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An Unexpected Light

New York Times Bestseller

Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Award 2000

Notable Books Awards, Nonfiction Winner (USA)

The book that has changed lives. An Unexpected Light was greeted by universal critical acclaim and is now widely acknowledged as one of the most influential contemporary works on Afghanistan. Written on the eve of 9/11 at the height of Afghanistan’s isolation from the world, this prescient account of a winter journey through a country torn by civil war is as pertinent today as it was on publication. Part travelogue, part historical evocation, Elliot’s poignant account of a perilous journey is both a passionate work of description as well as a heartfelt reflection on the experience of travel itself.


Jason Elliot is that rare traveler who surrenders himself to people and places:  he does not impose himself and his preconceptions. Woven into this account of dangerous adventuring is an astonishing amount of information about Afghanistan’s history, its religion, its arts, and for this alone it is worth a place on a permanent shelf.  I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel.



Doris Lessing

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