So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon by James Hilton
I have wanted to read this book since I was a child watching the movie version starring Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt on TV.
It is the story of a chance for healing given to a World War I veteran who has been psychologically damaged by the war and living out his life as consular staff in remote outposts of the British Empire. Escaping from an Afghan city in turmoil in an air rescue mission, Hugh Conway and three others discover that their pilot has hijacked the plane. Instead of taking them to safety in India, they are flown to the most remote region of Tibet and saved from freezing to death by the lamas of a remote Buddhist monastery called Shangri-La.
Written during the Great Depression, the book is a Utopian novel that describes Shangri-La as a haven in a world set on self-destruction that promotes a philosophy mixing Buddhist and Christian values and holding a secret to extremely long life. Conway and his three companions each react differently to the environment, but the story is about the healing nature of the place on Conway's damaged soul.
The book suffers from undeveloped and stereotyped female characters, but James Hilton's prose is still a delight to read. It has instilled a desire in me to see the 1937 Frank Capra film again that was restored in 1986 and released on DVD in 1999.


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