Pico Iyer Reads
This is Pico Iyer's second foray into fiction. His first was Cuba and the Night which, as you'll hear later in the show, came about somewhat by accident. Pico's known specifically for his travel books like Lady and the Monk and Video Night in Kathmandu, not to mention a number of travel essays.
Abandon, the book we're about to hear from, is about Sufiism and is set partially in California, with some scenes in Iran. And as someone who prefers to be an outsider whenever he travels. Pico is currently debating whether or not he needs to actually visit Iran to write about the place.
Pico: "And I'm deliberating in my mind whether I might not be better able to catch it more imaginatively by not going. So I'm really just trying to decide whether I want to go just for a few days, take some notes, get a physical sense of what it looks like or whether it might actually be truer to something else not to go. But, just to create and describe the Iran that I have in my imagination."
As you'll hear later in the show, this approach worked well with his novel, Cuba and the Night. So, at least at this point, Pico is tackling Abandon, without the travel. See what you think.
Pico: "He set the alarm each day for 4 a.m., though that was hardly necessary. For each day, at just that time, the muezzin's cry, a long, slow agonized call of love, broke out over the dusty high-rises and shacks of the city. There were clusters of lights here and there on the hill, and then the desert began. Green-lit minarets looming up above the neon and the sky navy blue as he went down into the sleeping lobby and out into the hush of early morning streets.
Pico Iyer reading a passage from his novel-in-progress. The working title is Abandon. As we continue our journey this week, we hear more about Pico Iyer's work, his life, maybe learn a bit about how to see a destination through the eyes of someone who has an eye for travel.
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