Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer

Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East

Mohawk hair-cuts in Bali, yuppies in Hong Kong and Rambo rip-offs in the movie houses of Bombay are just a few of the jarring images that Iyer brings back from the Far East.

Details Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East

TitleVideo Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East
Release DateJun 18th, 1989
GenreTravel, Nonfiction, Cultural, Asia, Writing, Essays

Reviews Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    Iyer in his introduction tells us this is “less like a conventional travel diary than a series of essays” of a “casual traveler’s casual observations” of the Asia he saw “over the course of two years... [spending] a total of seven months crisscrossing the continent.” Each chapter covers his thoughts about one country: Bail (Indonesia), Tibet, Nepal, China, Philippines, Burma, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Japan. Most of the essays hav...
  • K.D. Absolutely
    The book is about his 6-month visit to the different countries in the Far East in 1985. Each country has its own chapter in the book but the sequence is not chronological. I think it was arranged according to how Iyer would like to impact or influence the mind of the reader and I think he was able to do that effectively. The first chapter is about the paradise island of Bali focusing on the effect of the tourism to the previously gentle and virgi...
  • Arvind
    The book is a travelogue of East Asia set in late 1980s. Of the dozen or so pieces, the one on Japan was superb, so were the introduction and conclusion. But the rest made me wish I hadnt picked up this book. And now I see that d 3 most popular reviews on goodreads app are 2 or 3 stars.The author's aim is to analyse cultural impact of d West on d East and he does so with a lot of self-indulgence, whining and cliches. The usual Indian Bollywood pi...
  • keith koenigsberg
    Disappointing. Pico rails about how badly the West has polluted the rest of the world, lamenting the ruined purity of far-flung places. Michael Jackson cd's for sale in Indonesian villages? I'm shocked, shocked! For anyone who has been around the world a bit, this book is just too obvious, and for anyone who hasn't, it's a cynical and jaded expose of...nothing too interesting. What a clever fellow! He finds what he expects to find; this book is a...
  • pani Katarzyna
    Once in a while I like to read a good travel book, preferably about Asia. Sometimes I also catch myself finishing these books with some sort of dissatisfaction. It's difficult for me to put a finger on it - is it because usually these travel accounts are written by the Westerners? Is it because of them illustrating a time in the past, almost a history, and not the flavor of "right now"? Or is it because the personality of the author barges in way...
  • Wsm
    Pico Iyer is a stylish writer.The sheer elegance of his prose in "The Lady and the Monk:Four Seasons in Kyoto" compelled me to read this one.He goes to Bali,Tibet,Nepal,China,Japan,Thailand,Hong Kong and India.His observant eyes takes in the details though some of the chapters get a bit lop-sided.In India,he writes mostly about Bollywood and in Japan,mostly about baseball.He embarks on his trip to Mao's China without a working knowledge of the la...
  • Diana Stegall
    This book was patronizing bordering on the repulsive. This is a perfect example of how being aware of colonialism does not magically prevent you from participating in it. Pico Iyer tries so hard to be arch and snide towards careless, self-absorbed Western tourists only to end up acting just like them, every time, everywhere he goes. He never bothers to encounter anybody except tourists and taxi drivers. His "analysis" ends up reinforcing pre-exis...
  • dianne
    For such an acclaimed writer, this was just ok. First of all i wonder if he actually hung out with any Nepalis - they do not call their hats "fezzes" they are Dhaka topis. Details are so distracting, it is worth getting them right.
  • Vin
    This was written in 1988, and I was afraid it would be outdated & uninteresting. But I certainly remember how the 80s played out here in the states and it was fascinating to read what was going on halfway around the globe... Ah, the matter where you were, who could forget?
  • Derek
    read in 1991:
  • Shivam S
    Noopur Raval is a student of Masters in Arts & Aesthetics, JNU, a photographer, blogger and interesting character! In her first post she writes about her favorite travel read – Video Night In Kathmandu by Pico Iyer, on HappyReading Blog:–If I were traveling and wanted to read a book along and not get depressed as I moved and be able to put that book/travelogue’s perspective onto my own travels, which book would I pick? This is the question ...
  • Katie
    Pico Iyer is a talented writer and a thoughtful cultural analyst. The book is now dated, having been written in the mid-eighties, but that isn't one of my motivations for its rating. I found the glimpses of things that have definitively changed to be interesting, and often they made me wish I had some sort of comparative current nonfiction text about the region, to compare, but this is really a problem of my lack of comprehensive reading, not the...
  • Michelle
    Were the 1980s another world? I didn't realise on starting this book that it was written in the 1980s. Surely, I thought, when I realised, Asia would have changed so much in 30 years that this book would perhaps seem a little out of date? Well, no. Not really. The pop song and pricing references may be dated, but many of the things the book talks about in looking at Asia from the eyes of an outsider are still valid. Pico Iyer did not attempt to m...
  • S.
    better to be fascinating wrong than boringly nigh-correct, one supposes, and in this regard, Pico Iyer's most famous work 'Video Night in Katmandu' deserves its sort of backpacker fame, it's name dropping in Bali and Lhasa. several years before its time (first published 1988, the Soviet Union still existent), Iyer's relentless accounts of dynamic and hustler Asia, decadent and work-averse West predicts a state of affairs that comes to pass thirty...
  • Ken R
    Iyer travels to various Asian countries over a multi-year period in the 80s. His thesis is how American pop-culture is being exported and adopted throughout Asia. Rambo, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen are mentioned throughout the book.Iyer covers a number of countries and regions including Bali, India, the Philippines, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, and Hong Kong.Western tourism in Bali.Movie stars in India.Karaoke and escorts in the Phillipines.Baseball...
