Celebrating the 70th anniversary of this magical and well-loved classic. Following a plane crash, Conway, a British consul; his deputy; a missionary; and an American financier find themselves in the enigmatic snow-capped mountains of uncharted Tibet. Here they discover a seemingly perfect hidden community where they are welcomed with gracious hospitality. Intrigued by its mystery, the travelers set about discovering the secret hidden at the shimmering heart of Shangri-La.
©2010 James Hilton (P)2010 Audible Ltd
I knew about this book but had never read it, and I haven't seen the movie. I knew it involved a mystical place called Shangri-La, but that was it. I listened to the audible version, and enjoyed it very much. It's set post-WWI, an era I am drawn to, mostly because my grandfather served with the army in France. I wish I knew more about his experience, but he would never talk about it, even to my father.
Lost Horizon features an interesting narrative structure in that the story is mostly told third hand by a neurologist who hears the story from a novelist (Rutherford) who got the story from the main character, Hugh "Glory" Conway. Rutherford discovers Conway (whose remarkable personal, academic, and athletic qualities create an indelible impression on everyone he meets) in a mission hospital in China. Conway originally is suffering from amnesia, but when he regains his memories, he tells his story to Rutherford, who writes it down and gives it to the narrator. Then Conway disappears. The novel's epilogue leaves an interesting question in the mind of the reader, and I have my own preferred "answer."
When Conway and three companions are being evacuated from India during a revolution, their plane is hijacked and crashes in the mountains to the west of Tibet. The pilot dies, but the party is rescued and escorted to a lamasery, Shangri-La. I don't want to give away more of the plot, because it is so wonderful to discover it for the first time. I think I might have wanted to stay in Shangri-La, were I given the chance. I just love the philosophy of the monks: moderation. Nothing is particularly right or wrong, so there's little need for a crime-punishment mentality, which really bothers two of the kidnapped hostages. In my opinion, the treatment of time at the lamasery is the most fascinating aspect of Hilton's imagination -- especially in contrast with the experiences of people who survived WWI, escaped from a violent revolution, and lived through a plane crash -- and is the most remarkable feature of this novel.
The reader of the audible book is fine, but it's not really a "performance" narration. It suited me, even though I did not like the voice given to Miss Brinklow -- one of the kidnapped evacuees. Other voices were subtly distinct and not distracting.
I'm currently reading Hilton's book, Random Harvest, and am enjoying the similarities in the themes and characterizations. I especially like the material regarding the impact of WWI on the individuals who fought in the trenches and the way society dealt with the returning veterans.
I first read this book when I was in the ninth grade and have merely contented myself and my memories with viewings of the movie since that time. But I was tempted, and I bought this recording.
How could I possibly have forgotten how marvelous this book was, how much better than the altered movie.
How much more meaning I receive now that I am MUCH older and have a bit more understanding of life. The book is not merely an adventure, it is a philosophy. The philosophy of moderation is a wonderful thought and a guide to living.
About the only thing wrong with this production is that the reader is not Ronald Coleman.
I realize that for many "Lost Horizon" is an iconic book in addition to being an iconic movie from the 1930's with the wonderful Ronald Colman as Conway. I have read the book at least twice over the years since first seeing the movie, and have now finished listening to the audio version. The movie version made several key changes to the book, keeping the essential theme of the Hilton's work while adding characters. In listening to the unabridged audio version I was reminded of the things I didn't like about the print version -- far too much in the way of musings by the narrator of the story (not the reader of the audio book but the literary character within the book) and the obnoxious young Englishman who is one of the four passengers on the diverted airplane.
The least interesting was as mentioned above -- Hilton's narrator who went on endlessly about Conway. The most interesting aspect of the story is the concept of a hidden country where people live long lives, past the normal age span, while perfecting their mind, character, and philosophy.
Conway's two interviews with the head of the monastery where he hears its history.
A wonderful movie was made of this book in the 1930's and a so-so version a few decades later.
I thought the narrator, Michael de Morgan, did a very good job with the various voices of the characters. His Conway was excellent, with some echoes of Ronald Colman for those of us who are fans of the original movie. My least favorite characterizations were the American from the midwest (he didn't quite get the accent but he made a yoeman's effort) and his elderly female English missionary was sometimes very difficult to understand (fortunately she doesn't have much dialog).
This seems to have been recorded when audiobooks were geared toward "reading for the blind"...before audiobooks became more mainstream. I think as audiobooks became more mainstream, standards became higher and narrators are now asked to act/perform, and producers and/or directors are involved to audit quality. This narrator has a fantastic and fitting voice but doesn't seem to act out the story. There are awkward pauses, the characters don't really come to life, and there is background noise. This is one of my all time favorite stories so I still enjoyed it. If I were not already in love with it, however, I don't believe this audiobook would have captured my attention enough and I'd have dismissed it. I would love to hear a re-record of Lost Horizon.
In a heartbeat.
Please re-record this book.
If you like pauses between each sentence, get this book. Aack! Drove me crazy.
A mysterious valley--perhaps real--existing within the protection of high mountains holds things of beauty and wisdom. The story leaves many ideas to ponder. Maybe even more timely today than when it was written!
Made out to be such a great read, but it failed to deliver. It seemed like the plot was good foreplay, but the direction it quickly took never came through. It left this reader very unsatisfied. The reading performance didn't compensate.
Hilton's story is a classic, well worth the listen. It makes you (or at least, it made me) imagine being in Shangri-la, with no cares at all. A most inviting place. The negative here is the performance. De Morgan's reading is fine, most of his voices are quite good, but the production quality is lacking. At least three times I heard something falling in the background. And the pace is interminable (a digital reworking could clean things up quite a bit). Loooong pauses are frequent. But I recommend you put those problems aside and just listen. I've said before here, classics become classics for a reason. "The Lost Horizon" is well deserving of the honor.
... Hidden in a valley deep in the Tibetan Himalayas ( Him - ahh - lee - yers ) where the sun shines - the honey flows - and the Monks and peasants live in life prolonging Nirvana - the victims of an audacious kidnap ( in the best possible taste ) discover the real reason for their abduction.
It is a story well known to those of us now in our 50's and beyond but since the demise of the Sunday afternoon feature film, 'Lost Horizon' starring Ronald Coleman is seldom shown. Here the story is read by Michael de Morgan with a respect for it's genre and age - one of the great imaginative adventures of the between wars era.
Excitement - Romance - adventure - Humour - everything is here for a thumping good listen - it deserves to be re-discovered by a new generation.
"Still worth a listen"
A classic that I have never got around to reading. More than a little dated now but still worth a listen as long as you do not expect to much, ideal for late night listening or that journey in the car where you can not or should not be concentrating on anything but your driving.
Well read in a way that fits the period, put it on in the car and let it wash over you and the journey will go much quicker
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.