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Lands of Lost Borders

A Journey on the Silk Road
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)
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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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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

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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

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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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  • Erin Sullivan
  • 13-03-2019

Terrible Narrator

I couldn't even get through Chapter 4. The cadence and tonal qualities with which the narrator reads this book are monotonous and tedious. I kept hoping she'd get better because I've been told this story is great. But she didn't get better and I couldn't take it anymore. Will read this one myself.

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  • Natalie Copeland
  • 28-02-2019

Rich, Informative, and Poetic

This isn't simply a book about the silk road or about bicycling. Aching for a new real-life-female-adventure tale, I started this after a recommendation from Outdoor Research. I expected to find something like "Wild", but what I got was so wonderfully up my own alley in terms of science, space exploration (of all things), conservation, and longing, that I found myself constantly rewinding to re-hear something I swear I could have thought. I loved hearing about all the places so steeped in history that I never thought to begin researching them interspersed with things I know so well about rocketry, the golden record, and the Wright Bros. The narrator was a bit hard to get used to and definitely didn't read the way I heard it in my head, but it was worth it to get to listen on my commutes.

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  • Chickadee
  • 25-12-2018

Beware! Narrator is unbearable!

I gave my friend a hard copy of this book and was looking forward to listening to the audio version. What a disappointment to discover that the narrator is unbearable. Why does she elongate the last word in every sentence, and why wasn’t there an editor or director to stop her? When she pronounced “there” as a four-syllable word, I knew I wouldn’t make it through the first chapter.

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  • Patrick Stanley
  • 19-12-2018

The narration is distracting at first

The narrator sounds like Siri, especially during the first half. I got used to it after a while, but whoever produced it should have corrected it. It’s great book other than that and still worth getting.

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  • Lisa Smoltino
  • 05-10-2018

Beautifully written

Kate Harris has brilliantly written a travelogue that makes us dream and think. Far from the traditional "I went here and saw that," Kate's lyrical writing makes us feel as if we are on the Silk Road with her, contemplating life. Pure adventure and bliss! Highly recommend. I listened to it on audible and the narration was excellent.