The story begins quite dramatically on the plateau of Tibet, where an unusually bad warning causes the enthusiastic cries of monks and pilgrims to be silenced. "This has never happened before," says Erika Fatland's local guide stunned.
This is not where Fatland's travels begin, but this is where the story in Loud. A Journey in the Himalayas opens. Over more than 600 pages, we are taken from Kashgar to Lahore to Yunnan, across the fabled mountain range with its numerous peoples and customs living under the pressure of international conflicts, unpredictable climate, national ambitions, mass tourism and technological change.
The Kashgar Chapter
"Where does a mountain, a mountain range, a journey begin and end?" Fatland asks initially, and while Morgenbladet's reviewer believes that the question is not perceived as very urgent, the author uses it giftedly to describe the complexity of the Himalayas from geological and geopolitical perspectives as an entrance to understand the whole following travelogue.
"No matter what definition you choose, no one will claim that Himalayas begins in the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, ”as Fatland humorously notes, but it is nonetheless where her journey begins, because Kashgar is where she must seek the magic pass of the Chinese state machinery to travel through the border regions. Even to get into God's house one must have the papers in order, it should soon turn out.
Fatland considers the others, but just as much himself.
The Kashgar chapter is full of whimsical descriptions of China's oppression of the Uighurs and Chinese middle-class tourism in all its absurdity – an absurdity that Fatland nicely describes is the same for any form of mass tourism combined with state chauvinism. High is consistently characterized by precisely this quality: Fatland considers the others, but in the same way. . .