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Recently read: "In Xanadu"

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on August 12, 2008
Tags: book_reviews

William Dalrymple. In Xanadu: A Quest

After enjoying William Dalrymple’s The Last Mughal, I thought I would check out In Xanadu, Dalrymple’s first book, written about his attempt during a summer break at school to retrace Marco Polo’s travels from Jerusalem to Xanadu. I read Marco Polo’s own account of his travels when I was 20 years old, and found it more an inspiration to doze off than to travel 12,000 miles - it’s mostly very boring, as even Dalrymple admits. Dalrymple’s book is much, much better. It’s interesting, well-paced, and often very funny. The author was only 22 when he wrote the book, and occasionally it shows: he indulges a few times in some rather sweeping national stereotypes, for example.* But if you enjoy travel writing, this book is well-worth your time.