John Gimlette - Elephant Complex - Quercus

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £14.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781782067979
    • Publication date:01 Oct 2015
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781784291051
    • Publication date:01 Oct 2015

Elephant Complex

By John Gimlette

  • Paperback
  • £14.99

A Spectator Book of the Year 2015. From Ceylon to the Tamil Tigers, the first in-depth account of Sri Lanka by an award-winning travel writer.

A gripping account of an under-reported island' Spectator, Book of the Year
'[A] brilliant new book about an island that has a geography from heaven and a history from hell' Daily Telegraph
'A brilliant work of travel, history and psychological insight . . . astute and sympathetic . . . very funny' Wall Street Journal
Everyone has wanted a piece of paradise
John Gimlette - winner of the Dolman Prize and the Shiva Naipaul Prize for Travel Writing - is the kind of traveller you'd want by your side. Whether hacking a centuries-old path through the jungle, interrogating the surviving members of the Tamil Tigers or observing the stranger social mores of Colombo's city life, he brings his own unique insight to the page: a treasure-chest of research and a gift for wry amusement. Through him, Sri Lanka - all at once dazzling, strange, conflicted and beautiful - comes to life as never before.

Biographical Notes

John Gimlette is the winner of the Shiva Naipaul Prize for Travel Writing. He crossed the Soviet Union at the age of seventeen, worked in Argentina on the eve of war and has travelled to over eighty countries. He has published four previous books: At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, Theatre of Fish, Panther Soup and Wild Coast (winner of the Dolman Travel Book Prize) which have all featured on Radio 4, and contributes articles and photographs to various newspapers and magazines. He lives in London where he practices as a barrister.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781782067993
  • Publication date: 04 Aug 2016
  • Page count: 528
  • Imprint: riverrun
The reader in search of a thoughtful adventure is in good hands. Gimlette brings a brisk barrister-like inquisition to proceedings, allied with amiable good humour and a searching interest in the history of peoples and places . . . Intrepid to the last, Gimlette wanders among mountains and jungles, drawing his journey to a close among the wreckage of the civil war . . . Rich in humour, full of insight and humanity, Elephant Complex is a very fine tribute to this enigmatic island nation — Spectator
Brilliant . . . It displays his gift for graphic imagery and his eye for the absurd. But it is, perhaps, his darkest book yet . . . Along with the swimming trunks and the sunblock, I'd pack a copy of Elephant Complex — Telegraph
A gripping account of an under-reported island — Sara Wheeler, Spectator, Book of the Year
Insightful and interesting . . . holistic observation of humanity as entalged in acryptic webbing of mortality, immortality and matter that Gimlette offers us . . . The great appeal of this book is that we travel alongside him — Ceylon Today
A quest to understand the country, and not a mere description of it. This is what sets the book apart from the legion of Ceylon and Sri Lanka travelogues. . . Sri Lankans themselves will find Gimlette's renditions of places from Colombo to the desolate Wanni inspiring and evocative . . . While many travel writers on Ceylon often tended to trim and twist the country to fit it into their own neat narrative, Gimlette does not hide the incongruities and bafflements he encountered — Sri Lanka Sunday Times
Book of the Year: The 'elephant complex' of the title refers to ancient paths that the creatures have always followed on the island. Gimlette believes he must trace similar historical paths to get under the skin of Sri Lanka. He does so with wit and the occasional scrape with the authorities — The Times
An intrepid journey to the famously reclusive island unearths a paradise amid trauma and obfuscation . . . An effortless, elegant writer, Gimlette chronicles the stories of these truculent, traumatized people . . . An exuberant, eye-opening travel quest — Kirkus
