The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu

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An epic and life-changing journey, paused and then culminated, decades later, as our main protagonist, Dan, travels the road to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Dan, an often strung-out hippie kid from England, seeking mystery, excitement, adventure, and most of all, freedom from his “cultural straightjacket”, completes a drive across Europe, and then heads out to Asia with his like-minded buddies, Tim, Fred, and Thierry – “a sense of the Other”, calling out to him in a voice that is tangible to a mind so openly searching.

As the book settles into two timelines, the 1976 trip that initiates the story, and a second visit, in the year 2000, this time accompanied by his college-age son, Robbie, it’s impossible to take this journey and not be changed, along with our protagonists. Like a crazy kaleidoscope of spinning images, this story draws you in, finishing at its own pace, whether the reader is keeping up, or not.

The world they experience is dangerous, and, (along with the vast quantities of drugs they consume along the way) out-of-control and addictive. In a land of contradictions, teeming with “hard men”, “ancient laws’’, fierce mountainous beauty, and monastic austerity – it may be no surprise that terrifying violence and an inexhaustible supply and demand of drugs (most notably, hashish and opium) are as much a part of the backdrop as the poverty they find etched into the dust of each town they encounter.

With prose that reads like poetry, this author can write, penning images and ideas so evocative that it’s impossible for the reader to resist pause after appreciative pause, despite the racing plot lines.

“Liquid fear flushed out of his pores and slicked his skin”

“Violence crept around the dark owners of the monastery like a bad smell, threatening to solidify into chaos”.

Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here), Dan and Robbie, partners now in seeing through the madness that has become their lives, may or may not ever find their way back to the safe and the mundane.

“Perhaps everyone had a second skin in them somewhere, waiting to be stretched, abused, created, destroyed and celebrated. Because it was there.”

I thoroughly enjoyed his crazy, chaotic, challenging, and contemplative book – welcoming the images left behind, “the translucent trace of lifelong struggles, deeply imbedded in the tarmac of ten thousand miles of Asian roads.”

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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