Eastern Approaches

I am currently re-reading Fitzroy MacLean’s Eastern Approaches. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life, but I don’t think it would be everyone’s cup of tea.

When I was young, when I was somewhat older, and now that I am quite a bit older, I wanted and still want (to a certain degree) to live the life that MacLean lived. He wandered through the far east during a time when westerners were not allowed in those parts. Tashkent, Samarkand, the land of the Uzbeks. The NKVD were always hot on his trail. He availed himself of whatever transport he could, striking up odd friendships along the way.

Wanderlust. It’s a dangerous condition. Tashkent, Samarkand, the very next town around the bend in the road, whatever waits beyond the fog. I suppose wanderlust reveals itself in other things, striving to write the song or book, certain that there’s an improvement to be had in the creative act, a fresh unveiling of things that remain so stubbornly hidden.

Anyway, I’m going to write some more about MacLean’s book. I assume he’s dead now. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet him.

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