Book of the Week

I am starting a section on books that I love.


Book Title: Lost Horizon

Author: James Hilton

Written in 1933 and made into a movie in 1937, this book is an adventure in an utopia, called Shangrila. A quartet of American and British expats found themselves on Tibetan landscape when their four seater plane crash-landed near an unmapped area of Tibet.

The four are rescued by members of a lamasery lodged in a remote plateau. Here they come in contact with lamas who have crossed the boundaries of time and death. You have a curate from the nineteenth century who visited the Bronte family that created masterpieces in literature. One of Chopin’s pupil plays unpublished works by Chopin! A Manchu princess from 1855 frozen in youthfulness in the 1930s adds to the mystery and romance of this novel. All these characters are depicted to have ascended the borders of nationality, time and death…and the most interesting thing was that the lamasery was founded by a Christian missionary who defied the throes of death at 108 years of age and continued to build on this utopia. The lamasery was geographically secreted away among the hills in a way that it was impossible to locate even by air. This secrecy was it’s best security from the real world of war, greed, passion and hatred.

I just loved the book with it’s borderless approach to the world and life. The lamas are depicted as visionaries who can see the future and ascend time. The founder tells the protagonist, Conway, that they are trying to preserve the best of civilisation from all over the world to survive the self-destruct mode humankind is headed for. They perceive themselves as a magical world that will survive the throes of bombs and destruction and restart civilisation on a new footing.

I would recommend the book as an excellent read.