The Brahmaputra is one of the world's great rivers. Beginning as a tiny glacial stream in Western Tibet it flows through India and Bangladesh before gushing out into the Bay of Bengal. Unable to reach the northern part of the river due to Chinese intransigence, Mark Shand nonetheless set out to attempt what no foreigner had ever done: complete the huge journey from the unexplored jungles of the Indo-Tibet border to the largest river delta in the world. RIVER DOG is a chronicle of that journey, a remarkable story encompassing sublime landscapes - in Assam where the River begins to broaden into its full majesty - and rather odd encounters - including a bizarre group of identical-looking monks in Majuli (the largest river island in the world). But it is also a celebration -- of a river that flows with mystery and legend, the men who have set out to discover it and a rather charming canine travelling companion called Bhaiti.
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(198mm x 132mm x 24mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The river of the title is the Brahmaputra, which the author, experienced travel writer Mark Shand, attempts to follow from its source, a tiny glacial stream in Western Tibet, via India and Bangladesh, to its final resting place in the Bay of Bengal. The dog is Bhaiti, a Tripuri Hound from the Lushai Hills who accompanies Shand on his epic journey. From the beginning of the book when Shand takes a pebble from the tiny stream and places it into his pocket, until the final stretch of his journey when he tastes the salt in the water, knows that he has reached the end and drops the pebble into the sea, the book enchants. Shand is a natural storyteller with a unique gift. His almost childish delight in the river infects not only the reader but those he takes with him on his journey. As the expedition continues down the river Shand introduces us to some extraordinary characters: Gamma, skipper of the Kailash, one of the many boats Shand and his crew hire to help them complete their journey, who wallows in a sweet marijuana haze from dawn to dusk; the beautiful but faded Indian singer, Pratima, who has been forgotten by her once adoring nation; the head Gam of one of the villages they pass through who supplies Shand with opium and then pees on his leg as they make to leave. What delights most about this travel book, however, is Shand himself. A self-deprecating hypochondriac at times, he has an optimism and belief in his journey that lifts the reader even when the geography and politics threaten to overwhelm. Shand's positive view on the people he meets and his sense of humour make this book an absolute must for both travellers and anyone who wants an invigorating read. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Mark Shand
Mark Shand has worked at Sotheby's and as a jackaroo in Australia, has completed the London-Sydney motor-race and been shipwrecked in the South Pacific. In 1991 he received the accolade Travel Writer of the Year at the British Book Awards for TRAVELS ON MY ELEPHANT.