To a Mountain in Tibet (Paperback)
"A superb account of a pilgrimage. . . . Characteristically beautiful, though uncharacteristically haunted." —Pico Iyer, New York Review of Books
"Thubron walks for the dead and writes for the living, and I can't remember when I have been so thoroughly and deeply moved by an author's outward journey inward." —Bob Shacochis, Boston Globe
New York Times bestselling author Colin Thubron returns with a moving, intimate, and exquisitely crafted travel memoir recounting his pilgrimage to the Hindu and Buddhist holy mountain of Kailas—whose peak represents the most sacred place on Earth to roughly a quarter the global population. With echoes of Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard, Peter Hessler’s Country Driving, and Paul Theoroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Thubron’s follow up to his bestselling Shadow of the Silk Road will illuminate, interest, and inspire anyone interested in traveling the world or journeying into the soul.
Colin Thubron is an acclaimed travel writer and novelist. His first books were about the Middle East – Damascus, Lebanon and Cyprus. In 1982 he travelled by car into the Soviet Union, a journey he described in Among the Russians. From these early experiences developed his classic travel books: Behind the Wall: A Journey through China (winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award), The Lost Heart of Asia, In Siberia (Prix Bouvier), Shadow of the Silk Road and To a Mountain in Tibet.
Among other honors, Colin Thubron has received the Ness award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Livingstone Memorial Medal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. In 2007 he was made CBE. He was elected President of the Royal Society of Literature from 2010 to 2017, and named an RSL Companion of Literature in 2020.
“Thubron walks for the dead and writes for the living, and I can’t remember when I have been so thoroughly and deeply moved by an author’s outward journey.” — Bob Shacochis, Boston Globe
“One of the greatest contemporary travel writers. . . . As he guides us along these braiding trails, Thubron’s moving evocation makes for an unforgettably enlightening journey.” — National Geographic Traveler "Book of the Month"
“A powerful and hauntingly elegiac hybrid of travelogue and memoir” — Kirkus Reviews
“Engrossing and affecting…poignant evocations of his mother and sister, interwoven with his profound respect for the Tibetan culture and landscape, make Thubron’s memoir an utterly moving read.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The journey is the reward, for both writer and reader, in this rich, beautiful account of the landscape, people, culture, and politics of Tibet.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Thubron has, as always, thoroughly researched his subject, so his descriptions of shadowy Buddhist shrines and wildly various religious supplicants are interspersed with eloquent accounts of Tibet’s place in the imaginings of the West...” — New York Times Book Review
“Thubron has spent four decades writing in forceful and respectful ways of foreign lands, and To a Mountain in Tibet is no exception.” — Wall Street Journal
“Like the works of Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux, Thubron’s gorgeous, evocative writing transcends the genre and reads like great literature.” — Carmela Ciuraru, Readymade.com
“More meditative than his sweeping Shadow of the Silk Road. . . . Walking with Thubron up the sacred mountain, strenuous as it is at times, is well worth the effort.” — Philadelphia Inquirer
“With great elegiac precision…Thubron adroitly navigates the difficult line between an emotive personal memoir…and a vivid description of one of the most spectacular mountain journeys…” — Times Literary Supplement (London)
“[Thubron has] been called one of the world’s greatest living travel writers. Few will doubt it, after they accompany him on this search for earthly sanctity.” — Christian Science Monitor
“Thubron’s descriptive writing is as dazzling as the scenery. His scholarship on the area’s religious and political history is enthralling.” — Financial Times
“One of the greats of contemporary travel writing . . . Thubron’s transcendent prose places the reader directly on the path to Kailas, culminating with the final glimpse of the sacred site.” — Seattle Times
“A masterpiece of travel writing...” — Hugh Thomas, Telegraph
“Not only the most revealing book he has ever published but also the most profound. . . . The telling . . . is masterly, with that sharp poetic eye for detail that is Thubron at his best.” — Charles Allen, Spectator
“Thubron is a versatile painter of place…an expert guide for the region’s complex topography…He is refreshingly clear and unintimidated…” — Los Angeles Times