An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

Jason Elliot / Sep 17, 2019

An Unexpected Light Travels in Afghanistan Part historical evocation part travelogue and part personal quest An Unexpected Light is the account of Elliot s journey through Afghanistan a country considered off limits to travelers for twenty

  • Title: An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan
  • Author: Jason Elliot
  • ISBN: 9780330371629
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Paperback
  • Part historical evocation, part travelogue, and part personal quest, An Unexpected Light is the account of Elliot s journey through Afghanistan, a country considered off limits to travelers for twenty years Aware of the risks involved, but determined to explore what he could of the Afghan people and culture, Elliot leaves the relative security of Kabul He travels by footPart historical evocation, part travelogue, and part personal quest, An Unexpected Light is the account of Elliot s journey through Afghanistan, a country considered off limits to travelers for twenty years Aware of the risks involved, but determined to explore what he could of the Afghan people and culture, Elliot leaves the relative security of Kabul He travels by foot and on horseback, and hitches rides on trucks that eventually lead him into the snowbound mountains of the North toward Uzbekistan, the former battlefields of the Soviet army s hidden war Here the Afghan landscape kindles a recollection of the author s life ten years earlier, when he fought with the anti Soviet mujaheddin resistance during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan Weaving different Afghan times and visits with revealing insights on matters ranging from antipersonnel mines to Sufism, Elliot has created a narrative mosaic of startling prose that captures perfectly the powerful allure of a seldom glimpsed world.

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    • Best Read [Jason Elliot] Ç An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan || [Classics Book] PDF ê
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    About "Jason Elliot"

      • Jason Elliot

        Jason Elliot Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan book, this is one of the most wanted Jason Elliot author readers around the world.


    559 Comments

    1. This is a beautifully written, detailed account of the time Jason Elliot spent in Afghanistan. Between the first and second trips, the Mujaheddin won the battle against the Soviets, and thngs went from bad to worse. Only someone with his talents and connections could have safely made this trip. With his mother's facility for languages and his father's connections to the Afghan Muslim community, he had a head start. I met Jason shortly after his first trip to Afghanistan, and he was full of stori [...]


    2. This book is what started my fascination with the middle east, especially Afghanistan. It is a panoramic view, well-written and searching,. As a male, Elliot had the freedom to travel freely, which women in that culture would be denied, so we see from a different perspective. He finds himself in real danger at time, has more reflective moments, tells and receives stories, finds comrades along the way. His travels are as much personal quest as historical research and this adds extra depth and ric [...]


    3. It was almost with a heavy heart that I finished the last chapter in Jason Elliot’s “An Unexpected Light”. This is one of few books I’ve read where I truly felt like the author’s travelling companion. Mr. Elliot is certainly gifted. He weaves together the sights and sounds of Afghanistan together with history, both ancient and recent, and encounters with the fiercely independent people.Afghanistan has long been a fascination for me having always been portrayed in the news as a violent [...]


    4. I never felt that Jason Elliot's An Unexpected Light lived up to its glowing reviews by authors whom I love (e.g. William Dalrymple). For one thing, for a book that's a hybrid memoir-travelogue, Elliot never really explained why he was so fascinated by Afghanistan in the first place that he went to fight in the war against in the Russians. He was nineteen years old the first time he visited Afghanistan, but fighting in someone else's war (and nearly dying) certainly requires some sort of explan [...]



    5. This book is a gem. The author's prose style is elegantly suited to his subject matter, capturing the wonderful complexities and nuances of Afghanistan's breathtaking physical terrain and its people, whether in urban Kabul, its remote regional centers, or its far-flung mountain villages, and all in the aftermath of the disastrous Russian occupation. Meanwhile, it is the 1990s, and civil warfare continues as the Kabul government resists the increasing military pressure from Taliban forces.The jou [...]


    6. Wow. What a surprise this book was. Jason Elliot is quite a writer and this book is full of wonder, adventure and humanity. It has much to share on the history and culture of an area of the world that is America's current quagmire. Jason traveled alone and his remarkable adventures were a balm for this currently office and duty bound traveler. The title of the book speaks directly to the spirit of the people of Afganistan he experienced. He writes "Alone again and writing up the days events by c [...]


