Danziger's Trvls-V994

Nick Danziger, Author
Nick Danziger, Author Vintage Books USA $15 (426p) ISBN 978-0-679-73994-4
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
In 1984, 26-year-old artist Danziger set off from London with a grant to trace the ancient trade routes between western Europe and China, intending ``to bring a greater richness to our British society, and extend our understanding of the world.'' Determined to travel by land, he negotiated a colorful but treacherous route through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, only rarely having been able to obtain requisite visas and not infrequently endangering his life. It is impossible not to admire Danziger's daring and his ingenuity in surmounting cultural, linguistic and legal barriers: he contacts Afghan rebels in Iran to smuggle himself across their border and stays with them as they endure Soviet raids; he evades Pakistani intelligence agents to bluff and bribe his way into China, becoming the first foreigner, he claims, to cross the Khunjerab Pass in 35 years. But readers may question the relevance of Danziger's missionthe narration of his maneuverings (including amorous encounters with women who are otherwise omitted in his book) overshadows observations of the peoples and cultures; moreover, he put himself and those who helped him at risk. The uneven prose reveals an affable but callow man, unable to draw more than stock conclusions from his adventures: ``Revolution is born of a poverty which does not allow the sharing of material wealth. . . we are all the same under the skin.'' Readers will wish that the author's literary abilities were equal to his extraordinary exploits. Illustrated. (September)
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