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Sun After Dark: Flights Into The Foreign (2005)

Sun After Dark: Flights Into the Foreign (2005)
3.69 of 5 Votes: 3
1400031036 (ISBN13: 9781400031030)
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Sun After Dark: Flights Into The Fore...
Sun After Dark: Flights Into The Foreign (2005)

About book: i close my eyes and numb my senses every time i buy any of Iyer's books. they come at a hefty price but before i can reason with myself, my hands (which lie closer to my heart) impulsively sort out the cash and before i know it, the cashier's handing me my receipt. there goes my salary is what i always say but the thing about money is that it can be earned but these rare gems--ideas fitted onto pages---are hard to come by. the first two Iyer books i got were gifts from an Indian friend who had been doing masteral studies while i was still a freshman. i was both terrified and intrigued by this man who had so kindly reciprocated a smile after i nearly poured a drink over him. we introduced ourselves, shuffled through the painful ordeal of small talk and soon, we were talking about books we loved and things we dreamed of doing. it was wonderful to have someone from the outside talk about what he had seen and done but i became wary when he suggested that i should visit him at his dorm in the state university. the books were tempting but the visit was asking too much. besides, i was young and impressionable and he could have been dangerous. but then the biggest surprise came when, a week before leaving the country, he met me in school with two of Iyer's books: Lady & the Monk and his Tropical Classical. i don't think i ever forgave myself for being so narrow-minded and thinking ill of this person. i don't know where Arun is now but one day i'll get to thank him properly for having given me those two books. Arun is a character straight off Iyer's books. Sun After Dark in particular is a good collection of some of his most stirring work. This is a reflective read and more than just transporting you from one place to another, there's that sense that another kind of movement is going on. My favorite is an essay called Nightwalking. It's his account of being jet-lagged. i haven't found the words for it yet but if you find yourself wanting to read something different, then Iyer might be your guy. he's a mix of adventure, meditation and incredible sincerity that's hard to come by among travel writers. so yeah, he's highly recommended!

Something has become more muted in the essays of "Sun After Dark" -- the heavy romanticism demonstrated in "Abandon" is not there, and the tone of these essays seems less melodramatic than his other essays somehow. Was it something in him that had changed, I wondered, or was it me as the reader, or was it both of us... in his essay on Cambodia, I noted the tone of detachment adopted in his description of the moral cesspool of the country, which was usually perversely attractive to people looking for spiritual peace or their refuge from living in displacement in a technological world. Previously, in the essays of "Video Night in Kathmandu" and "The Global Soul", I thought I had glimpsed this strong desire to discover and preserve the traditional and the exotic, to ensure that these places and things remained uncorrupted and unsullied from the processes of globalization and commercialisation. In Sun After Dark, Iyer seems much older and less angsty, as if he has understood and accepted what it means to be displaced, or what it means to seek peace and not find it in the way one expects.
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Pico Iyer has earned a name for himself as a travel writer, and this book is a collection of mostly travel articles he wrote for various magazines. It also contains a scattering of articles that are book reviews, short biographical pieces on famous people, an analysis of a writer, some reflections about well-off travelers encountering poverty, and so on.This collection is impressionistic, as is Pico's writing. He daubs his work with touches of things he's seen and heard. It's a unique literary style and one that sometimes escapes me. I generally prefer a more straightforward method of telling a story, so I am rating this lower than someone who likes this style would.
That Iyer is an essayist of finesse is a given, but what I like best about this collection is the keen eye that he casts over every place he visits, usually on New Year's Eve. I particularly loved the essays on places like Bali, Tibet, Cambodia and Easter Island with none of the touristy afflictions that writers to such places tend to suffer from, nor the angry disbelief at the depths of human depravity.Also loved the essays on Kazuo Ishiguro, on jetlag and on grandmothers, in a voice that I've come to recognize as uniquely Iyer.
Drew Lackovic
I read this as part of an assignment for finishing up my MFA program, and overall, I felt the book was just alright. I think Iyer is an exemplary travel writer, and especially the essay in there about Grandmothers, and Nara park touched me, but that was only because I too have been to Nara, Japan.Overall, the collection focused on places of poverty; places that generally are kind of forbidden to the average traveler. And while the insight on lands I'll never visit is interesting, I kept thinking, "If you have the money to do travel to these destitute locations, what are you doing to help improve them?" I didn't see a lot of improvement in the book; in fact, in some places Iyer seemed downright offended that there were beggers, and that the places he visited were run by despots. I think the great irony of the book is that Iyer spoke to the Dali Llama, who said pretty much the same thing, "What are you going to do about the plight of Tibet?" I don't think Iyer's book really answers to this at all, and ultimately, this is where I disconnected from it.
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