A TRAVELLER ON HORSEBACK by Christina Dodwell

A TRAVELLER ON HORSEBACK

In Eastern Turkey and Iran
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KIRKUS REVIEW

After a bit of river-boating (described in A Traveller in China, 1986), Dodwell is back on the steeds that served her so well in the horsebacked adventures of Travels with Fortune, In Papua New Guinea, and An Explorer's Handbook; and her latest ride, too-through the wilder Mideast--is an engaging romp. Unlike many contemporary travel writers, Dodwell isn't a writer who travels; she's a traveller who writes, and thus her work makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in stylistic flourish and self-examination. Here, she gallops from one improbable encounter to another, sustained by curiosity and trust: "As for the threat of bandits," she writes, ". . .I trusted in my common sense and doubted there would still be bandits nowadays"--but of course there are, in Turkey, and her escape from them ("Their eyes went murderous, and they ran at me") is the scariest moment here. There are other tense episodes as well, most of them occurring in--where else?--Iran and most of them at the hands of Revolutionary Guards, who take her into custody several times and from whom she must constantly hide her sockless feet--there, a woman's bare ankle is a ticket to prison. But in Iran--where she travels by bus and car, not horseback--as elsewhere, Dodwell finds mostly friendly people (of the Iranian women: "Their natures are lovely; and kinder, more generous people would be hard to find"); and, throughout Iran, Pakistan, Baluchistan, and Turkey, the gorgeous scenery (culminating in Mt. Ararat), fabulous sights (Alexander's Wall, the temple of Cyrus), and companionship of new friends and her faithful horses invigorate her and, in repose, her work. No-frills, pleasantly old-fashioned travel writing as Dodwell sweeps you up onto her saddle and charges into the heart of exotica. (Sixteen pages of vivid full-color photographs--and for another, more close-up look at Iranian country life, see Friedl's Women of Deh Koh, reviewed below.)

Pub Date: April 14th, 1989
ISBN: 8027-1078-6
Publisher: Walker
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