Books we like: Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Before we went to Tibet, I kept reading and reading about the place, and the more I read, the more I felt that there was something that I did not understand. Being too young to know the movie, I was only able to tell that all those guide-books made allusions to a myth, a secret or a dream shared by everyone but myself.

Those guide-books spoke in hushed voices about a place called “Shangri-La”, leaving me with the impression that I should long to be there. Where to find this place was less clear. I was relieved when I finally discovered that “Shangri-La” is a fictional place in James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon”.

The plot of the novel reads like a screenplay for a Hollywood movie. The main character, Conway, is “tall and extremely good-looking, and not only excelled at games but walked off with every conceivable kind of school-prize”. Everyone who ever met him remembers him well, yet no one is very close to him. Well, that’s a classic Hollywood hero, isn’t he?

At the age of 37, he, alongside with three other passengers of the same air-plane, is kidnapped. Instead of being killed or traded for a ransom, they are taken to an enormously beautiful and magical valley at the border of the Himalayan range, ruled by a lamasery and “the most isolated spot I ever set eyes on. A separate culture might flourish here without contamination from the outside world”. The story is about how they slowly discover all about the nature of the paradise they have been brought to, and how some of them still want to escape.

James Hilton’s novel is an entertaining read that has very little do with the real Tibet. Instead, it will teach you all about the perception of Tibet in the West and about all the dreams and expectations connected to this country.

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8 thoughts on “Books we like: Lost Horizon by James Hilton

  1. luciledegodoy

    I read this book too and that became the image of Tibet in my head…I scheduled a trip to Tibet which would have happened a week after 09/11 but the travel agency cancelled it as we’re flying with airlines that were in the red alert. Bet is still in my dreams’ list. Reading your blog since day one has brought my dream back to the top of the list. Thanks.
    PS. Your blog is looking so beautiful and inviting…congrats! I still remember how it was before the courses. Very smart to place the social media links at the end of the post. Chapeau.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. perelincolors

      I hope you’ll get another chance to travel to Tibet one day! I can total see how this book would shape an image of Tibet. And even though Tibet might not be exactly like in the book, it is a very exciting travel destination and I am sure you will not be disappointed. And yes, the Blogging U courses are great, I don’t think I would have gotten so far without them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandi

    Have you ever seen the movie of Lost Horizon with Ronald Colman? Old black and white film, but it is good for its day. I have read Random Harvest (also by J Hilton)– I should look for Lost Horizon (the book; I own the movie).


      1. Sandi

        We had our kids watch it a few years ago, but they didn’t love it as I had. It is black-and-white, and the cinematography is not the greatest, but the allure of the mystical place that no one knows about still gets me. “Lost Horizon” is one of my mother’s favorite movies, but she’s a huge Ronald Colman fan, as am I: Colman plays Syndey Carton in the old black/white “Tale of Two Cities,” and he also stars in “Random Harvest,” which is a better film than “Lost Horizon,” in my view.

        Liked by 1 person

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