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MUST READ: To The Last City

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 12:01 IST

To The Last City
Colin Thubron
Price — Rs 330
Publication — Vintage

Some stories end where others begin. It all lies in the very last page, where the lines gradually chug to a halt. The incompleteness of it all seems to point towards a larger motive, a greater plot.

Colin Thubron's To The Last City is one such work where the story never really ends. It continues in our minds and in our imaginations. The travellers trekking to their summit deep within the Peruvian Andes in search of a lost city have a lot more to live for. That is apparent.

Their journey through one of the most beautiful areas of the planet brings them into isolation — with themselves and one another. At the same time they meet with their past. And in the past of a country at one time ravaged by Spanish conquistadors, they find their future.

This is where the story does not end. This is where the strings of continuity disappears into the distance. And yet there is a story that leads us this far. The ruined cities where the Incas once thrived have now been reduced to a mere shadow of their former self.

The travellers are left to examine their lives in the light of these remnants. It might be an alien civilisation to some but for few it has a deeper meaning than others can comprehend.

To The Last City examines, at one breath, the past of a country as well as the dangers of its future. But it also examines the relation between the fellow travellers through their arduous journey up the precariously steep hills.

There is a deep voice in the way in which To The Last City has been composed. It seems to emanate from the very depths of the Andes valley. A quiet foreboding tongue that can foresee the eventualities and the mark that would forever be etched on these travellers.