The Silk Road

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The Silk Road


Less passive than Bruce Chatwin and more generous than Paul Theroux,

Tsur Shezaf transverses the Silk Road and two thousand and something

years. He is not seeking horses and the culture of the West, that is

India, like the Chinese, nor does he want to peddle Christianity or do

business, like many before him who followed the road from west to east….

All doors opened before the writer bearing the British passport, the

Israeli “chutzpah,” the thirst for knowledge and the lust for adventure.

He accomplished it quickly and worked hard, and in happy contrast to the

few other travel books that have been published in Hebrew, he has also

done some reading. His swift and rhythmic prose – in which in which

short descriptions, bits of conversations, and cogent historical

summaries – punctuated by quotations, references names and extracts from

interviews — is a kind of courtesy: he who has heard, heard, he who has

thought, thought, and he who has not is also just fine. The signposts

Shezaf has handsomely though not bothersomely sown along the way will

make the reader think. Or not. It is possible to enjoy the energetic

musicianship even without puzzling out the staccato.

Anyone who has ever dreamt of Samarkand, Don Huang, Marco Polo, Ibn

Batuta, Benjamin of Toledo, Shuan Dzang,

Errol Stein, Bukhara or Kashgar knows at least in a general way what

motivates this book. And after quickly reading through its dense pages,

I can only thank Tsur Shezaf for doing so much to bring reality to these

magical names, and doing so without diminishing their enchantment.

Dan Daor


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