Sun After Dark by Pico Iyer

If you are looking for a travel book about pretty beaches and best restaurants, then Pico Iyer’s, Sun After Dark is probably not for you. 

However, if you’re looking for deep, insightful explorations of exotic destinations, then there may not be a better essayist and travel writer alive today than Pico Iyer.  Sun After Dark epitomizes Iyer’s writing style and vision. 

A night-time magical encounter in Bali, a cultural discovery in La Paz, Bolivia, the genocidal reality of Cambodia’s past, a visit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and a remote wandering through Oman are just some of the experiences Iyer ponders in Sun After Dark.  Sprinkle in a few places closer to home, a couple of book reviews, and a fascinating interview of the enigmatic Leonard Cohen, and you have Sun After Dark’s wide geographical and intellectual wanderings.  

Iyer is a seeker of the strange and the sordid. Unlike Sherlock Holmes, who strives to solve, Iyer seems to look past such ideas as finding answers to instead, define the questions each one of us could be asking.  Somehow Iyer continually sees things we cannot.

We do not listen to a song in sole anticipation of its ending, as if the ending will provide the answer; it is the song itself which envelopes us in its beauty and mystery.  Iyer interprets travel in much the same way, and one starts to understand this yearning as you read through these stories. Iyer writes not only about exotic destinations, but also about the life journey each of us might be living, along with its pains and mysteries.  

Iyer is on a quest to transcend the familiar and often mundane world we might normally inhabit.

“The traveler, if he comes from a place of comfort, travels, in part, to be stood on his head; to lose track of tenses, or at least to be back to essentials, free from the details of home”.
– Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark

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