    7. A fascinating look at a war-torn country during one of the few years of peace that Afghanistan has had in the past 30+ years. Elliot shows the true soul of Afghanistan, not the repressive fundamentalist boogieman of most American's nightmares, but a loving and caring people with a fierce determination to survive against the worst odds. One of my favorite works of travel literature.


    8. astounding. After reading Rory Stewart's book about walking across Afghanistan I read this one and preferred it. Beautiful sketches of the mujahideen, Sufism, traveling, the aid community, the war, etc.


    9. This is one of my favorite travel books because not only is it well-written and filled with a quiet beauty, but it's filled with facts. I love a writer who can express himself and present himself in an intelligent manor. This is another book which I end up giving away often.


    10. A lyrical and poetic travel book. It is beautifully written and you understand how he immersed himself in the country


    11. On page 471, Elliot reveals his personal challenge: how to be still in the face of experience so that the task of keen observation is funneled neither towards a previously used emotion, nor directed towards an abstracted intellectual exercise. His goal is to "fashion some intermediary vessel in which to bear the raw impressions of life"so that he can experience "a sort of stretching, a deepening of one's ability to stand up to life and absorb it as it happens."Elliot thereby himself gives us the [...]


    12. Although it took a while to adjust to the slow pace Elliot’s narrative is gripping and vividly brings the people and places he meets and visits to life. His description of the heart pounding truck journey in the north-east was particularly gripping, with the imagery of the precarious route far above the white torrents in the valley below staying with me long after I’d put the book down. However I have skipped through several of Elliot’s essay like asides (the section on the roots of Dervis [...]


    13. This is a remarkable travel book. It was written in 1999, as the Taliban was attempting to extend its control over Afghanistan, still not in control of Kabul, but in power in the south of the country and battling for control of the territory around Herat. One has to marvel at the courage and audacity of the author, who travels to Kabul, throughout the north of the country and to Herat, most of the time on his own. He relies on the goodwill of the Afghans, with whom he is, obviously, particularly [...]


    14. Jason Elliot had an interest in visiting Afghanistan and found a way to enter the country. Several years later he desired to go back and spent a number of months traveling the country alone. This second trip was taken with the idea of writing a book about the country and the people. The book jacket calls this “part travelogue, part historical evocation, part personal quest and part reflection on the joys and perils of passage.” The actual travel sections were interesting as well as the peopl [...]


    15. Well-written travel book set in war-torn Afghanistan about two decades ago. I found myself distracted by my awareness of what would come next, or for us, what is happening there now. Yet in some ways, it's too recent to be called a "historical" travel book. One of those books I will have to read again someday to appreciate further, I guess. Though it is amazing the pieces of earth that have been fought over for centuries with little resolution, and the fortitude of those who try to make a life i [...]


    16. This is a long book and the pace is by foot -- not jet, so it's a slow read. If you adjust to the pace (I read it recovering from surgery), it's a great read with good writing, adventure, history, and personal growth and philosophy. Much more than I expected and a treasure.


    17. I really did enjoy this book thoroughly, as it illuminated a country that I had not previously thought much about except in an abstract way, a thoroughly American absent-minded, conceited way (Afghanistan? Isn't that in the middle east somewhere, where they shipped troops to fight terrorism?). The author clearly feels a strong kinship toward the country and its people, and I think he earnestly tries to do them credit. I appreciated his perspective, his honesty, and his adventurous spirit.That be [...]


    18. Very readable, and a good accompaniment / antidote to the stauration (and stereotypical) media coverage of events in Afghanistan in recent times.The parts that interest me most are the cultural observations - the "humanising" of a people who are otherwise seen as exotic, unfathomable 'others'. I was fascinated by the observations and experiences Elliot has with the very severe and serious looking Afghans in front of the camera, and the warmth and hospitality and cheerfulness he encounters.It was [...]


    19. This is what I wrote when I was about a quarter into it:An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot. It was published in 1999 when the Taliban was first coming into power. It is interesting, although it is sort of the hunky-dory version of his trip across Afghanistan by foot, horse, truck. He has a guide for some of it but mostly he is an Englishman with rudimentary Persian (at least in the beginning) traveling on his own and getting by on his wits and his trust in fate. It is in [...]


