In Xanadu: A Quest

In Xanadu A Quest While waiting for the results of his college exams William Dalrymple decides to fill in his summer break with a trip But the vacation he plans is no light hearted student jaunt he decides to retrace

  • Title: In Xanadu: A Quest
  • Author: William Dalrymple
  • ISBN: 9781864501735
  • Page: 255
  • Format: Paperback
  • In Xanadu: A Quest

    While waiting for the results of his college exams, William Dalrymple decides to fill in his summer break with a trip But the vacation he plans is no light hearted student jaunt he decides to retrace the epic journey of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the ruined palace of Kubla Khan, north of Peking For the first half of the trip he is accompanied by Laura, whom hWhile waiting for the results of his college exams, William Dalrymple decides to fill in his summer break with a trip But the vacation he plans is no light hearted student jaunt he decides to retrace the epic journey of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Xanadu, the ruined palace of Kubla Khan, north of Peking For the first half of the trip he is accompanied by Laura, whom he met at a dinner party two weeks before he left for the second half he is accompanied by Louisa, his very recently ex girlfriend Intelligent and funny, In Xanadu is travel writing at its best.

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      255 William Dalrymple
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      Posted by:William Dalrymple
      Published :2018-09-26T19:38:16+00:00

    One thought on “In Xanadu: A Quest

    1. Antara

      I love William Dalrymple for the simple fact that he writes about his amazing travels through a seamless blend of fact and fiction. Having read and loved his City of Djinns (a must-read if you're a Dilliwala), Nine Lives and White Mughals, I have loved this first book of his as well. In this book, the author, a final year Cambridge student, tries to backpack his way through the route Marco Polo had taken - Turkey, Iran and finally China, in the Inner Mongols in Xanadu where Marco Polo ended his [...]

    2. Judy

      A fun trek across the continent. Full of entertaining anecdotes, colorful characters and challenges. Well worth the read. Recommended to me by my daughter who was spot on once again. Dalrymple entertains with his British wit, colorful portrayals, sense of adventure and caricatures of his fellow travels. Although a fun read, it gives the reader historical context as well as a look at the different cultures.Recommend for Around the World readers.

    3. Chris Ziesler

      A Thousand and One Tales from the Silk RoadThis is quite simply an enchanting book and for two interconnected reasons. The first and most striking reason is that Dalrymple manages to capture and convey the shear sense of wonder and excitement that comes from traveling across the world when young. So young, in fact, that I kept having to remind myself that he was only 22 when he wrote it.If that were its only noteworthy aspect the book would be just one of many other worthy works of travel and ex [...]

    4. Kartik

      The year is 1987. A young William Dalrymple, not yet a travel writer of international renown, sets off on a journey to retrace the journey Marco Polo took in the 13th century, from Jerusalem to the fabled East Asian capital of Kublai Khan, over land.In Xanadu is an account of his travels, a tumultuous series of events that see a young, privileged Westerner forced out of his comfort zone and thrown into the deep end.Dalrymple's narration paints a colorful picture of the various regions he passes [...]

    5. Adi

      In Xanadu- a Quest; by William Darlymple, 302pp, 1990Seven centuries ago, the famous trader, explorer Marco Polo set off from Jerusalem on a mission to reach the court of the Mongol King Kubla Khan, who’s palace was in a place called Xanadu. He then immortalized his journey in The Travels, which later became one of the most detailed pieces of travel writing ever completed. In his first book, the (then) 21-year old Mr. Darlymple takes readers back on the same route, attempting at every page to [...]

    6. Lianne

      Because I am a fan of obscure literary travel memoirs, I picked up this book at a library book sale. It's an under-the-radar account of a Cambridge student's trip in the 1980's. William Dalrymple becomes obsessed with retracing the route of Marco Polo from Jerusalem to Xanadu, Kubla Khan's legendary palace. His mission is to take holy oil from the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, just as Marco Polo did, when he was deputized to deliver it to Kubla Khan. History claims that the Khan had contacts and [...]

    7. Ahimsa

      This is a fine book, very enjoyable at times. The history is incorporated very well, the journey documented is fascinating and the captured bits of dialogue are unbelievably great.It’s far from flawless, however. To many times, Dalrymple relies on architectural details of sepulchers, arches, and tombs. There are very little of logistics here, which would be interesting: how big are their packs? What did they bring? How did they resupply? And almost nothing is said of the scenic Karakoram Highw [...]

    8. Patricia

      I'm surprised how much I liked this book. I first heard of it in the Epiphany sermon our priest gave at church, when he read from this book about the legendary birthplace of the Three Kings, as Dalrymple backpacked through Iran. The book, following in the footsteps of Marco Polo as he took oil from the lamp of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to Xanadu, the lair built by Kubla Khan, is taken from his journal of the trip, and is alternatively horrifying, edifying and hilarious. He ca [...]

