A:When prolific British travel writer Colin Thubron’s wrenching A Mountain in Tibet was released in hardcover a year ago, reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic couldn’t stop praising it. Yet the book never really caught fire with the reading public. (Probably because it doesn’t involve talking dogs, vampires, a dystopian future, or talking vampire dogs in a dystopian future.) Now out in paperback, the book relates Thubron’s long trek to Mount Kalais, the sacred peak for Hindus and Buddhists, or, as he puts it, one-fifth of the world’s population. Thubron, who is single and has no children, uses his trip to this solitary mountain rising over the Tibetan plains to sort through the grief and sense of loneliness he harbors over his mother’s death. Yes, the whole “spiritual journey in Tibet” theme has been done before, but seldom—if ever—so poetically.
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