    20. This book had some outstanding moments that I eagerly read and sections that I practically skipped. That being said, it has something for everyone as it combines well-researched historical explanations with personal, reflective anecdotes, musings on religion and culture, and vivid descriptions of the Afghan countryside. The latter I often felt bordered on too much (I tend to prefer a starker Hemingway descriptiont to the point!) and I sometimes wondered how many metaphors could be on one page. I [...]


    21. I loved this book because I spent time in Afghanistan in 1973. Jason Elliot was born in 1975 and spent time in Afghanistan in 1994 when he was 19 and 2004 when he was 29. I was 18 when I was in Afghanistan. I was there the year before the King was deposed and the political climate totally changed.What I loved about this book is the fact that by reading Jason Elliot's take so many years later, I realize and appreciate the fact that I really got Afghanistan as an 18 year old. So much of what he se [...]


    22. I remember from a delirium of fatigue collapsing against a rocky mound that turned out to be a camel, and an old man bringing me tea and pressing fragments of bread from his hand into mine with a muttered blessing.Personally, I can't even figure out how to get to the Pacific Northwest. Maybe not even to nearest state. And with no real interest in world travel, I have no idea why I picked this up. Sure, it has that distasteful stink of an Englishman in the East and some truly awful metaphors, but [...]


    23. I admire travelers like Jason Elliot who seem to able to experience a place and its peoples more deeply than 99% of the rest of us. I especially enjoyed the parts where he questioned why he was there, or whether he should continue. You could call it wandering with purpose, and its enhanced by some knowledge and a lot of curiosity. Great first book. The parts I didn't like include the flight on a giant bird over parts of Afghanistan (to get the lay of the land), and many parts where it seems like [...]


    24. As a wielder of prose, Elliot is a pleasant surprise--not because I expected less, but because I expected nothing at all having never heard of him before. His descriptions are something to aspire to, and as an example of creative nonfiction this book is top notch.Content wise, I was constantly aware that this book was written from an almost inherently colonialist perspective. Elliot does not seem disrespectful--quite the opposite--but there's no escaping that the book is more about a white Europ [...]


    25. This started out great because I was very interested in reading about Afghanistan, especially the Afghanistan that existed before the war we are currently fighting there. The people and how Elliot describes them is the best part - he has a genuine affection and admiration for the Afghan people and backs it up with stories of their kindness. Ultimately, however, the book is bogged down by the author's less than riveting account of every single thing he did while he was there, and it becomes tedio [...]


    26. I came to this book via "The Places in Between" by Rory Stewart and "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush" by Eric Newby.Both of the above earned a five star rating, as they were excellent in every way.Whilst Mr Elliot's writing is very good, it is too self indulgent to be considered as the best example in the field.Nevertheless, the story is a fascinating one - from fighting against the Russians with the mujahaddin to meeting the Taleban as they were taking Afghanistan.His travels are certainly worth [...]


    27. I first read this in 2001. Politics and Prose compiled a list of reading on Iraq and Afghanistan and I dug in. I needed to catch up on reading about the Middle East and had no grounding at all in the history, geography, or politics . of Afghanistan. I read it at a time when I was acutely aware of the light in an unfamiliar. I had moved South of the Equator and was struck but spring light in November and autumnal light in March. I reread this again in 2011 after reading a couple of memoirs of fel [...]


    28. While the prose was very readable and he was clearly well versed in the history of Afghanistan, I couldn't escape my loathing for the author's sheer sense of entitlement. It clouded my ability to appreciate the book. What well-heeled foreigner goes to a country expecting people suffering from the impacts of endless war to feed and house him? With no plan whatsoever, relying on strangers without a thought to how serious their daily struggle is and what an inconvenience and security risk he is? Ma [...]


    29. Mi piacciono i libri sull'Afghanista, mi piacciono i libri di viaggi, ma per terminare questo sto facendo 'na fatica! E' molto - troppo - personale per i miei gusti. Antepone sempre ciò che lui pensa, fa, o pensa di fare a quello che gli succede intorno. Per cui troppo spesso descrive se stesso che interagisce con l'ambiente, piuttosto che descrivere l'ambiente. Se il lettore è interessato all'autore (ad es. nei libri di Chatwin ho sempre pensato ci fosse troppo poco di lui!), il risultato è [...]


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