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Pico Iyer has written nonfiction books on globalism, Japan, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and forgotten places, and novels on Revolutionary Cuba and Islamic mysticism. He regularly writes about literature for The New York Review of Books; about travel for the Financial Times; and about global culture and the news for Time, The New York Times, and magazines around the world.
Iyer, author of Video Night in Kathmandu ( LJ 4/1/88), has written a lyrical fable about the Japan of both yesterday and today. He is drawn to Japan, he explains, because ``everyone falls in love with what he cannot begin to understand.'' He begins by traveling to a Kyoto monastery to study Zen Buddhism, which is part of his effort to ``get to the urgent truth.'' This leads him to a friendship with a bourgeois housewife named Sachiko, who is fascinated by the West. Iyer sets out to understand Sachiko and, by extension, Japanese culture. With his light touch for travel writing, Iyer selectively weaves the plaintive love poems and stories of Buddhist priests into his narrative. His sensitive treatment is recommended for most travel collections.-- Susan Fifer Canby, National Geographic Soc. Lib., Washington, D.C.
"[Iyer] is a sharp-eyed and thoughtful observer, and he is successful in evoking the life of Kyoto's malls, temples, and back streets, moonlit nights on the water, and the vulgarity of the Westernized nightclub and amusement quarter." -- New Yorker "Pico Iyers remarkable talent is enough justification for going anywhere in the world he fancies." -- Washington Post Book World