As for Mr. Gimlette, it is hard to think of a more astute and sympathetic companion for a journey around the island and into Sri Lanka's episodic bouts of madness. He is beguiled by the place and its people, for a start. He writes beautifully, all freshness and verve. And he is also very funny — Wall Street Journal
To read Elephant Complex is to get the most accurate and thorough modern history of Sri Lanka - and to read it is to understand what it is that makes it so magical, in spite of its recent ugliness. — Kristin Fritz, Everyday ebook
He brings the open mind, the erudition and the eye for telling detail . . . no rogue is denied a fair hearing; no hint of the absurd escapes his attention and no metaphor misfires . . . Admirable in its candour . . . Elephant Complex has a sting in its tail — John Keay, Times Literary Supplement
Witty, detailed adventures, drawing on local characters he meets . . . Gimlette hears from ex-presidents, tea-planters, terrorists and pilgrims, exploring the country from the capital, Colombo, to the ancient reservoirs that attract the island's thousands of wild elephants — Guardian, Best New Travel Books
Travel books by writer, barrister and Londoner John Gimlette win praise for their witty, detailed adventures, drawing on local characters he meets — The Guardian
The reader in search of a thoughtful adventure is in good hands. Gimlette brings a brisk barrister-like inquisition to proceedings, allied with amiable good humour and a searching interest in the history of peoples and places . . . Intrepid to the last, Gimlette wanders among mountains and jungles, drawing his journey to a close among the wreckage of the civil war . . . Rich in humour, full of insight and humanity, Elephant Complex is a very fine tribute to this enigmatic island nation
Brilliant . . . It displays his gift for graphic imagery and his eye for the absurd. But it is, perhaps, his darkest book yet . . . Along with the swimming trunks and the sunblock, I'd pack a copy of Elephant Complex
A gripping account of an under-reported island
Insightful and interesting . . . holistic observation of humanity as entalged in acryptic webbing of mortality, immortality and matter that Gimlette offers us . . . The great appeal of this book is that we travel alongside him
A quest to understand the country, and not a mere description of it. This is what sets the book apart from the legion of Ceylon and Sri Lanka travelogues. . . Sri Lankans themselves will find Gimlette's renditions of places from Colombo to the desolate Wanni inspiring and evocative . . . While many travel writers on Ceylon often tended to trim and twist the country to fit it into their own neat narrative, Gimlette does not hide the incongruities and bafflements he encountered
Book of the Year: The 'elephant complex' of the title refers to ancient paths that the creatures have always followed on the island. Gimlette believes he must trace similar historical paths to get under the skin of Sri Lanka. He does so with wit and the occasional scrape with the authorities
An intrepid journey to the famously reclusive island unearths a paradise amid trauma and obfuscation . . . An effortless, elegant writer, Gimlette chronicles the stories of these truculent, traumatized people . . . An exuberant, eye-opening travel quest
As for Mr. Gimlette, it is hard to think of a more astute and sympathetic companion for a journey around the island and into Sri Lanka's episodic bouts of madness. He is beguiled by the place and its people, for a start. He writes beautifully, all freshness and verve. And he is also very funny
To read Elephant Complex is to get the most accurate and thorough modern history of Sri Lanka - and to read it is to understand what it is that makes it so magical, in spite of its recent ugliness.
He brings the open mind, the erudition and the eye for telling detail . . . no rogue is denied a fair hearing; no hint of the absurd escapes his attention and no metaphor misfires . . . Admirable in its candour . . . Elephant Complex has a sting in its tail
Witty, detailed adventures, drawing on local characters he meets . . . Gimlette hears from ex-presidents, tea-planters, terrorists and pilgrims, exploring the country from the capital, Colombo, to the ancient reservoirs that attract the island's thousands of wild elephants
Quercus

