It’s Throwback Thursday where we pick a random Thursday to review a Classic from literature. We hope you enjoy this very dusty jacket.
James Hilton (Adult Fiction)
It’s 1931 and the situation is dire in Baskul. The country is in the midst of a revolution and all of the white residents are being evacuated to Peshawar. Four passengers are loaded onto a plane lent by the Maharajah of Chandapore: a British consul (Hugh Conway), his vice-consul (Captain Charles Mallinson), a missionary (Miss Roberta Brinklow), and an American (Henry Barnard). After some time, all on board quickly realize that they have been kidnapped and being taken to an unknown destination. Their plane soon crash lands in the harsh and unforgiving Tibetan mountains and, before he dies, their pilot instructs them to go to a place called Shangri-La. With only the clothes on their backs, the small party begins their journey to a place thought only to exist in legend.
Hilton gives us a place that stands in stark contrast to the world Conway has experienced. He has seen the ravages of war and its effects are still with him—even after a decade has passed. During World War I, Conway has seen death, disease, and destruction. At Shangri-La, he sees only tranquility, serenity, and beauty. Because of his haunted past, he—more so than his fellow passengers—seems willing and anxious to embrace the charms and mystery of this newly discovered paradise.
Lost Horizon gives readers a wonderful and beautiful utopian lamasery where every care is met and every need satisfied. It is truly paradise found and for those who stumble upon it, their lives will never be the same. But this story also serves as a reminder that one man’s paradise may be another man’s prison and the only thing that may differentiate the two is freedom. If you had to stay, would it really be paradise? Conversely, if you could leave, would it really be prison?
I truly enjoyed this tale of a modern Garden of Eden and couldn’t help but ask myself this question as I turned the last page: “If I had ALL the time in the world, what would I do?” What would you do?
* Book cover image attributed to www.amazon.com