Books by Pamela Logan

Released: Nov. 4, 1996

James Hilton meets the Karate Kid in this self-congratulatory account of an arduous trek across the roof of the world in search of a fabled warrior caste. A third-degree black belt in karate and an aerospace scientist, Logan is an able, if self-conscious, diarist who apparently never met a physical challenge she did not embrace. In an epic meander, Logan bicycles, hikes, and hitches rides throughout western China and eastern Tibet in pursuit of the fearsome yet elusive Khampas, formidable bandits who for many years harassed Communist Chinese troops along the Tibetan-Nepalese borders. Alas, happening upon only facsimiles of the real thing, Logan must content herself with the alternate goal of a pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa. Here, too, Logan's plans are repeatedly foiled by Chinese-dominated Tibetan officials. Her doomed attempts to outfox the authorities are ultimately exhausting to both writer and reader, as well as to various traveling companions lacking Logan's fierce singlemindedness. Tiring also is a literary contrivance inserted at indefinable intervals in which Logan recalls various karate drills replete with ``plunging punches'' and ``devastating counters.'' Yet Logan is undeniably an intrepid traveler, crossing cold, high, rugged terrain, frequently alone, sometimes in the company of Buddhist pilgrims and, later, Nepalese sherpas, encountering holy men, artists, ubiquitous and troublesome police, and occasional Western tourists who mostly elicit her scorn. Her depiction of this closed and remote region, while not unrivaled, is perceptive and convincing. Likeminded readers may find satisfaction in reading about Logan's mountain adventures, but for many, scaling her self- indulgent prose may prove to be hard work. (16 color photos, 5 maps, not seen) (Author tour) Read full book review >