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Lost Horizon (1933)

de James Hilton

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3,9921023,095 (3.93)249
Following a plane crash in the Himalayan mountains, a lost group of Englishmen and Americans stumble upon the dream-like, utopian world of Shangri-La, where life is eternal and civilization refined.
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Inglês (95)  Espanhol (2)  Francês (2)  Alemão (1)  Todos os idiomas (100)
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Even rotary dial phones weren't commonplace 100 years ago. You wanted to get in touch with someone, you wrote a letter. So if someone had gone missing, it might take quite a while to figure out. Of the four people who find themselves skyjacked and crash-landed in the Himalayas in James Hilton's Lost Horizon, there's only one (the youngest, Mallison, an Englishman) who seems all that bothered by the distress his going missing might cause. The other three: Conway, a fellow Englishman and civil servant, Miss Brinklow, an older woman who works as a missionary, and Barnard, a mysterious American businessman, are intrigued by their rescuers, the residents of a lamasery: Shangri-La. The story is actually told around Conway, using the framing device that his story was told to an old acquaintance before he disappeared, which I usually find trite but I think really worked here.

There's not a lot of plot going on in this book: the four passengers are on a plane being evacuated from an Asian city that's experiencing civil conflict when they realize they aren't being taken to the drop point they expect. The plane crashes and the pilot perishes, but they're picked up by a group of Tibetans and taken to their monastery. The area is incredibly remote, nestled within the mountains with only a small native village even remotely close by. The group is at first eager to return to the outside world, but as they grow more and more accustomed to the well-provisioned lamasery and its tranquil residents, it is only Mallison who retains any urgency about trying to leave. Conway, on the other hand, is taken into the confidence of the High Lama and learns the secrets of their way of life.

This book is pretty thin on characterization as well as plot, and I admit I was baffled by its status as a classic until I found out it was apparently one of the very first mass-market paperbacks, which put it in the hands of a much wider audience than many books. Otherwise, it's fine but not special. The prose is generally good quality. It's one of those books that you have to remind yourself of the publication date for while you read...there is frequent use of racial slurs targeted at Asian people, and of course the "wisdom" that propels Shangri-La and its unusually long-lived residents is revealed to be the product of white people. It was the 1930s and James Hilton was a middle-class white British dude, so that kind of thing isn't exactly unexpected, but I was personally taken aback by the casual racism and expect most other modern readers would be so as well. There's nothing special or particularly interesting in this book, so while I didn't hate it, I don't recommend it. ( )
  ghneumann | Jun 14, 2024 |
A fun and interesting read. This is one of those annoying yet philosophical books that always asks more questions than it answers. This makes it both frustrating and powerful, and well worth reading. ( )
  mrbearbooks | Apr 22, 2024 |
Fun adventure romp, with a twist ending that you kinda see coming. Lukewarm cultural commentary that is kinda interesting. ( )
  Aidan767 | Feb 1, 2024 |

Lost Horizon is about a man who flees war to find himself in a mysterious monastery where everything is perfect and time stands still. His compatriots want to leave while he befriends the llamas and finds himself quite at home. This novel coined the term Shangri-La (the name of the monastery), which seems to have become incorrectly conflated with Xanadu in the modern western lingo. I loved the very 1930s Colonial Era Britishisms in the novel and liked the story itself. I thought the end could've gone further and brought the reader around more to contemplating whether or not extreme moderation in all things and near immortality are actually desirable. I thought Conway would come to this realization himself but he didn't. Still, a notable work that has stood the test of time and worth reading. ( )
  technodiabla | Jan 23, 2024 |
I have not read a book this quickly in ages. This book is so good--That I want to keep it for myself and not share it with anyone--As if it was written just for me. "Lost Horizon" is a mainstream novel and a masterpiece making use of a succinct yet uncomplicated writing style. Recently I had a memory of Frank Capra's film version of this novel--That I first saw over 40 years ago--And I decided to watch it again. I was so impressed and moved by the picture that I decided to read the novel. The film captures the essence of the novel; although the on-screen characters were significantly changed by Capra--Presumably to pull at the heart strings more effectively. Yet despite the characters, and their relationships to each other, having been modified for the movie version of "Lost Horizon"--The film and its definitive message still end up resembling the book quite closely. This novel--That Amazon categorizes as "metaphysical"--Will melt any cynic's heart. The idea of living peacefully, serenely and stress-free may be compelling in theory to many Westerners--But their fascination would not be enough for them to give up their striving, competing, overworking and generally not enjoying life to the fullest. In Buddhism all suffering is created in the mind, and so the lamas of Shangri-La use their practice of clairvoyant meditation to keep it at bay. Yet ultimately what guides Shangri-La is the principle of moderation, where one avoids being "too virtuous" as well. Reading "Lost Horizon" I could not help but be reminded of Herman Hesse's "The Glass Bead Game"--Another masterpiece which also deals with the themes of a Utopia influenced, and intertwined with, aspects of Eastern philosophy / religion--In particular the practice of meditation. In closing--The idea of a "world apart"--Where mankind is encouraged to be the "highest possible version" of itself--Is a timeless notion that will always be seductive. ( )
  stephencbird | Sep 19, 2023 |
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de Morgan, MichaelNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Following a plane crash in the Himalayan mountains, a lost group of Englishmen and Americans stumble upon the dream-like, utopian world of Shangri-La, where life is eternal and civilization refined.

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