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Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East Paperback – June 18, 1989

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Only in India would the American film Rambo be remade with the title role played by a woman--in a sari, no less! Only in Hong Kong would a man at a cocktail party pick up a woman with the line "What do you think of the dollar?" And only in Video Night in Kathmandu will you find detailed, unsettling portraits of a Far East in flux as experienced by Pico Iyer, a travel writer beyond compare. Tibet, China, India, and Thailand--these are among the objects of Iyer's wanderlust, the subjects of 11 essays chronicling his travels. In India, he explores the lucrative Bombay film business: "The process of turning an American movie into an Indian one was not very difficult ... but it did require a few changes.... the Indian hero had to be domesticated, supplied with a father, a mother, and a clutch of family complications." As one film director told him, " ... for example, Rambo must be given a sister who was raped." In Bangkok he finds the sex trade is well nigh impossible to avoid: " ... by the time a third official government tout approached me with the novel invitation: 'My friend. You no like birdwatching?' I was inclined to suspect that ornithology was not among his interests."

Pico Iyer is more than just a travel writer. For four years, he wrote about world affairs for Time, and he brings to these brilliant, comical, and poignant essays his extensive knowledge of politics and culture as well as a journalist's eye for the telling details. Video Night in Kathmandu provides both a stark, unsettling view of modern Asia and an exploration of the ambivalent attitudes Asians hold toward the West.

Review

"Quick-witted and perceptive...something more than a deft and entertaining traveler's tale." -- The New Yorker

"The book is filled with Iyer's enthusiasms and opinions, both engaging and provocative, and is...a sensual feast of rich impressions." -- Los Angeles Times

"A fresh approach, embellished by the author's humorous and perceptive style." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Mohawk haircuts in Bali. Yuppies in Hong Kong. In Bombay, not one but five Rambo rip-offs, complete with music and dancing. And in the new People's Republic of China, a restaurant that serves dishes called "Yes, Sir, Cheese My Baby," "A Legitimate Beef," and "Ike and Tuna Turner." These are some of the images -- comical, poignant, and unsettling -- that Pico Iyer brings back from the Far East in this brilliant book of travel reportage. A writer for Time, Iyer approaches his subject with a camera-sharp eye, a style that suggests a cross between Paul Theroux and Hunter Thompson, and a willingness to go beyond the obvious conclusions about the hybrid cultures of East and West.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
  • Paperback : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0679722165
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0679722168
  • Product Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.85 x 8 inches
  • Publisher : Vintage; Reprint Edition (June 18, 1989)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 34 ratings
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