Running a Hotel on the Roof of the World by Alec Le Sueur

Le Sueur’s account of the several years he spent working at a highly dysfunctional hotel in Tibet will be enjoyed by readers interested in visiting the country and it has some pretty funny moments. It has been dubbed Faulty Towers in Tibet by many, but for me this was, in part, its problem.

While Le Sueur comes to understand Tibet, he seems to get to know few Tibetans well. After all, he is working in a hotel populated by an ever-changing contingent of tourists and manned largely by foreigners.

Le Sueur gives a great account of what it might be like to run a business while dealing with the whims of the Communist Party of China, in a politically-charged atmosphere. This is sometimes interesting, but can become tedious to read about with lots of red tape and random, arbitrary decisions.

I find commenting on the short comings of non-fiction travel writing difficult, as it seems a pretty tall order to expect the author to bend the truth into some sort of narrative structure, when life is in fact often haphazard and meaningless by nature. But for me this book did feel like a lot of random occurrences strung together, and as a result I found myself fairly indifferent to whether I actually finished it or not.




2 responses

  1. I think I’d like this one! Love books like that.

  2. I think it’s up your alley too. 🙂 You should give it a try. I think that if I’d had different expectations I might have enjoyed it more.

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