Books: Video Night in Kathmandu

I bought my copy of ‘Video Night in Kathmandu’ some time back, maybe it was five years ago, I honestly can’t remember. This was after I’d given up looking for it, having spent months scouring all the bookshops in Kuala Lumpur and failing to find it anywhere.
Then about a year after I stopped searching, I saw the book in a store right here in KL. I’d heard of what a good writer Pico Iyer was, so I bought it and started reading immediately.

I’m thoroughly ashamed to say that I didn’t complete ‘Video Night’. I read the first two essays on Bali and Tibet but never went beyond that. It was strange, but when I read the book then, I didn’t like it (sorry).

I found Pico Iyer a bit too analytical, too labourious, too heavy. He annoyed me. I knew he was brilliant, but I didn’t like him. I remember thinking: Why does he have to go so deep into Bali? It’s a beautiful island; why does he have to over-analyse so much? 

I eventually stopped reading. All these years, his book stayed on my shelf – unfinished, reminding me how unsophisticated and uncultured I was. How I was unable to appreciate good writing.

Then all of a sudden Pico Iyer kept popping up everywhere- in Boston.comThe Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times and I’m sure in a whole lot of other places I didn’t know about. These articles were such good reads – well-written and full of insight, wisdom and clever stuff, and I thought, Wait, hang on. Hang on a sec.  I need to start reading him again. 

And so I did. A few days ago, I re-read ‘The Underground Overland Invasion’, his piece on Tibet and fell in love with it. Properly, this time.

And yes, he really is brilliant. Pico Iyer writes beautifully. You just need to wait a little for me to tell you just how beautiful.


© 2012 – 2014, Anis. All rights reserved.

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1 Response

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