An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan (Paperback)
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With a New Afterword by the Author
Part travelogue, part historical evocation, part personal quest, and part reflection on the joys and perils of passage, this acclaimed synthesis of description and insight remains as relevant today as when it first appeared. Jason Elliot's An Unexpected Light is a remarkable, poignant book about Afghanistan and a heartfelt reflection on the experience of travel itself.
About the Author
Jason Elliot is the author of An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan, which was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in London.
“A work of substance and style, witty and moving by turns, never less than wholly passionate . . . 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 Times (London)
“The surprise of the year: a lyrical, unrestrained and enthralling account of a journey into Afghanistan . . . I loved this book.” —Daily Telegraph
“This extraordinary debut is an account of Elliot's two visits to Afghanistan. . . The result is some of the finest travel writing in recent years. With its luminous descriptions of the people, the landscape (even when pockmarked by landmines), and Sufism, this book has all the hallmarks of a classic, and it puts Elliot in the same league as Robert Byron and Bruce Chatwin.” —Library Journal
“An Unexpected Light is often unexpectedly funny and constantly perceptive, but it is also profound.” —Jason Goodwin, The New York Times Book Review
“Elliot is an enthralling writer with a great gift for evoking places, people and atmosphere, from the pastoral calm of a fertile valley to the terrifying sights and sounds of war.” —Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times
“Lyrical . . . alluring . . . a poignant remembrance, hued in the mixed reds of war and sunset, that comes close to a place that has already changed beyond imagination.” —Paula Newberg, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
“Humorous, honest and wry . . . [Elliot's] literary talents are exceptional. His sonorous prose moves forward with the purposeful grace of a river.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“An Unexpected Light is an unexpected gift . . . Elliot's account is vivid and should broaden the reader's comprehension of an often misunderstood country.” —Jonathan Shipley, Columbus Dispatch
“An unexpected gift…Elliot's account is vivid and should broaden the reader's comprehension of an often misunderstood country.” —Jonathan Shipley, The Columbus Dispatch
“If Elliot hasn't already been likened to T. E. Lawrence, then I'll do the honors now.” —The Guardian (London)
“The author's impressive knowledge of Afghanistan's history, his seemingly boundless affection for its people, his understanding and respect for their culture and religion, and his flair for the language make this more than a casual travelogue. It is a plaintive love song whose discordant notes are provided by daily encounters with violence, hardship, and poverty.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Elliot's observational gems, when glimpsed as a whole, offer a fascinating mosaic of revelations.…Illuminating, astute, and timely.” —USA Today
“An Unexpected Light thoughtfully lays out new and overlooked information that policy-makers in the U.S. and the West as a whole need when trying to decide what may work.” —Robert A. Lincoln, Richmond-Times Dispatch
“I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel.” —Doris Lessing
“An astonishing debut: one of the most remarkable travel books this decade.” —Willam Dalrymple