An Unexpected Light : Travels in Afghanistan, Paperback Book

An Unexpected Light : Travels in Afghanistan Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


"An Unexpected Light, Travels in Afghanistan" was greeted on publication by universal critical acclaim and is now widely acknowledged as the most influential contemporary work of Afghanistan.

Written on the eve of 9/11, at the height of Afghanistan's isolation from the world, Jason Elliot's uncannily prescient account of his winter journey through the country torn by civil war is as pertinent today as it was then.

Winner of the Thomas Cook/"Daily Telegraph" Travel Book Award in the UK and a "New York Times" Bestseller in the USA, it recounts the author's daring and passionate investigation into an extraordinary culture, first as a clandestine guest of the Mujaheddin during the Soviet occupation, and ten years later during the Taleban advance on the besieged capital, Kabul.

This new edition of "An Unexpected Light" is illustrated with the author's photographs and celebrates a classic work of travel literature. "Jason Elliot is that rare traveller who surrenders himself to people and places and this tale is a many-layered reconstruction of his experience...I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel". (Doris Lessing). ""An Unexpected Light" is often unexpectedly funny and constantly perceptive, but it is also profound". ("New York Times"). "What raises the book to the level of a classic is its intensely personal meditation on the magic of unplanned adventure, of the pain and pleasure of pushing into the unknown.

The whole book, like Elliot's travels themselves, operated on this heightened level". ("The Times").


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 496 pages, maps
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780330371629

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I really think that something about Central Asia brings out the most brilliant travel writing - Peter Levi, Kathleen Jamie and Jason Elliot all comment on the extraordinary light on 'the roof of the world' and it illuminates their prose. Some people may find Elliot's Robert Byron-infused writing somewhat florid, but I love the TE Lawrence school of sub-clauses. The centrepiece of the book, an alphabetical tour through Afghan history while imagining a flight over the country on the back of the Simorgh of Sufi legend, is breathtaking. An incredible encounter with a misunderstood country.

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