Author: Andreas Altmann
Title: Der Preis der Leichtigkeit [The Price Of Lightness]
Time: around 2005
Destination: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
Length: a couple of months
Preaching to who?
The story: German travel writer AA undertakes an overland trip around some parts of Southeast Asia. A few of the people he hangs out with are friends he knows from previous trips, but most of the people and the places are completely new to him.
The resulting book is an okay read, at least it’s not badly written. But I didn’t enjoy it very much. For one thing, I felt that there was a considerable gap between AA and his surroundings. This could have been bridged if AA had had a sort of cultural understanding for the places and the people he visited. The book would have been much richer.
Andreas Altmann’s stereotypical preachings
The other thing is that AA seems to be in the annoying habit of preaching to his readers. While following him around Southeast Asia, I learned that television is bad, the Abrahamitic religions are bad, automobiles are very bad and even the banning of cigarettes from public places can be considered as a bad thing (AA likes to smoke).
Obviously, not all of AA’s preachings are as stereotypical as the above. I particularly give him kudos for poking fun at the popular myth of “all Orientals never showing their feelings and always keeping their face”, for example.
an okay book
But all in all, I found the whole preaching issue very annoying, and I think the book would have fared much better without.