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Publisher's Summary

Here is William Dalrymple's highly praised and greatly entertaining account of his 1986 trip made while a student at Cambridge, which retraced Marco Polo's route across land from Jerusalem to Xanadu. With him, he took a phial of Holy Oil, 600 pounds and Laura until Lahore, and Louisa from there to Xanadu.
©1995 CSA Word (P)1995 CSA Word

What listeners say about In Xanadu

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I found it was read v fast and I could not adjust

Wonderful story that would be nice in full. Read too fast in places. Memorable moment - riding on top of coal trucks. Just too awful to imagine and the lovely homage in the end. The reader had nice voice.

1 person found this helpful

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A young, immature, British lad's travelogue

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better story. A less condescending attitude towards locals from this clearly arrogant British traveler. Fewer contrived moments & situations, clearly designed to give this rather boring journey some excitement.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Probably something from Ha-Joon Chang.

What aspect of Michael Maloney’s performance would you have changed?

The narrator & main character of the story is rather dorkey, eager, and annoying. The actor conveyed that perfectly, as there were many moments I thought him guilty of the faults of this book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from In Xanadu?

None.

Any additional comments?

This is a travelogue written by a white British traveler clearly unable to to blend or integrate into the Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures he crosses. The result is a very distant and superficial look at locals. If you are looking to learn how locals would behave, or what they would say, towards a white British traveler...this would be the book for you. Just don't expect any deep or meaningful insights into these societies.

1 person found this helpful

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So much fun!

The narrator makes the story— which is a perfect blend of the exotic and the real. Ive always been fascinated by the Silk Road and Dalrymple’s re-creation of Marco Polo’s journey is irresistibly interesting.

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  • Peter
  • 12-03-16

Awesome writing, exquisite narration

I love the turn of phrase the author uses and the whole premise for the quest is riveting. I actually really liked the quick step employed to move the journey on, it felt like a nice balance of interactions to get the flavour of the location along with an entertaining dose of introspection and revealed charisma from the protagonist.
Looking forward to reading of listening to more from the author, and I can see myself searching out this narrators other work too because it came across as ingenious at times and added an unexpected dimension.

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  • Mr Chops
  • 11-12-14

Fab!

I enjoy back packing around the world. As with The Great Railway Bazaar, this is written early in the travel writers career. The experience is much easier to relate to. Later works by both authors tend to focus more on issues or subjects rather than the experiences and encounters. Any that do occur feel more forced than in the initial journeys that made their names. Yes, they are very privileged and tends to open doors by alluding to the diplomatic incidents and behaving like an obnoxious relic of the Empire but that’s how some people behaved. It definitely wouldn’t wash now, it is surprising and interesting that it did then.

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  • JGO
  • 06-19-20

travel writing has come a long way since xanadu

it was young dalrymples earlier attempts at travel writing. he has indeed come a long way since then

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-07-18

Join the pilgrimage without leaving home!

Loved every minute of it. Shred the pain, tasted the food, shared the companionship and felt the frustration. A great piece of writing that allows you to share in the "spirit" of the journey. Read with infectious enthusiasm. Hope to find more from this writer this narrator.