Ay from it allWhere the winter winds will never blowAnd living things have room to growAnd the sound of gunsDoesn t pound in your ears any But I did not know neither the words nor the melody of the 3rd to the 6th lines of each stanza So I went to wwwlyricscom and searched for this song There is actually a 3rd stanza but I did not know how to sing it too Do you know how the whole song goes This is the 1937 theme song for the Frank Capra s movie adaptation of James Hilton s 1933 wondrous classic Lost Horizon and I only know the first two lines Pity me It s very soulful and melodious as it creates images of peace and uiet of being in harmony with nature like going to a serene restful place That place is Shangri La Not the famous five star hotel chain although this book inspired the owners of that hotel chain that started in Singapore La in Shangri La means mountain according to this book and it is the place where aging process slows down people believe in moderation on everything and everyone loves everyone else regardless of religion social status personal beliefs etc In other words this book is a utopian book So paging fans of dystopian genre come and check this book out and give yourself a respite from reading pessimists and doomsayers predicting only bad things to happen in this world This book by James Hilton 1900 1954 was first published in 1933 but it was only noticed by readers after he released his other novel Goodbye Mr Chips Lost Horizon was filmed in 1939 the same year when it was released as mass paperback by Pocket Books In fact Lost Horizon is considered as the first pocketbook and officially has this title Pocketbook 1 Paperback books have been around since the 1800s but this was the first book that made people afford to read books and they could place books inside their pockets Thus mass paperback books are called pocketbooks Hilton s prose is clear and succinct The plot is intriguing and intricately woven The philosophical and religious musings are about right The characters are well developed as each are given hisher own back story and motivation on why heshe wants to stay rather than leave Shangri La The use of the framework story narrated by a neurologist is effective and not confusing The characters voices are clearly distinctive and Hilton s imagination is ust awesome Wiki says that he was inspired to write this book by reading National Geographic magazine where a place similar to this in the Tibetan mountains was featured with the corresponding explorer disappeared incognito My only small gripe is that I found the description of the supposedly breathtaking place lacking Had Hilton been Charles Dickens Henry James or even Michael Oondatje of The English Patient I am sure he would have devoted pages and pages of wonderful descriptions about the place Well maybe Hilton aimed for his book to be place in a pocket so he made sure that this book would fit into a regular trouser s pocket Overall a worthwhile read uick easy and slightly brain stimulating Now that I am done reading the book and I think I have to find out how to sing the song in full 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 Real-Life BPMN 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 subseuently become an official in the British Government Hisob is sort of middle management "NOT A GREAT DEAL OF RESPONSIBILITY " a great deal of responsibility 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 uietWhen 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 reposeI 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 importantly getting angry when things aren t done on the 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 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 WW1 His vice consul young hot tempered Charles Mallinson rather impetuous or ust a coward A missionary Roberta Brinklow a little. Tranuil 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 unveile.
Read & download Ü PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ü James HiltonIt wasn t until I finished the story and read the Afterword that I realized that this book was written by the same guy who wrote Goodbye Mr Chips another story I had pretty much put out of my mind Much I think like I expect to happen with this oneSo okay here s Shangri La We all know the name but this is where it started And that s fine Shangri La is this utopian society place in the Himalayan area where the inhabitants are almost immortal It s supposed to be this perfect society essentially created out of moderation which is bogus right because moderation is boring and c mon haven t we all agreed that nearly immortal longevity is a real dragBut Shangri La has other good stuff apparently like toilets and libraries so it s not all bad It s ust not my thing I don t want to live foreverIt s a cute story but The Obvious just like Goodbye Mr Chips was a cute story By cute I mean sort of annoying Hilton was an average writer who wanted to make his readers feel good which was important for the 30s right All that economic and psychological depression that lull between two great wars I mean sad times all around So why not write a short novel about a really great place that may be magic or mayust be run by some nutI will say that I enjoyed the ambiguity of what Shangri La really was That spoke to me But not enough to really get into the story the way I had hoped There s some adventure here but the watered down kind of adventure that people sometimes write wherein they don t want to be too exciting or offensive so they ust write really offensive and one dimensional characters like Asians and womenFine enough and a uick enough read Whatever it won t knock your socks off Mr Chips at least gives the occasional warm fuzzyI will say that my Reader s Digest version of this book included illustrations by Robert Andrew Parker and those were actually pretty neat Like some other books this is one that I read only because it was picked as a common read in one of my Goodreads groups While I d heard of it before it had never struck me as something I wanted to read In some cases books I read this way proved to be five star reads This one didn t impress me to that extent but I did ultimately like it well enough to give it three stars and found it thought provoking on various levelsIt s a somewhat challenging book to review and even to classify With regard to the latter point I finally settled on science fiction for its genre though it s very unlike most American SF from that era Nor does it fit into the lost race tradition popular on both sides of the Atlantic before and between the World Wars But it does have a central speculative element to its plot the idea of long extension of human life though not actual immortality nor anything like it by purely natural means This element is suarely in the soft SF tradition characteristic of the British than the American genre a literary conceit employed to set up and serve the human social and philosophical uestions the author wants to explore It isn t based on any serious study of the actual causes of aging nor on extrapolation from any known techniue or effectApart from two framing sections that filter the main narrative through an effect of in Washington Irving s term for
the techniue resonance the premise of the lattertechniue resonance the premise of the latter fairly simple Four people viewpoint character Conway a WWI veteran now a British consul his younger vice consul Mallinson a missionary lady and a rather mysterious American being evacuated by air from a local uprising apparently on the northwest frontier of what was then British India find their plane hijacked by a mystery pilot taking them to an unknown destination far to the East Any direct information
