In Xanadu

Dalrymple, William. In Xanadu: a Quest.Melbourne: Lonely Planet Publications, 2000.

Right off the bat I have to say I love an author who uses the word “churlish.” I could tell In Xanadu was going to be a crazy ride when he apologizes in his dedication (who does that?). William Dalrymple takes us on a journey from Lebanon to Inner Mongolia, following the historic path of Marco Polo (Travels). Dalrymple’s ultimate goal is to reach the famed palace of Xanadu, of Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” fame. For the first half of his expedition he is accompanied by savvy traveler, Laura. The extraordinary thing is he met her at a dinner party just a few weeks before his departure. She just invited herself along because that’s the type of person she is. From the way Dalrymple describes her, he sounds a little afraid of her. The second half of his journey is with newly ex-girlfriend, Laura. While not as fierce as Laura, Louisa has endearing qualities all her own. I don’t think I will spoil it for anyone when I say they do make it to Xanadu, despite many mishaps along the way.

Quote that made me laugh out loud: “Had it not been for the machine guns they both were holding it might have been a homely scene” (p 23).

Reason read: William Dalrymple followed Marco Polo’s steps in In Xanadu. Marco Polo died in January.

Author fact: Dalrymple wrote In Xanadu when he was just 22 years old. It was his first book.

Book trivia: unfortunately, there are no photographs in In Xanadu except for an author photo in the front. Bummer.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “In the Footsteps Of…” (p 100).

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