Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Reviewed by Steve Rudd
This awesome tale of adventure and intrigue was first published in 1933 and still makes for a
remarkable read, as four people are kidnapped in the Far-East and then somewhat inexplicably
left stranded in a secluded Tibetan valley, an area that they soon come to know as
Shangri-La (with La meaning mountain pass in Tibetan).
Conway, who is a British consul, is one of the main characters who is stranded, and he is
the only one of the four who grows to like the place.
The other three people, to degrees, are freaked out by the place, given the sheer mystery
that surrounds the fact that the small village in which they come to live in with
the locals is equipped with modern-day heating, an extravagant library and other
home comforts that would usually be never found in such a remote area.
It seems that the locals have been careful to keep their slice of Eden detached from the rest
of civilisation, and in this respect the chilling drama movie The Village
seems to play like a version of Lost Horizon, in that 'the outside world'
is regarded as being an evil, dangerous and corrupt place that should be avoided at all costs.
Any fans of Alex Garland's Beach story might also see similarities between his novel and
this James Hilton masterpiece.
The years will come and go, and you will pass from fleshy enjoyments into austere but
no less satisfying realms; you may lose the keeness of muscle and appetite, but there
will be gain to match your loss; you will achieve calmness and profundity, ripeness
and wisdom, and the clear enchantment of memory.
And most precious of all, you will have Time - that rare and lovely gift that your
Western countries have lost the more they have pursued it.
All native Shangri-La folk look out for each other and the valley's metaphorical isolation at all times.
One man who guarded the area's security went by the name of Henschell, who was careful that none
of the porters bringing books and art treasures should ever approach too closely; he made
them leave their burdens a day's journey outside.
He even arranged for sentries to keep constant watch on the entrance to the defile.
But it soon occurred to him that there was an easier and more final safeguard.
You see there was no need to fear invasion by an army.
That will never be possible, owing to the nature and distances of the country.
Still, for all the attributes of the place, the other three people who have been
kidnapped and brought to Shangri-La - to add a little culture to the place -
still dream of escape, and so they wait until the next batch of porters near
the area with supplies so they can tag along with them back to civilisation of a more familiar nature.
Conway, though, remains torn. He wants to stay, but then love gets in the way -
and something of a sudden, surprise end rears out of the dark in unforgettable fashion,
ensuring that Lost Horizon will forever be regarded as a classic
piece of literature.
Hilton really does vividly capture the essence of magic that surrounds
the more cut-off yet naturally beautiful and enchanting areas of the world, as
this clever fable sees the Westerners weighing up the so-called priorities in life.
In the end, the reader has to ask himself or herself the same question as they do.
Is money-based materialism a necessity that you cannot live without if you tried,
or could a truly humble and modest life potentially be a practical alternative?
Ask yourself, and then ask yourself again - for money, in my mind, really is the root of all evil.
ISBN 1-84024-353-8 (first published in 1933/ Summersdale)
Reviews, Books - To the Poles Without a Beard by Catherine Hartley Reviewed by Steve Rudd
This extraordinary woman was the first British woman to reach first the South Pole and then the
North Pole (along with another lady called Fiona), and this is her story...
Essentially an exquisite autobiography, this book starts out by chronicling Catherine's life -
in brief -
Reviews, Films - Ae Fond Kiss by Ken Loach Reviewed By Jane Foster
I've been a Ken Loach fan ever since I saw Kes. I tend to think of that film now as the
million-times-better precursor to Billy Elliott ( I couldn't be doing with that schmaltzy
effort). Loach is the king of social realism that hits you where it hurts, and yet
leaves you with a lingering sense of having
Reviews, Books - Touching the Void by Joe Simpson Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Autobiographical tales don't come much more nail-biting than this living nightmare, recalled
by mountaineer Joe who was left for dead on a snow-riddled peak in Peru back in 1985.
After getting into trouble on the 21,000 ft Siula Grande with friend Simon YatesRead more...
Reviews, Books - One Man and his Bog - 20 Years of The Adelphi Reviewed By Michelle Dee
I have just returned home from a Monday night at the Adelphi club on De Grey Street clutching
a prized copy of the unique One Man and his Bog. (The History of the Adelphi)
I had new dark Kit Kats to eat but I didn't spare them a thought, until I had read
Reviews, Theatre - Julius Caesar at Hull Truck Wednesday 10th November 04 By Nicholas Boldock
Predictably, Hull Truck dispenses with tradition for this pulsating performance
of one of Shakespeare's most ambitious plays. The differences between Godber's version
and Shakespeare's are glaring - an original cast of 51 is slashed to just 6 actors
(although most of them play multiple roles)
Reviews, Films - Collateral By Steve Rudd
Starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, this rollercoasting thrill-ride is
one of the coolest of action movies to have hit the screen in 2004, as Summer goes out to the
dogs and the first pangs of Autumn strike the air.
Tom, like his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, never seems to stop working
Reviews, Books - Sitting Up with the Dead by Pamela Petro Reviewed By Steve Rudd
In the manic style of Bill Bryson, Pamela Petro gets in her car and heads out
around America in search of exciting new people, places and - above else -
Confining her extensive travels to the Eastern side of North America and,
in particular, the South-East states of Alabama, Georgia
Reviews, Books - Mick Ronson: The Spider with the Platinum Hair by Weird and Gilly Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Born and bred in Hull, Mick Ronson indeed did come from extremely humble beginnings to
become one of Britain's most respected musicians and producers.
Born in 1946, it was in the early seventies that Mick first became well known
through his work with David Bowie, with ace guitarist Mick
Reviews, Theatre - Gaffer! at York Theatre Royal By Nick Quantrill
Gaffer! is a one-man black-comedy which sees Deka Walmsley deliver a convincing
portrayal of a variety of comedy football characters and caricatures.
The central character is George, manager of struggling Northbridge Town.
George and Northbridge Town are old school. George has strong socialist values
Reviews, Films - Alien VS Predator By Steve Rudd
Whoever came up with the bright idea of violently pitting Alien against Predator
sure deserves a pat on the back and a raucous round of applause, for this big-budget
movie scores on many levels.
Whereas the bulk of the Alien franchise has long relied on
atmospheric tension rather than all-out action