Friday, February 09, 2007

New, old book

Long wait , in two senses : I looked for this story a long time ago , and gave it up when all I could find was long out of print German editions. Recently I found it in English , on a UK site , ordered it ... and waited three times longer than I´m used to from my Delhi bookshop.

Peter Aufschnaiter had in my mind become a sort of vaguely glimpsed counter image of Heinrich Harrer in Tibet : a man more interested in living his life with Tibetans , than boosting his own self image. ( Dalai Lama´s tutor , my foot ..)

And living, in the intimate sense , with a Tibetan woman which becomes a interesting point as I start in to the book : nothing to be found on this in the biographical notes.

Where did get this notion ? From the film ( where Harrer visits Aufschnaiter and his wife ) , or from Seven Years in Tibet ? More importantly , why do I think I "know" things like this without tagging the source ? Is my world view determined by Hollywood representations ?
Doh , I live in the Western/Northern hemisphere , of course it is to some degree . But not being aware of it is bad news.

Digging in to it : fresh reprint from a publishing house in Bangkok, with a different , lemony smell. I had smallexpectations from this cheaper reprint ... and then I find the back card board pocket for the map of Lhasa . Aaaah... loving attention to details speaking here, and in the drawings . Photographs , with that eerie detached innocence in the onlookers before the media age. A love of nature , and a cultured perspective , with quotes from Milarepa linked to what he sees today/yesterday.

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