    9. Harshad Sharma

      This was amazing. William Hamilton Dalrymple is a champion of travel writing, his first book In Xanadu is full of beautiful places, his prose is already wonderful, his excitement at re-discovering the places Marco Polo visited during his journey from Jerusalem to Kublai Khan's summer palace Xanadu is contagious. As always, full of funny snippets, finding amazing and eccentric people in Syria, Iran, Pakistan, roaming under the threat of deportation and staying ahead of police in China, this is a [...]

    10. Rizowana

      ---SPOILERS AHEAD--- It was a pity I read this book. I used to like Dalrymple. But this book turned out to be yet another account of a White man on a daring trip across the world in dangerous lands from whence it is next to impossible to come out alive, all while writing encouragingly of every stereotype the Whites have ever come up with of every other race apart from themselves. Anyone who is not a British is either dangerous, "stupid", uncouth, imbecilic, unfriendly and hostile or subservient [...]

    11. Kenny

      He was a precocious wee sod was young William Dalrymple - while everyone else whiled away their uni summers working and saving for a short trip somewhere - anywhere - he decided to follow in Marco Polo's footsteps from Jerusalem to Mongolia. I've read other books he's written, and he's a top class author - and appears thoroughly nice bloke too. It's a class thing for those types it seems. He's of good stock and he travels the first half with Laura (related or on first name terms with various sen [...]

    12. Anshul Gaurav

      In 1269, a 17 year old Venetian merchant, his father and his uncle embarked on an epic journey to the east corner of Asia. They were set upon meeting the then Mongol king Kublai Khan, the grandson of the great Genghis Khan himself.  They needed his support in order to protect the Christian lands from conquerors.  His name was Marco Polo. They travelled about 24000 Kms. Just to give you an idea the circumference of the earth is about 1.6 times that figure. Marco later documented his travels in [...]

    13. The Tick

      Oy. I've loved everything else by William Dalrymple so far, but I was really unhappy with this. It lacks a lot of the reflection that I've come to associate with him, and a lot of the humor was really unpleasant. It also skimmed over a lot of detail, and the bits of background history incorporated into the narrative often don't flow very well.Skip this one and go straight to City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi.

    14. Suzannah

      Hilarious, irreverent, scholarly, and vivid account of the author's epic journey across Asia on the Silk Road, in the footsteps of Marco Polo. William Dalrymple's first book (I'd previously read, and loved FROM THE HOLY MOUNTAIN) was written in the late 80s, when was still difficult to get into China and large parts the country were off limits. No doubt it would be just as dangerous to follow the same path today, just in different areas.Content warning - not recommended for younger readers.

    15. Sonia Gomes

      Very nice idea in the first place following in the footsteps of the legendary Marco Polo. For a twenty one year old to have accomplished it was amazing. The unbelievable part were the two girls who accompanied him. Would I have been so brave at 21; Doubt it.

    16. Nicholas Whyte

      nwhytevejournal/2851047ml I must have been in the same room as the author on occasion when we were Cambridge students in intersecting circles, but don't recall ever meeting him. Since then I've read three of his other books (two hits and a miss) so it was interesting to return to my first encounter with him twenty-five years ago.We've both grown up a bit since then. Like all travel writers, the 22-year-old Dalrymple was trying to be Patrick Leigh Fermor (who chose this as his book of the year) - [...]

    17. Lisa

      This journey (from Jerusalem to former Xanadu, along the route of one of Marco Polo's journeys), Willian Dalrymple makes clear to us on the first few pages, is doomed from the start: Part of it is to be undertaken with a formidable Ex-Oxford hockey player he has barely met, but who conveniently agrees to fill in as his now Ex-girlfriend flakes out, part of it is to be undertaken with same Ex-girlfriend, who, apparently reconciled with the ex-relationship does not mind so much riding on the back [...]

    18. Maitrey

      William Dalrymple retraces and chronicles Marco Polo's 13th Century travels from Jerusalem to the fabled Xanadu in China (actually Shangdu, Kublai Khan's summer capital) along with two fellow students in In Xanadu.Dalrymple was only 21 when he carried out this epic journey, still studying history at Cambridge (his university ID card got him out of many a sticky situation while in Asia). In Xanadu poses as an irreverent travel book --complete with funny anecdotes about muscular hotel managers, ma [...]

    19. Shweta Ganesh Kumar

      I've always been a fan of William Dalrymple's work - probably because the first book I read of his was The City of Djinns and it captured the essence of the city so well that it was hard not to fall in love with his writing.This was the only reason why I picked up 'In Xanadu: A Quest', Dalyrymple's first book. A young college student, he follows in the footsteps of Marco Polo, tracing his journey from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to Shangdu or Xanadu in Inner Mongolia. While the [...]

