July 29, 2014
A Fortune Teller Told Me by Tiziano Terzani
After a fortune teller tells him that he shouldn't travel by plane, Terzani decides to make an exploration not only of Asia, but also of the different seers and fortune tellers that are found in each of the countries he visits. He wants to see how accurate they are and whether or not they'll echo the warning against flight like the original. Along his journeys he also comments on how the different countries have changed, what the leadership is like, how the people live, and the difficulties of travel in each country.
Terzani is a somewhat mixed narrator. For some people he shows the utmost respect and describes kindly, others he shows nothing but disdain. And honestly, those two categories kind of merged all the people together for me as all the ones he liked had the same attributes and all the ones he didn't had the same attributes so they didn't seem like as many people as what he actually met. And then there was his wife. Despite his constant mention of her I still didn't feel as if I knew that much about her. Himself he doesn't really describe other than to relate what the fortune tellers say about him.
I found this book excruciatingly repetitive. While at first it was interesting after awhile I got tired of him describing going to a fortune teller and having his fortune read. The countries, people and places might as well have all be the same for me and it slowed down the pace dramatically. That's not to say he isn't a good writer. He has a clear way of writing and there is a substantial amount of detail. It was just slow moving and didn't capture my interest despite the fact that it should have been an interesting topic. The pace was also weird in that the first half the book only captured two months of the year while the second half captured the rest of the year. I think had it been drawn out more evenly it might have been a little more interesting.
I can't say that I'd recommend this book to anyone unless they really liked mysticism with a little hint of travel. There was just too much of the same story in the book.
A Fortune Teller Told Me