The Lost Heart of Asia

I know that I had mentioned that I was going to review Gods Middle Finger but due to just having finished a different book, I am going to reveiew that one instead.

Feeding on a long standing urge of mine to travel across Central Asia, I picked up Colin Thubron’s The Lost Heart of Asia and swept through it in the last week or so, finishing it tonight.  Although the book never ‘takes off’ so to speak, it is a solid, well written, well paced and well thought out book.  For the scope and size of the territory covered (all 5 Central Asian republics), this book gives a good sense of place and allows the reader to interact with an enigmatic, easily dismissed region of the world.  More than once the author insinuates that Central Asia is the slow, steady beating heart of the world.  With a history of violence, migration, and turmoil interspersed with generations of isolation, I don’t know if I wholly subscribe to his viewpoint.  Nonetheless, it makes for a very interesting and intriguing discussion point.

Just tonight I came across Carolyn Drake’s website ( and her documentary work deals with many of the people groups that are discussed in Lost Heart of Asia.  The pairing of her images and his words makes for quite the match.  I was going to make some witty comparison between the two like a fine wine/vodka and cheese/goat cheese but it just didn’t work.

A good read and all but not amazing.  7/10


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