  • Kasia
    Spotkałam sie z bardzo różnymi recenzjami Video Night in Kathmandu. Na pewno nie jest to jedna z tych książek, przy której otwierałam oczy ze zdumienia, która kształtuje światopogląd. Podsuwmowując miła lektura, ale nie czuję, żebym dużo straciła, gdybym jej nie przeczytała.Nie sądze, że problem jest fakt, że książka powstała i opisuje Azję lat 80. Raczej dość pobieżne potraktowanie każdego kraju okazało się w moim ...
  • Manu
    Set in the mid 80's, Pico's travel writing worked on two levels for me - one, in terms of his destinations, and the other, in terms of time. Right from the first page, with his interpretation of the Rambo phenomenon in Asia, his sharp wit makes this book a great read.He uses individual characters in different places (India, China, Tibet, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, HongKong, Japan, Philippines) to describe the place's character. In some cases, the st...
  • Jennifer
    Though I'm a big fan of Pico's work - and, okay, this is a really weird reason to award something three stars instead of the requisite four - I didn't think there was enough "judgment" or "opinion" contained in his prose. (Yes, I know that this is what most readers hate about Iyer's central voice, but I can't help it. I'm obsessed with it.) I think what I really look for in any travel memoir, or basically any nonfictional narrative, is a stable n...
  • Wilson Mui
    I'm not typically a fan of travel books, but I found this one really enjoyable. Pico Iyer was more nuanced in his observations and they never felt too colonial or too preachy. He expressed as many sad and disappointed feelings as he did exciting ones, and it seemed like he had an energy about him that was neither too hippy-dippy-backpacker nor too stoic.I think a lot of these kinds of books at the end come to the same conclusion, maybe because it...
  • Tocotin
    This was a fun book, very fast reading, even though quite dated (the 80s), about how East meets West through popculture. There was a part about Japan too, and judging by it I'd say the author has a good insight into the cultures he's writing about, for someone who doesn't speak the languages of the countries he's visited. Sure, he is a little bit too awed by the (putative) mysteriousness and perfectionism of Japan, so probably his highly poetic d...
  • David Ward
    Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East by Pico Iyer (Vintage Departures 1988) (950.4283). This is an intriguing off-the-wall travel journal from the author's exploratory journey to the Far East. There are entries on Japan, China, Burma, Hong Kong, and Thailand, among others. Unlike the rest of the book, the entry on Thailand is concerned almost exclusively with sex tourism; the author's trip to the place was exceeding...
  • Melinda McLaughlin
    I read this book in preparing for a trip to Asia - also, my boyfriend happened to own it. It was interesting, but to me, it was more that it captured the 1980s in Asia, rather than delivered any ground-breaking insight into the culture. In may cases, it was almost as if Iyer saw what he wanted to see - a single-minded Chinese populace, an introspective and peaceful Burma, an efficiency-oriented Japan etc. He does point out some contrarian aspects...
  • Patrick
    A somewhat dated travelogue of Asia, that examines the effects of Westernization on the East. The author's time in Asia happened in the mid 80s, with the latest visit being 1987. Obviously, Asia has changed immeasurably since then, and his descriptions of a Beijing full of bicycles, the Philippines under the Marcos regime, or Bollywood movies where the women are all plump, give the book a quaint "snapshot" feel. That said, much of Iyer's observat...
  • Dan Tasse
    A book of "I traveled to ____ and saw how East Meets West" stories. I mean, nothing wrong with that. Some of them were naturally interesting, particularly Burma, which he describes as this land lost in time. Also, he wrote this in 1988, but a lot of it feels like it was last year, particularly when he's discussing the up-and-coming Eastern business world.A lot of it reinforced stereotypes: Thailand has sex tourism, the Philippines is super US-inf...
  • Holly
    Not quite finished yet... I have to admit, I was hoping for something else. It's a very dated book, from a privileged male solo traveller perspective. I assume this is an early book, and look forward to reading his later ones. I find the writing to be repetitive at times, echoing nearly word for word a previous phrase. Some of the essays drag in parts - too long and could have wrapped up his point in fewer words. Personally, I also find his persp...
  • Terry
    This book recounts Pico's Asian travels in the late 1980s. It reminded me of my own adventures, and the well written narratives brought back much of the fascination I felt originally. The exception was his description of India, where I found him to be off mark. Especially enjoyed Japan, Tibet, and Nepal. He found too much prostitution in Thailand when he should have found beauty. Suggests reading modern Asia writers Leithauser and Morley. Excelle...
  • Jennifer
    I read this book while I was travelling in northern India, and while it is a little out of date now (published in 1989), it captures so many of the weird and wonderful things about Asia. In some ways, I was nostalgic for the world described in this book at a time before the great homogenization of the internet. Like Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer is a travel writer who writes about so much more than just what he sees and does. He is an interesting educa...
  • michellé .c
    I am able to say that Video Night in Kathmandu may just be among my favourite books. Though long-winded at times, Iyer's recollections are very insightful and — assuming he had no prior knowledge in the languages of the various cultures — very well explained. This book is not so much on the travel but more of examining the various societies in their response towards foreign influences. Globalisation is one of the main idea in this book and it...
  • Deepti
    Well written, witty and fascinating account of travelling in Asia in the 80s. It is very interesting to read in 2016 about how these countries were 30 years ago. Pico states outright that his is a single sided account purely from the little he sees as a tourist.The book has an overarching theme of how the West influences the East,Pico sticks to it and makes no bones of it either. It is a good thing that he gives the clarification at the start its...