Reading Kyrgyzstan: Restless Valley

Central Asia is endlessly fascinating to me, so I was super happy to have Kyrgyzstan up on my reading list. I landed on Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central Asia by Phillip Shishkin as my introduction to this corner of the world.

But, second destination in a row where the locale is way more intriguing than the book I picked. I swear I’m not being curmudgeonly! Or at least I hope that’s not it…

There was a lot to like about this book, don’t get me wrong. The author obviously knows his way around the political and social terrain of a very, VERY complicated place. I doubt that any one viewpoint could fully embrace all of the intricacies baked into the cake there.

That said, this just read oddly to me. A bit repetitive perhaps? The author didn’t trust the reader to remember people he had introduced earlier, leading to awkward second meetings. I hadn’t realized before this book that would bother me, but indeed it does. Good to know, huh?

I am glad to have had the chance to learn what I’ve learned, and I look forward to some fiction titles I have picked out by Kyrgyz author, Chignhiz Aitmatov. Now, I have a bit of a sense-of-place before diving in. Onward and upwards!

Bei Inylchek, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan
Bei Inylchek, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan (image by Jürgen Grösel, via Wikimedia Commons)