Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top ten books: South American journeys

Hugh Thomson’s first book, The White Rock, was the result of a twenty-year long quest to explore and understand the Peruvian Andes in the area beyond Machu Picchu. His most recent book, Nanda Devi: A Journey to the Last Sanctuary is about the celebrated Nanda Devi Sanctuary in the Himalaya, on the border between Tibet and India, long closed to all visitors by the Indian government, but briefly re-opened to the outside world for an international expedition of which he was a part.

He also has had a long career as a director and producer of documentaries.

For the Guardian, he named his top ten books of South American journeys.

One title on his list:
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

No novelist since Proust has had a more acute sense of smell than Márquez. Penguin should reissue his books with sprayed strips of paper interspersed between the leaves. The hot still air of his un-named Caribbean port , the "city of the Viceroys", is enveloped by "the tender breath of human shit, warm and sad", against which his protagonists wear imported cologne from Farina Gegenuber and the houses are filled with pots of heliotrope to perfume the dusk. The steamboat journey that the finally reunited lovers make into the interior of Colombia is one of literature's most compelling.
Read about all ten books on Thomson's list.

Love in the Time of Cholera also made Marie Arana's list of the best books about love.

--Marshal Zeringue