The Price of Paradise

Iain Overton
Authors:
Iain Overton

We live in the age of the suicide bomber. The suicide bomb itself takes more lives than any other type of explosive weapon. Moreover, in the last 5 years more people have been killed by suicide attacks than at any other time in history.How has this descent deep into the heart of terror escalated in such a way? What drives people to blow themselves up and what are the consequences? More importantly perhaps, what can be done to combat the rising spread of this form of violence?Investigative journalist Iain Overton addresses the fundamental drivers of modern day suicide attacks in this fascinating and important book, showing how the suicide bomber has played a pivotal role in the evolution of some of the most defining forces of the modern age - from Communism and the Cold War, to the modern day War on Terror.Interviewing Russian anarchists, Japanese kamikazes, Hezbollah militants, survivors of suicide bombings and countless other sources of valuable information, while travelling to places such as Iran, Irak and Pakistan, Overton skilfully combines historical narrative, travelogue, interviews and testimonies, and brings his research alive thanks to potent facts and visceral storytelling. The result is a powerful and unforgettable read, the first non-academic attempt to chart the rise of this horrific weapon.

riverrun

Prefecture D

Hideo Yokoyama
Authors:
Hideo Yokoyama
Quercus

Countries of the World in Minutes

Jacob F. Field
Authors:
Jacob F. Field
riverrun

At the Strangers' Gate

Adam Gopnik
Authors:
Adam Gopnik
riverrun

Seventeen

Hideo Yokoyama
Authors:
Hideo Yokoyama
riverrun

Ottoman Odyssey

Alev Scott
Authors:
Alev Scott

Alev Scott's odyssey began when she looked beyond Turkey's borders for contemporary traces of the Ottoman Empire. Their 800-year rule ended a century ago - and yet, travelling through twelve countries from Kosovo to Greece to Palestine, she uncovers a legacy that's vital and relevant; where medieval ethnic diversity meets 21st century nationalism, and displaced people seek new identities.It's a story of surprises. An acolyte of Erdogan in Christian-majority Serbia confirms the wide-reaching appeal of his authoritarian leadership. A Druze warlord explains the secretive religious faction in the heart of the Middle East. The palimpsest-like streets of Jerusalem's Old Town hint at the Ottoman co-existence of Muslims and Jews. And in Turkish Cyprus Alev Scott rediscovers a childhood home. In every community, history is present as a dynamic force.Faced by questions of exile, diaspora and collective memory, Alev Scott searches for answers from the cafes of Beirut to the refugee camps of Lesbos. She uncovers in Erdogan's nouveau-Ottoman Turkey a version of the nostalgic utopias sold to disillusioned voters in Europe and the U.S. And yet - as she relates with compassion, insight and humour - diversity is the enduring, endangered heart of this fascinating region.

MacLehose Press

Bookshops

Jorge Carrión
Authors:
Jorge Carrión
Quercus

The World of Tides

William Thomson
Authors:
William Thomson
Quercus

How to Land a Plane

Mark Vanhoenacker
Authors:
Mark Vanhoenacker

THE DAILY MAIL BOOK OF THE YEAR'Illuminates the practical reality of piloting in a concise and useful manner' Times Literary SupplementDo something amazing and learn a new skill thanks to the Little Ways to Live a Big Life books! By the author of the acclaimed international bestseller Skyfaring, the Economist's 'Best book of the Year' and a New York Times 'Notable Book', and a BBC Radio 4 Book of the WeekSo, hello! Welcome! Honestly, you look surprisingly relaxed. That's great to see. Have a seat on the left side of the cockpit - that's the captain's seat. Yes, that's right, you're now the captain, and yes, that's the runway down there. Fasten your seatbelt, order yourself a cup of tea, and let's get cracking.Mark Vanhoenacker, the airline pilot who makes poetry out of the science of flight technology, hands over the controls. Walking and talking us through the nitty-gritty of an approach and touchdown, he builds our understanding of flight from the ground up (or rather from the sky down), offering a new perspective of one of the more challenging and rewarding tasks ever.

MacLehose Press

Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa

Joseph Farrell
Authors:
Joseph Farrell

Almost every adult and child is familiar with his Treasure Island, but few know that Robert Louis Stevenson lived out his last years on an equally remote island, which was squabbled over by colonial powers much as Captain Flint's treasure was contested by the mongrel crew of the Hispaniola.In 1890 Stevenson settled in Upolu, an island in Samoa, after two years sailing round the South Pacific. He was given a Samoan name and became a fierce critic of the interference of Germany, Britain and the U.S.A. in Samoan affairs - a stance that earned him Oscar Wilde's sneers, and brought him into conflict with the Colonial Office, who regarded him as a menace and even threatened him with expulsion from the island.Joseph Farrell's pioneering study of Stevenson's twilight years stands apart from previous biographies by giving as much weight to the Samoa and the Samoans - their culture, their manners, their history - as to the life and work of the man himself. For it is only by examining the full complexity of Samoa and the political situation it faced as the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, that Stevenson's lasting and generous contribution to its cause can be appreciated.

Quercus

Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel

Thomas Cook
Authors:
Thomas Cook

'I have come to thank dark places for the light they bring to life.'Thomas Cook has always been drawn to dark places, for the powerful emotions they evoke and for what we can learn from them. These lessons are often unexpected and sometimes profoundly intimate, but they are never straightforward.With his wife and daughter, Cook travels across the globe in search of darkness - from Lourdes to Ghana, from San Francisco to Verdun, from the monumental, mechanised horror of Auschwitz to the intimate personal grief of a shrine to dead infants in Kamukura, Japan. Along the way he reflects on what these sites may teach us, not only about human history, but about our own personal histories.During the course of a lifetime of traveling to some of earth's most tragic shores, from the leper colony on Molokai to ground zero at Hiroshima, he finds not darkness alone, but a light that can illuminate the darkness within each of us. Written in vivid prose, this is at once a personal memoir of exploration (both external and internal), and a strangely heartening look at the radiance that may be found at the very heart of darkness.

