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While Attempting To Escape A Civil War, Four People Are Kidnapped And Transported To The Tibetan Mountains After Their Plane Crashes, They Are Found By A Mysterious Chinese Man He Leads Them To A Monastery Hidden In The Valley Of The Blue Moon A Land Of Mystery And Matchless Beauty Where Life Is Lived In Tranquil Wonder, Beyond The Grasp Of A Doomed WorldIt Is Here, In Shangri La, Where Destinies Will Be Discovered And The Meaning Of Paradise Will Be Unveiled Lost Horizons is a very silly, dumb book, but charming and fun for all that.It s racist and sexist, in that casual and unmalicious way that you see in, like, Mad Men The hard, mocking, sex thirsty voices of women are mentioned at one point, and the inhabitants of Shangri La are described as cleaner and handsomer than the average Chinese Compare it to Sax Rohmer s The Insidious Dr Fu Manchu from 30 years previous that book is obsessed with the danger of cunning, diabolical Chinamen, while this one is obsessed with how romantic and wise they are Both are dumb.It indulges shamelessly in adolescent wish fulfillment just an inordinate number of pages given over to explaining never showing how wise and interesting its hero, Conway, is It s certainly one of those books that threatens to make your eyes roll right out of your head Here s a great passage Conrad s love demanded nothing, not even reply it was a tribute of the mind, to which his sense added only a flavor She stood for him as a symbol of all that was delicate and fragile her stylized courtesies and the touch of her fingers on the keyboard yielded a completely satisfied intimacy Oh my God, right Hoo boy.But, again, for all of its many and glaring flaws, it ssortof fun I mean, for one thing Hilton is inventing Shangri La here, and that s pretty cool And he s dealing ungracefully, but in his own dumb way with a real debate between faith and atheism do you believe that Shangri La is magic Or is it an asylum run by ancient nutty inmates To his credit, Hilton gives you plenty of evidence each way He does that part competently.So, I mean, it s fine It reads quickly and pleasantly If your young adult is reading it, you might use it as an opening to talk about how Asian fetishes are racist Show him some porn as a visual aid If you re reading it yourself, just try to watch the eye rolling You can sprain those things. Skyjacked Unheard of in the early 1930 s, yet it did happen to four passengers in Afghanistan, during a civil conflict there sounds sadly familiar A mad Asian pilot with a gun does, flying east into the tallest mountains in the world The aircraft goes above, around and hopefully not through them, a spectacular view for those with the guts to look, beautiful the Himalayas and frightening too Tibet an almost unknown country with few visitors who return back home to report their findings, the apparent destination Glory Hugh Conway a British consul, in some half forgotten and remote city in Asia suffering shell shock, from W.W.1 His vice consul young hot tempered Charles Mallinson, rather impetuous or just a coward A missionary Roberta Brinklow a little past her prime the unkind would say And the only non British one on board the plane American Henry Barnard, mysterious, jovial a typical citizen of that country hiding something Landing at an isolated mountainous spot not really a runway, getting refueled by people with lots of guns, the passengers are encouraged to stay in the plane, and obey , with few arguments, heroes none here Again in the air, hour after hour always heading higher and higher into the mountains The fuel is getting very low and must land soon, they do crashing in a valley Where Nobody knows since the pilot soon expires No food or appropriate clothes for this harsh, frigid climate, no way to get back to civilization All see their deaths here, though next morning a miracle occurs, people are coming in their direction An old Chinese man, Chang with a dozen others leads them to mythical Shangri La However first a little mountain climbing, up dizzy heights which scare his friends never Conway, a former mountain climber in the lofty Alps Ropes are used stomachs lost, but at long last they enter the Valley of the Blue Moon as the natives accurately call it The impressive Karakal Mountain Blue Moon , at 28,000 feet in elevation Looking terrifying to the tiny newcomers An uniquely contented peaceful..enchantingbreathtaking paradise A long ways from the constant wars and upheavals of the unstable world, sanctuary for those that need it An imposing, prosperous Buddhist monastery is it still overlooking and dominating the valley, a majestic view below, a few thousand happy inhabitants The other monks, seldom are seen there, Chang gives them food, rooms, books to read and even music to listen to in the Lamasery Played by Lo Tsen a talented Manchu girl, a teenager she seems The High Lama strangely is European and looks like he s 100 years old, he s older And doesn t give much information to the curious Mr.Conway Many secrets are kept from the newcomers, questions are asked when can they leave Much longer to stay for the foreigners What s the purpose of the valley How do they make money And some of them begin to like the unearthly situation here others decidedlythe opposite This Shangri La, is not a bad place to live in A fantasy from the 30 s, which has appeal even today, maybe not so strange. In 1931, four people, including Glory Conway, escape the political unrest in Baskul, China by boarding a plane, bound for Peshawar The plane, however, much to their dismay, has been hijacked and eventually crash lands deep in the far reaches of the Tibetan Himalayas Seeking shelter, the group soon finds themselves in the valley of the blue moon, guests at a lamasery, called Shangri La.Reading this is like stepping slowly into a hot, fragrant bath while strains of your own audio preferences delight lapping against your tired muscles as you immerse yourself deep within its hypnotic scent Even silence has a melody Though I have no specific memory of having read this before or having seen the movie, Hilton s story is very familiar to me More legend really, it transcends its medium, provoking deep, meaningful thought on spirituality, love and life s purpose.The water is just warm now I have long since found my sweet spot and I tarry, reluctant to leave this precious paradise Be sure and read what gave birth to this legendary utopia. The last time I loved a book as much as I loved this one was when I read Dune Even though Dune is considered one of the masterworks of science fiction, I m not really a sci fi kind of girl, per se, I just love places that are so well imagined by the author that you can t believe they re not real SOMEWHERE Lost Horizon presents Shangri La as such a place More personally, though, I read this book at the precise right moment in my life Conway, the main character, has a sort of dispassionate detachment from life as a result of having fought in WWI the story takes place right after the stock market crash and has subsequently become an official in the British Government His job is sort of middle management, not a great deal of responsibility, but it takes him to odd corners of the world where he has opportunities for heroism by virtue of being in foreign, unstable lands during the last years of the British Empire Basically, he s seen enough to have made him or less unflappable, and because of this he often is viewed as calm under pressure and courageous at the end of the day, though, all he really wants is peace and quiet.When the English are evacuating India, Conway and three other passengers have their airplane hijacked, and they are whisked away to Shangri La I won t say any except that he and his companions find a great deal of mystery there, but Conway also senses immediately that he s found his place of repose.I say I read this book at the exact right moment in my life because I can identify with Conway s dispassion at times Not that I ve seen nearly all of the world or have experienced anything as dramatic as war, but having lived in Asia for two years, I know what it s like to do something out of the ordinary and to then return to the everyday I know what that hollow space feels like that you long to fill with something else amazing The fact that his retreat also happens to be a place that reminds us of the evils of being shackled to the march of time and desire is also no small thing for me The West truly is obsessed with time doing things faster and efficiently, and importantly, getting angry when things aren t done on the timetables we expect Then there s the element of desire wanting what we feel we are entitled to, seeking accolades, craving attention and adoration, and everything we are willing to sacrifice for these things We are willing to sacrifice no less than the wisdom of the world and of this earth Lost Horizon goes into all of this and much , and I loved every second of the philosophical exploration wrapped up in gripping mystery So, in case I haven t been clear enough read this It s a quick read, only took me two days, a few hours It s well worth it.