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Tropical Classical

Essays from Several Directions

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Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
In Tropical Classical the author of Video Nights in Katmandu and The Lady and the Monk visits a holy city in Ethiopia, where hooded worshippers practice a Christianity that has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. He follows the bewilderingly complex route of Bombay's dabbawallahs, who each day ferry 100,000 different lunches to 100,000 different workers.

Iyer chats with the Dalai Lama and assesses the books of Salman Rushdie and Cormac McCarthy. And he brings his perceptive eye and unflappable wit to bear on the postmodern vogues for literary puffery, sexual gamesmanship, and frequent-flier miles. Glittering with aphorisms, overflowing with insight, and often hilarious, Tropical Classical represents some of Iyer's finest work.
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In Tropical Classical the author of Video Nights in Katmandu and The Lady and the Monk visits a holy city in Ethiopia, where hooded worshippers practice a Christianity that has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. He follows the bewilderingly complex route of Bombay's dabbawallahs, who each day ferry 100,000 different lunches to 100,000 different workers.

Iyer chats with the Dalai Lama and assesses the books of Salman Rushdie and Cormac McCarthy. And he brings his perceptive eye and unflappable wit to bear on the postmodern vogues for literary puffery, sexual gamesmanship, and frequent-flier miles. Glittering with aphorisms, overflowing with insight, and often hilarious, Tropical Classical represents some of Iyer's finest work.
Product Details
Paperback (336 pages)
Published: June 30, 1998
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780679776109
Other books byPico Iyer
  • The Lady and the Monk

    The Lady and the Monk
    Four Seasons in Kyoto
    When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find out something about Japanese culture today -- not the world of businessmen and production lines, but the traditional world of changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind the rising sun of geopolitical power. All this he did. And then he met Sachiko. Vivacious, attractive, thoroughly educated, speaking English enthusiastically if eccentrically, the wife of a Japanese "salaryman" who seldom left the office before 10 P.M., Sachiko was as conversant with tea ceremony and classical Japanese literature as with rock music, Goethe, and Vivaldi. With the lightness of touch that made Video Night in Kathmandu so captivating, Pico Iyer fashions from their relationship a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt book that is at once a portrait of cross-cultural infatuation -- and misunderstanding -- and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both the old Japan and the very new.

    Falling Off the Map

    Falling Off the Map
    Some Lonely Places of The World
    The author of Video Night in Kathmandu ups the ante on himself in this sublimely evocative and acerbically funny tour through the world's loneliest and most eccentric places. From Iceland to Bhutan to Argentina, Iyer remains both uncannily observant and hilarious.

    The Snow Leopard

    The Snow Leopard
    An unforgettable spiritual journey through the Himalayas? now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary IN 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Z en Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest?to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.

    Cuba and the Night

    Cuba and the Night
    A Novel
    Having captivated readers with such gems of travel writing as Video Night in Kathmandu, Pico Iyer now presents a novel whose central character is another place: the melancholy, ebullient, and dazzlingly inconsistent island that is Castro's Cuba. "On almost every page you can smell the dust, the cheap perfume and the rum of Havana today, or better still, tonight."--Los Angeles Times.

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