Would Reveal Plot Elements Thatreveal plot elements that author preferred to disclose gradually and the genuine suspense of reading it with no knowledge of the plot than is inevitable with normal cultural literacy about a 1933 classic is actually an integral part of the reading experience For the same reason I don t recommend reading the cover copy of this edition nor the Goodreads description where they aren t inaccurate and misleading they can be spoilerish to a degreeBasically however this is a novel of ideas the plot exists strictly to serve the author s messages These are the messages of a pessimistic primarily secular humanist British intellectual whose view of the world was deeply shadowed and scarred by the Great War The reference to Conway s wartime experience was convincing enough to make me suspect Hilton was himself a veteran He wasn t having turned 18 ust a couple of months before the Armistice but he was still part of the rising bourgeois liberal Lost Generation that was epochally disillusioned by the scope of the carnage He was also clearly hag ridden by the prospect of a second world war which he expected to be apocalyptic He often gets credit for being brilliantly prescient but his expectation was probably the fruit of dogmatic pessimism than of astute observation of world politics though the book was published in 1933 I m guessing it was probably actually written before Hitler became Chancellor And the actual World War II though bad enough was far less apocalyptic than Hilton imagined it would be The book is basically a call to preserve the human race s cultural artistic and philosophical patrimony in the face of its anticipated near total annihilation in the coming warAnother philosophical undercurrent here is Platonism which is clearly discernible in the glorification of the supposedly benevolent rule of what are in effect philosopher kings morally and intellectually far superior to the docile subject population that they rule for its own good in the disparaging of emotion and passion as a uvenile enemy of exalted Reason and in the upholding of moderation between two extremes as the all purpose ideal for human conduct Hilton s prep school and Cambridge Univ education of course in his day would have steeped him in classical thought He also has no real understanding of the religious mindset than a tone deaf person has of music with the difference that those of us who are tone deaf usually understand that we can t perceive something whereas that s not an awareness that troubles Hilton Despite the setting of much of the story in Tibet actual Eastern philosophy and Tibetan Buddhism doesn t furnish any real contribution to the. 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 Ideology behind Shangri La None of Hilton s basic premises are very similar to mine But a real value of the novel for me was the way it encouraged me to compare and contrast my ideas with his and to gain insights from that process along the waySome reviewers have expressed dissatisfaction with the ending and without resorting to spoilers I can say that I understand why However I don t share that dissatisfaction IMO the ending was perfectly crafted both to preserve the element of mystery and ambiguity that s often seen as essential in the speculative fiction tradition and importantly to make a human element central to the story arc rather than reducing it exclusively to a message driven essay ust dressed up as fiction about human beings That s something the author deserves credit for as a writer For the life of me I have no idea why anyone dearly loves this book The narrative is plodding the characters boring and unsympathetic and the ending don t get me started on the ending This was a book club selection that I was actually excited about since its setting is the mystical Shangri La I thought it would be an Indiana Jones esue action and adventure in an exotic Asian setting What I got instead was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Boring Tibetans There s no action all they do is prattle on about how perfect existence in Shangri La is so perfect in fact it s painfully boring to read about The discussions are predictably didactic duh duh double duh I thought as each new mystery of life was revealed I am so glad that I checked this out from the library Now I can t wait to go check it back inCross posted at This Insignificant Cinder This is a fun read They did a pretty good Generation job with the film Given that Hilton was a major screenwriter that makes sense It is very Victorian in its feel a sort of Kipling esue yarn in which depression era westerners find themselves in a version of paradise The place is rather communistic with elements of free love that no doubt raised some eyebrows when it was published On the other hand the place is run by a Belgian cleric On the other hand their motto is all things in moderation even ethics It was a fun uick read and is recommended for anyone who enjoys 19th century tales of adventure 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 LaReading 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 purposeThe water isust 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 Lost Horizons is a very silly dumb book but charming and fun for all thatIt 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 Compare it to Sax Rohmer s The Insidious Drdescribed as and handsomer than the average Chinese Compare it to Sax Rohmer s The Insidious Dr 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 dumbIt indulges shamelessly in adolescent wish fulfillment A World Without Clothes 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 passageConrad 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 intimacyOh my God right Hoo boyBut 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 competentlySo I mean it s fine It reads uickly 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 yourselfust try to watch the eye rolling You can sprain those things During British colonial daysfour westerners are on their way to Peshawar in an aircraft when their pilot takes them to the mountains of Tibetwhere the aircraft crashesThey are rescued and taken to a
lamaseryIt does have some beautiful writingwhen describing the mountain scenery For adoes have some beautiful writingwhen describing the mountain scenery For a remained fairly interested to know why the four people were brought to Shangri Laand were being held thereagainst their willBut when the mystery was revealedit felt like an anti climax It also took away the rather favourable impression of the book I had till thenAs a fantasyit didn t appeal to menor as a vision of utopia The book describes the horrors of one war World War I and the possibility of a secondwhich was yet to beginat the timeA mixed bagwhich began wellbut left me disappointed with the ending I hummed Lara s Theme while reading most of Boris Pasternak s Doctor Zhivago a couple of years back Similarly the first two lines of this Burt Bacharach composition was inside my ears while reading this book Have you ever dreamed of a placeFar away from it allWhere the air you breathe is soft and cleanAnd children play in fields of greenAnd the sound of gunsDoesn t pound in your ears any Have you ever dreamed of a placeFar aw. 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.