Travels in a Dervish Cloak – Isambard Wilkinson

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Travels in a Dervish Cloak – Isambard Wilkinson

Spellbound by stories of his grandmother’s Anglo-Indian heritage and the exuberant annual visits of her friend the Begum, Isambard Wilkinson first visited Pakistan as an intrepid teenager, eventually working there as a foreign correspondent during the War on Terror. Seeking the land behind the headlines, Bard sets out to discover the essence of a country convulsed by Islamist violence. What of the old, mystical Pakistan has survived and what has been destroyed? We meet charismatic tribal chieftains making their last stand, hereditary saints blessing prostitutes, gangster bosses in violent slums and ecstatic Muslin pilgrims. 

Full of open-hearted delight and a poignant lust for life, this is a funny, hashish and whiskey scented travel book from the frontline, full of open-hearted delight and a poignant lust for life. Like a cat with nine lives, Bard travels and parties his way to the remotest corners, never allowing his own fragile health to deter him. 

A discursive, funny, moving portrait of Pakistan, one of the most opaque and complex of countries, but here rendered in bright chiaroscuro….a brilliant debut by a major new talent. William Dalrymple

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