Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zukoff
I thoroughly enjoyed Lost in Shangri-La. It was a rare case of a non-fiction book where both the content and the writing exceeded expectations. What happened to the three survivors was fascinating and I found it hard to put the book down, so keen was I to find out what would happen to them next. This is one of those true stories you couldn't make up, full of adventure from the moment the plane crashed into the jungle.
I was also impressed with Zuckoff's writing style. He relays the events clearly and at a good pace, adding background information but not overwhelming the reader with it. I especially appreciated the sections where the survivors interact with the native tribespeople - Zuckoff included the impressions of the survivors and the natives, making it easy to see the frequent miscommunication. Given the amount of research Zuckoff had conducted and the fact that he had travelled to New Guinea to interview the native population, these sections fascinated me. The survivors were thought of as spirits descended from the sky heralding the end of their civilisation as it currently existed.
Whilst all of the book was written at a brisk pace, I much preferred the earlier sections straight after the crash as there was a greater sense of tension due to the danger the survivors found themselves in. I did enjoy reading about the resuce mission but at this point the danger had passed so I was less invested in the text. I would also liked to have read a bit more about what happened to the natives after the survivors left; Zuckoff does let us know what life is like for them now but I wanted the details - how did their way of life finally change forever?
Lost in Shangri-La is one of the most engaging non-fiction texts I've read for quite some time. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good adventure story.
Source: TLC book tours
First Published: 2011
Score: 4.5 out of 5
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