Quercus

Under a Pole Star

Stef Penney
Authors:
Stef Penney

RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB 2017. SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 COSTA NOVEL AWARD.'A novel of huge scope with a tremendous sense of period and place' Costa judges'A dazzling tale of romance and survival' GuardianFollow the path to the freezing north. Follow your ambition. Follow your heartFlora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve. Years later, in 1892, determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland as a scientist at the head of a British expedition, defying the expectations of those who believe a woman has no place in that harsh world.Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition. Jakob and Flora's paths cross. It is a fateful meeting, where passion and ambition collide and an irresistible attraction is born.The violent extremes of the north obsess them both: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows, and the strange, maddening pull it exerts on the people trying to make their mark on its vast expanses - a pursuit of glory whose outcome will reverberate for years to come.

Quercus

The Book of Tides

William Thomson
Authors:
William Thomson

An idiosyncratic, richly illustrated guide to Britain's rivers, seas and shores, for everyone who loves the water and the natural world - a Norwegian Wood for Britain's watersThis is a book for those who want to understand better how the waters surrounding us affect our daily lives, how it imperceptibly but crucially shapes our actions, and has shaped our landscape for millenia. It's for anyone who knows and loves our coast, and who wants to understand, discover, surf, or sail it better.Inspired by his own witnessing of the power of the sea through travelling around Britain's coastline in a panel van with his young family, William Thomson tells the story of the cycles of the sea. He combines a lyrical, passionate narrative with graphically beautiful renderings of the main forms of water which affect Britain: Rip, Rapids, Swell, Stream, Tide, Wave, Whirlpool, Tsunami.The Book of Tides is a book for all of us who feel the pull of the sea and the tug of the tide.

Quercus

The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid

Craig Russell
Authors:
Craig Russell

PI Lennox - the Scottish Philip Marlowe - returns with a new helping of fast-paced detective noir. where the violent death of Quiet Thomas Quaid shows that Quaid's life had been anything but quiet. From the winner of of the Bloody Scotland Crime Novel of the Year. Lennox liked Quiet Tommy Quaid. Perhaps it's odd for a private detective to like - even admire - a career thief, but Quiet Tommy Quaid was the sort of man everyone liked. Amiable, easy-going, well-dressed, with no vices to speak of - well, aside from his excessive drinking and womanising, but then in 1950s Glasgow those are practically virtues. And besides, throughout his many exploits outside the law, Quiet Tommy never once used violence. It was rumoured to be the police who gave him his nickname - because whenever they caught him, which was not often, he always came quietly. So probably even the police liked him, deep down.Above all, the reason people liked Tommy was that you knew exactly what you were dealing with. Here, everybody realized, was someone who was simply and totally who and what he seemed to be.But when Tommy turns up dead, Lennox and the rest of Glasgow will find out just how wrong they were.

MacLehose Press

The Santiago Pilgrimage

Jean-Christophe Rufin
Authors:
Jean-Christophe Rufin
riverrun

A Book of Scars

William Shaw
Authors:
William Shaw

PEACE IS OUT. REVENGE IS ON.'An emotional intensity found only in the very best crime fiction' Sunday Times Crime Book of the Year'Unfolds a fascinatingly dark tale' SpectatorNever forgotten Teenager Alexandra Tozer was murdered on her family's farm. Five years later, her sister Helen will return. Never suspected As soon as DS Breen tracks down the original investigating sergeant, the man goes missing. And so does Helen. Never revealed The only connection between the suspects is the Kenya Emergency - a nightmare that Englishmen prefer to forget. But others remember. Every bloody detail. And when another woman is taken, Breen fears that history - in all its shame and horror - is coming back to haunt them.

riverrun

Style

Joseph Connolly
Authors:
Joseph Connolly

MacLehose Press

The Book of Legendary Lands

Umberto Eco
Authors:
Umberto Eco
Jo Fletcher Books

The Secret of the Nagas

Amish Tripathi
Authors:
Amish Tripathi

What happens when even your closest guides betray you?The hunt is on. Shiva, the man believed to be the prophesied Neelkanth - the destroyer of evil - will not rest until he finds his demonic adversary; the Naga warrior that killed his closest friend and now stalks his wife. But the rise of evil is everywhere and Shiva's own philosopher guides have betrayed his unquestioning faith by accepting aid from the dark side. Even the perfect empire of Meluha hides a terrible secret. Shiva's search for truth takes him across the length and breadth of ancient India: a land of deadly mysteries where nothing is what it seems.

Quercus

50 Wonders of the World

Hugh Thomson
Authors:
Hugh Thomson