Reflections from a higher plane pt.4

Travel anecdotes and notes

Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian

Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian

A series of observations, imaginings and happenings on a recent globe spanning flight.

Still in Hong Kong—but only just—I pass a book store on my way to the departure gate. It is called 'Relay', as proclaimed by floor to ceiling signage—a western style franchise, one of several in this wing of the airport alone. I can't get over the fact that the name really doesn't match the trade, meaning presumably lost in translation in some Hong Kong ad agency. My sense of the absurd aside, I am drawn inside by pressing need for long-haul distraction.

Passing by books of politics and righteous causes which I now avoid rather than avidly read, I end up in Asian Literature and Biography, my eye drawn of its own volition towards a familiar name on a large, bright book spine centre shelf— Alan Spence. I know this name not as an author but fellow student of Sri Chinmoy, a fact confirmed on the inside back cover, naming him leader of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre in Edinburgh. Not in disagreement with his profession, or this particular practise of it—five minutes before I was only dimly aware that he was a published author, and am now more than impressed—I am instead drawn one shelf down to a Nobel Literature Prize winner, Gao Xingjian, and his book Soul Mountain.

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