This is a spectacular book. A kind houseguest left it as a thank you, and I had the time to devour it tonight. The book is non-fiction and describes (in 1st person) a journey taken by Rory Stewart, a young man from Scotland.
The kicker is that this journey is a WALK ACROSS AFGHANISTAN TWO WEEKS AFTER THE TALIBAN FELL. He walks alone when he can, but has compulsory (and rather unpleasant) escorts most of the time. This particular, 40 day journey is the last that he needs to be able to claim that he has “walked across Asia”.
Stewart is intelligent, observant, and erudite without being pompous or long-winded. He encounters a fragmented, brutal society shredded by 25 years of war and severely impacted by a terrain that is impossible to traverse quickly. This is NOT your typical, rosy/sappy “memoirs of a traveler” piece–given our current involvement in Afghanistan and Stewart’s highly incisive observations on the glaring cultural differences he encountered on his walk, I highly recommend this book!