Friday, April 27, 2007

Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things

By Gary Geddes.

This book had such great promise that it was with deep disappointment that I abandoned it half way through – an extremely rare occurrence for me.

The premise is that Canadian author Gary Geddes follows in the footsteps of a 5th century Afghan monk who fled Kabul to China, and who, according to legend, actually sailed to North America and back to China 1,000 years before Columbus. It sounds like a great adventure story, and it should be, but the telling of it left me absolutely indifferent. I felt no sense of empathy towards Huishen and what he might have experienced all those centuries ago, and Geddes’ own experiences were recorded in such a superficial and rapid-fire manner (I was here, and then I went there, and then I did this …..) that I was never engaged enough to care.

It was like your Uncle Albert and Aunt Ida showing you the pictures from their whirlwind, 14-countries-in-7-days vacation trip to Europe - a series of snapshots with little in the way of connection other than the obvious time line, no tension and no drama. In a word, boring.

Life’s too short to spend it reading uninteresting books – give this one a pass, unless you enjoy Uncle Albert’s slide shows.

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