Pico Iyer-one of the most compelling and profoundly provocative travel writers-invites us to accompany him on an array of exotic explorations, from L.A. to Yemen to Haiti and Ethiopia, from a Bolivian prison to a hidden monastery in Tibet. He goes to Cambodia, where the main tourist attraction is a collection of skulls from the Khmer Rouge killing fields, and travels through southern Arabia in the weeks before 11 September 2001. He practices meditation with Leonard Cohen and discusses geopolitics with the Dalai Lama, travels to Easter Island and through the imaginative terrains of W.G. Sebald and Kazuo Ishiguro, weaving physical and psychological challenges together into a seamless narrative.
Throughout his travels, the familiar thrill of adventure is haunted by the unsettling questions that arise for Iyer everywhere he goes: How do we reconcile suffering with the sunlight often found around it? How does the foreign instruct the traveler, precisely by discomfiting him? And, how does travel take us more deeply into reality, both within us and without? Intensely affecting, Iyer’s explorations are a road map of thinking in new ways about our changing world.