In The Waiting Land seasoned travel writer Dervla Murphy affectionately portrays the people of Nepal's different tribes, the customes of an ancient, complex civilization and the country's natural grandeur and beauty. With her special brand of Irish understatement, she revels in the unpredictability of her journey and in the surprises which make her travels in that unique cIn The Waiting Land seasoned travel writer Dervla Murphy affectionately portrays the people of Nepal's different tribes, the customes of an ancient, complex civilization and the country's natural grandeur and beauty. With her special brand of Irish understatement, she revels in the unpredictability of her journey and in the surprises which make her travels in that unique country such a stirring experience. Having settled in a hamlet in the Pokhara Valley to work at a Tibetan refugee camp, she makes her home in a tiny, vermin-infested room over a stall in the bazaar. In diary form, she describes her various journeys by air, by bicycle, and on foot into the remote Lantang region on the border of Tibet. Murphy's charm and sensitivity as a writer and traveler reveal not only the vitality of an ancient culture facing the challenge of Westernization, but the wonder and excitement of her marvelous adventures....
|Title||:||The Waiting Land|
|Number of Pages||:||575 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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The Waiting Land Reviews
My first Dervla Murphy, who I've been meaning to read for some time, and I enjoyed it immensely. Extraordinarily brilliant travel writing, with a delightful eye for detail that brings to life Nepal in the mid-1960s. Definitely reading more of her books. Very highly recommended.
When I moved to Singapore a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if there was a library system or not, so packed along a box of books from my "bought them and will get around to reading them someday” shelf. The Waiting Land was among them, and as I’m finally taking the family to Kathmandu this Christmas, I thought I would read this before going. It’s a fascinating and extremely well-written story, but one can imagine my surprise when about 20 pages in, I began seeing my usual vertical pencil lines in the margins that I add to a lot of my travel books – a sure indication that I’ve read this before. But yet no single incident in the whole book rang a bell with me – even the entire final section called “On Foot To Langtang,” which recounts the very route taken during my own trek to the Tibetan border some 23 years ago (and a good 20 years since Murphy's own trek), and which I can only assume played into my original decision to purchase and read this book in the first place. On top of which, my pencil notations rarely highlight anything of particular wisdom or humor, so I can only conclude that I must have read this book during my pre-trek week in Kathmandu over endless cups of milk tea and “special brownies” that left my abilities for future recollection well-impaired. As to the book itself, it is a minor classic of mid-20th century travel writing, focusing on several months spend working with Tibetan refugees in Nepal’s Pokhara valley, (as well as lengthy sections on Kathmandu itself and the aforementioned trek to Langtang). Murphy is a force of nature who writes with winning and self-deprecating humor – for fans of News from Tartary, picture Ella Maillart’s hardiness and unflappability combined with Peter Fleming’s sense of humor. Unfortunately, while she was a prolific writer and traveler, I am a travel reader of fairly limited range – basically Central Asia east to Japan and southeast through Indonesia – and so I probably won’t read any of her other (and most probably also excellent) books, which focus on Africa, India, South America and her own Ireland. It’s worth adding a few quotes that I particularly enjoyed, to illustrate her style and wit, which flow so naturally compared to the more forced attempts of so many similar writers, such as Pico Iyer in his much more famous Video Nights in Kathmandu (which I also recently read/reviewed): “About a mile from the gompa I saw my first snow leopard trap – a crude contrivance of wooden stakes built around a deep pit and looking as though it would delude none but the most seriously retarded leopard.” “This development prompted Kay to make her excuses and retire with dignity. A couple of hours later I also retired, without dignity, but feeling very happy indeed after four or five pints of what James Morris has so aptly called “that unique species of alcoholic porridge.”
I love Dervla Murphy, but this is my least favourite of her books. At the time of reading, I felt there was something lacking. Where was that irascible traveller with her unmistakable voice? This could have been written by a different author.Later, I found an explanation from Murphy herself:I had gone there to work in a Tibetan refugee camp as a volunteer sponsored by an international agency. Before leaving London I had had to sign a statement promising not to use information gained in the course of my work as raw material for writing or broadcasting... Gradually, I found out certain things that, if used as raw material for writing or broadcasting, would have caused a minor but noisome international scandal... I had been chosen for the Nepal job by a man of flawless integrity who would suffer the consequences should I produce the best-seller that was tucked away in my Nepal journal. So, instead, I produced The Waiting Land, a light-hearted account of an experience that had not been light-hearted. In retrospect, I believe I made the wrong decision. I am not proud of having been a timid accessory to embezzlement.... Twenty years ago, misplaced loyalty muzzled me. It wouldn’t now. Some organisations, agencies and institutions deserve not loyalty but exposure. Full article at Dervla Murphy's site (Scroll down to "SECOND THOUGHTS")So, unless you feel the need to read all Murphy's work, you could skip this one. Her other books have a lot more to offer ( if you haven't read them yet, try Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle , Where the Indus Is Young: Walking to Baltistan , or The Ukimwi Road ).
What Murphy wrote about Nepal some 50 years ago is still relevant : ".. But no one merely 'likes Nepal; Nepal weaves a net out of splendor and pettiness, squalor and color,wisdom and innocence, tranquility and gaiety, complacence and discontent, indolence and energy, generosity and cunning, freedom and bondage -- and in this bewildering mesh foreign hearts are trapped, often to their won dismay." The book is enumeration of these contradictions she saw in her journey and she has been very frank in expressing her feeling.
After thoroughly enjoying Murphy’s Where the Indus is Young, I thought I’d hop straight into another of her travelogues. The Waiting Land has me split in the middle, as it focuses more on the human geography, rather than the physical, which is what enchanted me o much with her trip to Baltistan. However, there are some beautiful glimpses of Nepal’s wilderness. Most of all, this book is missing Rachel’s humour!
Wonderful travel diary by an Irish woman who moved to Nepal in the 70s to help Tibetan refugees. She seems to have a knack for adventure, a love of nature, and a talent for understated humour:"Sept 18. Today I distinquished myself by getting lost for eight hours."
hardcore woman - way before her time..