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Good Day and Good Read

March 21, 2009

Lost Horizon: A Novel Lost Horizon: A Novel by James Hilton

My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
The plane that launched a thousand derivatives…

Before there was the ABC juggernaut that is LOST, there was James Hilton‘s afternoon read Lost Horizon. This fantastical tale, billed as the first paperback, introduced four characters, and a world audience, to Shangri-La, a time capsule of knowledge and wisdom hidden in the crevasses of the Himalayas.

The conceit: a plane crashes and the motley crew of survivors (two British officials, and American, and a missionary) are left to fend for themselves. When a traveling party arrives from a neighboring lamasa, the true adventure begins. Hilton weaves themes of “East” versus “West,” apocalypse and utopia, and soteriology into his yarn while begging the question: is it the lunacy of humans or the will of God that “creates” our sense of existential crisis…or is it the lunacy of humans and God? Perhaps phrased another way: the line between creative genius and madman is blurred indeed.

The book clips along in eleven short chapters making it an easy read for your morning commute. You’ll even find yourself asking “What Would Edward Said Do” in certain passages, but that’s part of the fun in reading a book almost a hundred years old…You may even ask yourself (although quietly, if you’re in public) to examine how much free will we truly have. Do we have a moral imperative to save society or to save ourselves?

Fans of LOST, Battlestar Galactica (the post-millennial version), and Testament(the graphic novel) will appreciate this mythic grandfather story. They may also be curious to know that Lost Horizon spawned both a book sequel, a movie, and a musical. Hopefully, ABC learned their musical lesson from Cop Rock.



Orientalism

View all my reviews.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2009 9:56 pm

    Chad, I’ve never read your blog before, but I always read WordPress blogs that contain Nietzsche and the first name David.

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