Lost Horizon

Lost Horizon

Book - 1960
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Four people are transported to the dream-like world of Shangri-La where life is eternal and civilization refined.
Publisher: New York : Pocket Books, 1960, c1939.
ISBN: 9780671664275
0671664271
Branch Call Number: FICTION Hilton James
Characteristics: 231 p. ;,18 cm.

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eddymerckx
Jul 23, 2013

This book takes a long time to read each page takes a long time.

l
lisahiggs
May 16, 2010

Lost Horizon was the first paperback ever published. It also originated the term “Shangri-La”, and in this utopia there is racial, cultural, political, sexual, and religious harmony. The inhabitants live by a philosophy of moderation, and feel that laziness in doing stupid things is a virtue. There is also a surprising sci-fi bent behind the purpose of the existence of Shangri-La that I won’t spoil.

This book was published in 1933 – and then started the paperback revolution in 1939 – and shows its age the same way an old movie does: the pacing is slower, the payoff is less intense, but the characters have surprisingly modern sensibilities which makes me wonder what we’ve been doing since 1933. If this kind of thinking was around 75 years ago, why does it seem that today’s society is even less modern than that?

r
ryner
Jul 01, 2009

While in the midst of a flight in the far east, the four passengers suddenly come to the realization that their small craft has veered off course, and that they are essentially being kidnapped. The flight eventually culminates in a landing in a desolate location high in the Himalayas and the pilot's death. The four are met by residents of a nearby lamasery, Shanri-La, and are hospitably invited to stay until another means of returning home presents itself. The lamasery offers delicious food, comfortable living, a vast library, natural beauty and stimulating conversation. The only thing it doesn't seem to offer is a way to leave.

I enjoyed this quasi-adventure story and appreciated some of the philosophical questions it provokes. Like others, I felt the last few chapters were somewhat weak, but they were marginally redeemed after I reread the first chapter over again when finished. The novel holds up fairly well for its time, and is the origin of the mystical place name Shangri-La.

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eddymerckx
Jul 23, 2013

eddymerckx thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 35 and 99

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