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.
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.
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.
The movie version is an all-time classic, but it is good to revisit the original story again (and again).
There is nothing quite like it--fantasy, romance, and utopian vision rolled into one. Prophetic of the age of darkness that was about to tall over the world.
Have not heard him as a reader before--slightly below the very best Audible "voices."
Extreme relief that it lived up to my recollections of having read it in youth.
Sadness that there really are no longer any places beyond the edges of maps. It is flabbergasting that this could be the source material for a classic movie (1937?) and then one of the worst remakes ever--the musical version from 1973.
I fell in love with this book when I was a kid and have read it several times in my life. In many ways it shaped my own concepts of spiritual beliefs, of living in a calm settled tranquility. I always took away a more profound belief in the existence of Shangri-La, and in many ways the book always seem to transfix me with a mystical power. This audio book did not do this. The reader was very literal in the way he approached and read this timeless classic. The characters become somewhat cynical, lifeless and cold. All the elements of mystery where gone or missing. There was no sense of beauty of this extraordinary place and time. Yes time was suspended, but it was in the long drawn out reading of the reader. Finally half way through the recording I had to increase the play speed to 1.25 to get finish it.
If you like pauses between each sentence, get this book. Aack! Drove me crazy.
Yes, Maybe with a different narrator. As stated above it is an intriguing story with some depth to both plot and characters.
The originality of the plot and the understanding of coming future events when written in early 1930's.
The narrator's expression and tonality lacked empathy for the different traits of the characters.
The compelling human search by us all for our own personal lost utopia.
I loved the ending as it left the reader with the question of the reality of this search as it relates to the characters in the book and also within the readers own life.
The narrator reads this book much too slowly. When I listen to a book, I like to sometimes follow along with a hard copy. The book is better than the audio in this instance.
New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.
A say old Chap, keep a stiff upper lip and don't fall asleep during my slow talking. My lack of ambition and lack of passion for anything makes me a perfect candidate for the High Lama. Although my pregnant pauses between sentences are longer then the High Lama's, he can talk even slower then me. Here in Shangri-La were moderation is the up most value in life, we passionless cowards are going to repopulate the world once man has destroyed it. Now, even though I am 37 and have never had much interest in women, if you live in our valley and want another man's wife, it is only good manners for him to let you have her. As any gentleman knows manners are the only way to live.
... 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
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