My appetite for travel whetted by Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road, I plunged straight into Henry Hemming‘s account of his travels through the Middle East in the company of one/two fellow artists and a truck called Yasmine.
Whilst it’s not fair to compare the writing of an established author with that of a first timer fresh out of university, the fact that both books featured Iran made this somewhat inevitable. What surprised me was the Henry Hemming didn’t come off too badly – helped by two facts:
1. he and his friends were spending time in the region to make art, and this gave them entrees into the artistic communities in those countries, with the result that he encounters views and experiences that rarely feature in British newspaper coverage
2. they were there in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, and Henry and his pal Al still get to Baghdad.