I just finished reading Falling Off the Map, a fantastic book by Pico. Read it if you want to get a peep into the world that we usually do not hear about. Furthermore, these places as he describes them can easily fall off the map. And no one may actually notice it. Locals have closed themselves to the whole world and have existed in their own world thus making them very lonely places. But, the loneliness of each of these places is peculiar to them and is absolutely different from the other.
Psychic State of the Countries
All through the book, he talks about the psychic state of the countries, just like we describe the psychic state of a person. So he actually goes on to the link it to their historical perspective and why they are here? What is it that they are looking forward to? At times you get a feeling that he is trying to sketch the psychic map of the country. Thus, it is the collective representation of the psychic state of the people inhabiting the place. Most of these places were not in sync with what was happening in the world around. And also most of them were not even bothered about what was happening in their own country. And they were either too laid back to be bothered about anything or were living in a world that they have created in their minds and refuse to see anything outside it.
His titles of the chapters are very apt and interesting like ‘An elegiac Carnival’ for Cuba. ‘Rock n Roll Ghost Town’ for Iceland’. ‘Hidden inside the Hidden Kingdom’ for Bhutan. ‘Yesterday Once More’ for Vietnam. ‘Up for sale or adoption’ for Paraguay. ‘Five thousand miles from anywhere’ for Australia.
Some peculiar things that I noticed were that he always analyzed what composed the most part of the telephone directories in each country. What were the most popular names in the directory? He also notices that popular destinations in each of the places have a fascination for some common name and you would find a series of places with that name.
Now I want to visit all these countries some day. …:-)
Buy Falling Off the Map by Pico Iyer at Amazon.
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