating mosaic of revelations....Illuminating, astute, and timely.” ―USA Today
“An Unexpected Light thoughtfully lays out new and overlooked information that policy-makers in the U.S. and the West as a whole need when trying to decide what may work.” ―Robert A. Lincoln, Richmond-Times Dispatch
“I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel.” ―Doris Lessing
“An astonishing debut: one of the most remarkable travel books this decade.” ―Willam Dalrymple
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Book Description Macmillan, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0330371614
Book Description Macmillan Pub Ltd, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0330371614