Author: Ella Maillart
Title: Forbidden Journey – From Peking to Cashmir.
Length: about 6 months
A fanatic spark
First things first: A lot about EM’s and Peter Fleming’s voyage has already been said in the other review, so go there if you want to know what this book is about.
different from Fleming’s account
I read these books one right after the other, and I feel that both of them are definitely worth reading. Also, I didn’t feel bored despite the fact that I was reading about the same journey twice. I think this is due to the fact that both EM and PF have very different characters, which shows in their way of observing things – and of course, in their writing.
Anyway, I am going to rate this one slightly higher than Fleming’s account, even though he is clearly the superior author. He is better at storytelling, finds metaphors that are more memorable, and he is way funnier than his companion EM.
Why is her book better then?
Ella Maillart – a person driven by dreams
It is better because she showed me something that I am almost always prune to fall for: a sensitive, compassionate and honest soul with a spark of fanaticism. While her writing isn’t as strong as that of Fleming, and while some of her remarks admittedly have a tendency towards tackiness (“…I feel distant and separated from everything that I know, like being immersed within myself…”), this book is very touching, and I felt like I could strongly relate to her desperate need to go out by herself and explore everything, all the time.
In short: Fleming is out there because he wants to, EM is there because she has to. Read this, and you will know.
An 8/10 at least.