better to be fascinating wrong than boringly nigh-correct, one supposes, and in this regard, Pico Iyer's most famous work 'Video Night in Katmandu' deserves its sort of backpacker fame, it's name dropping in Bali and Lhasa. several years before its time (first published 1988, the Soviet Union still existent), Iyer's relentless accounts of dynamic and hustler Asia, decadent and work-averse West predicts a state of affairs that comes to pass thirty years later... but the average Chinaman, of course, is still a Guangzhou hustler of middle-school education and the average Westerner still a junior-college office worker with four weeks' vacation a year.
to some degree I'm gifting the 5 here for '3'ing the [b:The Lady and the Monk|131101|The Lady and the Monk Four Seasons in Kyoto|Pico Iyer|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320433732s/131101.jpg|2954374] and [b:Falling off the Map|131106|Falling Off the Map Some Lonely Places of The World|Pico Iyer|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320523915s/131106.jpg|2954383], but if Video Night doesn't absolutely hold firm in the 5-space, certainly it argues for it in more ways than one. Iyer's perfumed and noctural Bali, for example, might carry it it through if for nothing else and if he shied away in Falling from an authentic engagement with the $3/day crowd of Nam and Ulaan Baator, here in Video Night Iyer is two-feet in. he makes no apologies for ceaseless nights in the Soi Cowboy of Bangkok, he isn't afraid to inquire where exactly the pesos are flowing in shanty-town Manila.
if you're going to read only one Pico Iyer, this is the one to do it. and if Iyer never again lives up to his 1988 work, well that is cruelty reality, too, the unforgiving face of fate which says all of us, even the Oxonians, only have one book inside of us. tant pis