    20. Avinash Gupta

      As the name suggest, this book is about a Quest to follow the route of Marco Polo who traveled around around seas, deserts & Mountains to reach Xanadu, an ancient capital of Mongolia and fort of descendants of the Great conqueror Genghis khan. Ok, I admit, it does not sound as exciting as it is to replicate a voyage from history when the world has become flatter & more connected. Well, its 1980s & he had to pass through Turkey, Israel, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan & China. [...]

    21. Terry Clague

      Despite the posh-boy-lets-all-climb-the-mountain-in-our-pumps mindset of the author, this is actually a very enjoyable read which I breezed through. There's not much I can add to the various puffs you'll find associated with the book, but I did find myself subconsciously adapting some paragraphs to my own travels:"There are moments on all long journeys when the whole business of travelling seems utterly futile. One feels homesick, tired, and above all bored. Nothing pleases. Everything palls. Fo [...]

    22. Mansi

      from Damascus in Israel Gate to Xanadu, China William Dalrymple traces the journey of Marco Polo when he ventured to take the Holy Oil from the Holy sepulchre to the the then magnificent summer place of Kublai Khan. From Israel , and perilous Iran , then unto Pakistan and finally into China he tries to follow the southern silk route. In China they have a journey with involves much fleeing from the Internal security guards!Very enjoyable book contains a lot of architectural descriptions and notes [...]

    23. Vivek

      To embark on a journey from Jerusalem to Mongolia - tracing the path of Marco Polo in itself is a commendable feat - considering that the journey is fraught with dangerous places and not at a pleasure trip at al. If that by itself is commendable, what can be more commendable is the to write the travelogue so well at the 'tender' age of 21. The author knows to hold his audience firmly by sandwiching humor, nail biting incidents, Marco Polo's writings in between more serious stuff about the places [...]

    24. Sean Mccarrey

      This book made me feel like all of my travels have been absolutely insignificant. I too have traveled halfway across the world, often wondering if the form of transport would break down before reaching its destination. I too have spent days with terrible illnesses in desert towns, albeit closer to my home in Texas. I have done many of the things he talks about in this book, but they all pale in comparison to the sense of drive that Dalrymple writes about. After achieving something like that, I c [...]

    25. Subhashish Sarkar

      William Dalrymple's first work, In Xanadu: A Quest, is a travel/history book. The book is unique in giving an opportunity to the readers to, in a way, time travel. You travel along the ancient Silk Route and get a feel about how the place was some 30 years back. You can imagine the experiences of tradesmen on the ancient trade route. How it would have been in the time when the khanate was at its prime. I recommend this book for somebody who likes to travel and has an interest in history.

    26. Virginia

      Loved it. Amazinglythis was Dalrymple's first book and he was still a student at Cambridge! He's very funny and observant and has clearly done so much reading about this trip before he even sets off. He (and two female friends) attempt to follow Marco Polo's journey from Jerusalem through Iran, Pakistan and into China in the 1980's - Dalrymple's journey in the 1980's, not Marco Polo's.

    27. thereadytraveller

      In Xanadu is a superb first travelogue by William Dalrymple, which describes his 1986 retracing of Marco Polo's 15-year journey from Jerusalem to Inner Mongolia in present day China. Dalrymple's amazingly ambitious journey via the Silk Road is a sheer delight to read and provides a wealth of historical information and no small amount of humour for us to enjoy along the way.Beginning in Jerusalem, Dalrymple gathers a phial of holy oil from the Holy Sepulchre as Marco Polo once did more than 700 y [...]

    28. Don

      (FROM MY BLOG) Imagine being an undergraduate and deciding that your summer vacation would be more fun if you retraced the route Marco Polo followed in 1271, from Jerusalem to the Chinese Emperor's summer palace at Shang-tu (Coleridge's "Xanadu"), a bit north of Peking (Beijing). I've traveled a fair bit in my life, but reading about such an adventure at any age leaves me seething with jealousy. But that's what William Dalrymple did, at the age of 22 while still a student at Trinity College, Cam [...]

    29. Anne Charlotte LE DIOT

      Entertaining. What surprises me the most is that WD already possessed his style at 22. He alternates between the road trip trivia and highlights about important spots and monuments or events of the Marco Polo travels, and doesn't spare us the gloom and sometimes downright ghastly that is expected on such a trip, balanced by a healthy dose of humour and self-ridicule. I'm also impressed by who he travelled with, bright and strong-willed women. You need resilience and maybe a bit of luck too not t [...]

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