THE WILDEST DREAMS OF KEW by Jeremy Bernstein

THE WILDEST DREAMS OF KEW

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A tasteful, serendipitous exploration of the remote kingdom of Nepal, an exotic hesitation between China-controlled Tibet and India. Nepal is a lovely, dangerous land which has the ""wildest altitude variation of any country on earth"" (Mt. Everest in the north at 29,028 feet above sea level to 150 feet in the south). The author selects instances and personalities from Nepal's political past which either strengthened or loosened Nepal's natural insularity--the strong men (and women) to tile present King Mahendra who overthrew in 1960 the Congress government. Until 1950 no foreigners of arty sort were allowed in Nepal. The gradual breakdown of barriers after 1950 brought a variety of visitors from French alpinists and tourist impresarios (including the enchanting hotel pioneer, Boris Lissanevitch, with whom the author takes a Land Rover trip) to aid missions of several kinds, including the popular Peace Corps. Bernstein talks to a Sherpa mountain guide, a head lama, some hard-working Westerners; he climbs the chilly dazzling slopes of Mt. Everest; he views the native religious art--dynamic, often savage, spanning many centuries, And it all demonstrates the beauty of a ""cultural frontier"" where a people evolved ""in all but total isolation from the West. . . in an extremely vivid natural environment, frequently hostile."" A siren call to all the roads of Kathmandu. (Part of the book has appeared in The New Yorker.)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1970
Publisher: Simon & Schuster