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10.09.2003

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other new + recent LAZE flick picks:
o Review: Breakfast Club
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Review: Singles
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Review: The Fast Runner
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Review: Insomnia
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Review: Bowling for Columbine
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Review: Chicago
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Review: Rabbit-Proof Fence
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Review: Devil's Playground
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Review: Heaven
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Review: Punch-Drunk Love
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Review: Me Without You
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Review: Ghost World
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on the road four books that will take you around the world by A. Lau | 1 2
continued from page 1

Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea 
Eric Hansen
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Motoring with Mohammed by Eric Hansen is a true story of a shipwreck, a rescue, and a return for buried treasure. The author, an experienced traveler who had supplemented his adventures with a variety of jobs including baking on the edge of the Sinai, smuggling false eyelashes into India, and making Tibetan yak blood sausages, kept a diary of his journeys. In 1978, he and some friends undertook a sailing expedition around the Red Sea, and found themselves stranded on a desert island. Eventually rescued by goat smugglers, and dropped off in Yemen, he buried his journals on the beach on that island, hoping to be able to return for them.

This is the story of Hansen's return to Yemen ten years later, to retrieve his journals on the island. The island, by then, had become part of a border dispute between Ethiopia and Yemen. Hansen's wildly hilarious descriptions of the random yet memorable people that he runs into are the highlights of the travelogue. Among these colorful characters are a USAID worker in charge a Yemeni public toilet usage survey whose name is a synonym for "f*ck" in Arabic, a mysterious caller who says he will help the author negotiate passage to the island with the Yemeni secret police, and Mohammed the guide, always hoping to shove one more sheep into the backseat of his jeep. Motoring with Mohammed is a must-read for anyone who has ever asked or been asked, "You're going to ______? Isn't it dangerous there? Why in the world would you want to go to _______?"

o o o


Sorcerer's Apprentice 

Tahir Shah
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Secrets of "magic" are revealed in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a travelogue through India and the story of one man's journey to become a magician.  A descendent of Afghan nobility, writer Tahir Shah is a London native who is reluctant to join the rat race. Inspired by the memory of the hereditary guard of his ancestor's tomb (also a magician) who came to visit him in England when he was a child, the author goes to India to learn magic.

From how to stick your hand into a pot of molten lead, to how to walk across burning coals, to swallowing and regurgitating live snakes, this is a fascinating account of a exploration of magic and illusion across India. While Shah reveals the secrets of many of India's so-called "holy men" or "godmen," a portrait emerges of a land that is still steeped in the conviction of miracles and the supernatural. Whether it's a miraculous whole-live-fish-swallowing asthma cure, "psychic surgeons," or future-tellers who read your eyeballs with a dessert spoon, Shah finds faithful believers everywhere. His narrative is punctuated with amazing color, including descriptions of drunk, rampaging, killer elephants, weddings hosted on the platform of Calcutta's Metroline, and the wig market around India's only temple to demand a shaven head before supplication. As we enter the world that Shah so beautifully depicts, it is clear that truth is sometimes stranger, and much more fascinating, than fiction.

o

A. Lau is a free-lance writer currently residing in New York State.

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