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Lands of Lost Borders

A Journey on the Silk Road
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $42.90

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Publisher's Summary

"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." (Pico Iyer)

A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road - an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world.

As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved - to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician - had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars.

In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: What she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.

Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’ odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore - the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.

Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world and ultimately to each other - a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.

©2018 Kate Harris (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story but distracting narration

This is a very interesting insight into cultures and lands we aren’t often exposed to in ‘western’ culture.

Thought provoking and well (if though sometimes a tad floridly) written. The pre-journey chapters are a bit drawn out, but the story picks up once on the road.

The narration - I felt - was over dramatised. The ends of sentences had unusual emphasis and tone (breathy). Maybe a North American ear wouldn’t find it odd, but my Australian (living in NZ) ear found the lack of vocal efficiency irritating. There also seemed to be some compression issues, making the voice sound artificial at times. It seems to bother me less as the story went on though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well written, yet looking for more connection

The story itself was very good. Beautiful descriptions of the places Kate travels to made me feel as if I was there myself. I gleaned a keener understanding of the politics in the East and found myself wanting to go there. I loved the perspective of the cyclist.
However I failed to connect to the authour as a person. There was much description of past events and how they led up to the journey taken. There was also a lot of factual narrative. There were certainly many philosophical aspects and musings that I found interesting and agreed with for the most part. However I felt it lacked emotion, passion the deep-feelingness of the traveller. That's not to say it isn't there. It could have been the narrator, who had a lovely voice, but whose speaking style reminded me of the voice on sci-fi movies that says "Ship will self destruct in 10 [pause] seconds).

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A fantastic story but preferred the Kindle version

I'm currently on a long distance cycling trip and this sounds like a super interesting story to listen to on the road. Unfortunately I found the narrators voice distracting, and couldn't relate it to the down to earth person I imagine the author to be after listening to the first few chapters. I ended up returning the book and buying the Kindle version instead. Be sure to listen to the sample first.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shyra
  • 29-08-2018

narrator

i can only hear the narrator not the story - if you can understand what i mean?!.
she sounds AI, to breathy, not real. there are moments where it is relatable but overall the narrator has killed it for me.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Polly
  • 09-09-2018

Wonderful book, narration poor

This is a wonderful book, however, the narration is difficult to listen to, mainly because the reader doesn't breath frequently enough, and the ends of long phrases are read without adequate power, leading to a change in pitch and breathy vocal quality.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally Drake
  • 06-09-2018

loved the story. not so keen on the audio

the story takes you on a magical journey through the silk road by way of a bicycle. the author's narrative is intriguing and includes wonderful insights into her own mental explorations all the while. however I found the narrator's intonations and inflections very unusual and somewhat distracting. it was difficult to finish due to this unfortunately.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • usererrr
  • 20-09-2018

Narration not for driving...

Narration feels like Siri is reading a book to you. But not in a good way. Way too monotone for listening on road trips (my primary use case). Worried about pressing on for fear of sleepiness.The very very very long intro about the "Sheep Shed" and the author's childhood + narrator and I just couldn't get in farther. Oh, how I tried...title and story seem enthralling!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ben_marko
  • 26-11-2018

Good book, but...

The narrator is awful. She is so mannered in her annunciation it made it very difficult to finish it. The book itself is good, definitely a must read for travel types.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Coffee Fan
  • 10-09-2019

Sounds like SIRI is reading to me

The story is compelling, and I really want to listen to it. However, the reading sounds like it is done by a computer and I really can't listen to it -- I've tried. It seems like the publisher used a machine reader and tried to pass it off as a human. The result sounds like SIRI's and Google GPS's daughter is reading to you -- for a long time. For that, customers can have Alexa read a Kindle book. It's unfortunate that the publisher is charging listeners the same price as a human-read book for such a product.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Annemarie Ketola
  • Annemarie Ketola
  • 06-09-2019

Unique travel tale made boring by reader

I found out about this book from a travel podcast where the author herself was interviewed and immediately downloaded it.
The story is really unique and different from other typical travelogues because the author parallels it with her goals of space travel and Mars exportation expeditions.

Unfortunately the story is at times hard to listen to because the person reading it is the same person who is also hired to make train and elevator announcements. I kept thinking the next thing out of the readers’s mouth would be about what floor I’m on or “minding the gap”. It was painful. It’s also such a fake, over produced sounding way of speaking. This story was so honest, to have someone “doing a voice” instead of a real sounding person was really a disservice and made the book feel inauthentic at times.

I wish the author herself had taken the time to read her own book. She sounded great on the podcast.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Roberta Palmer
  • 02-09-2019

Simply awful

The narrator has a speech affectation that is jarring and hard to hear. The story of is as interesting as I had hoped, being full of the incredible hardships the author and her frind endured biking (!) across the area in extreme cold, etc. Keep that nonsense to yourself, author.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Travis M. Smith
  • 11-07-2019

A dance with wanderlust, sung by Siri

Kate's story and love for adventure shines through even during cold storms and trying people. She is a scientist and includes many dry descriptions of the natural world for the listener. I enjoyed hearing how the duo traversed so many central Asian countries in a recent year, when many people wouldn't dare undertake the journey. Kate has a deep fascination with new places and exploration, leading to a lot of forward momentum in the story. As others have noted, the narrator is very dry and flat but it didn't stop me from enjoying the story.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • cheryl nelson
  • 26-06-2019

Poor reader

Reader lifts her voice at the end of sentences. May find it more dramatic; not me. Left it after 2 chapters.