Asian Absences is the contemplative and lyrical narrative of a traveller whose sensory and spiritual journey takes him from Copenhagen to Eastern Asia. On route, he passes through a feverish India and an abandoned hospital for lepers, undertakes hallucinogenic mountain pilgrimage with shamans in Kathmandu, embarks on an industrial oil tanker to Singapore, and examines the ‘‘beautifully old’’ curiosities of Tokyo’s metropolis. before arriving at his final destination, the elusive and mythical Tibetan city of Shangri-La.
Wolfgang Büscher vividly captures the conflicting emotional and intellectual responses of a stranger in distant lands, evoking both the exotic wonder and threatening otherness of unfamiliar cultures that repeatedly challenge mythic assumptions about the East.
Asian Absences is a thoughtful and subtle investigation into the perils and rewards of leaving one’s comfort zone and journeying to unknown lands. By evading simple conclusions Büscher impels the reader on a journey of enlightenment that is both troubling and beautiful.
WOLFGANG BÜSCHER heads the features desk of the German daily newspaper Die Welt. He was awarded the Seume Literaturpries for his book Berlin to Moscow: A Journey on Foot. The German President Horst Köhler praised him for travelling the world ‘open-eyed and without prejudice’ when awarding Büscher the Ludwig Börne Preis for his journalism.
SIMON PARE translates literature, plays and for the cinema from German and French.