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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 listeners say about Lands of Lost Borders

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  • Overall
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    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 person found this helpful

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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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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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    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.

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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 people found this 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.

2 people found this 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!!

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  • rodney
  • 12-05-2020

robot

narrator sounds like a robot. Its to the point where I'm thinking about the voice more than the story.

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  • Lisa
  • 24-12-2020

Great story, unfortunate narration

I could hardly stand the narration, but I liked the story so I sped it up to 1.5 and it became tolerable.

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  • Ashley Dyer
  • 17-12-2020

Great story, mediocre narration.

I really enjoyed this book but I gotta say, the narrator’s intonation was... bizarre. The way she elongated the last vowel in a word struck me so oddly. Ended up picking up a physical copy of the book from the library and finished it that way.

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  • Pamela Thorpe
  • 07-09-2020

Interesting, but not my cup of tea....

This book was a hard listen for me, partly due to the fact that the narrator showed very little emotion and soon became very monotonous. It was painful to keep listening. I was determined to get through the entire reading somehow, despite the narrator. The story itself was interesting enough but would be much more enjoyable to those who know Chinese and Tibetan history, who love exploration, and who are biking enthusiasts. If you know little to nothing of these subjects, it may be a difficult read / listen. It was like a very long history lesson. I was relieved when it ended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-02-2020

Great Book/ terrible reading

Wonderful book, but reading torture, real shame! I don't understand why this reading was allowed. Book itself is great.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-2021

Great story!

I enjoyed the freedom and the hope for the better world that the book brings.

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