An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

Front Cover
Picador, 1999 - Afghanistan - 473 pages
21 Reviews

An Unexpected Light, Travels in Afghanistan was greeted on publication by universal critical acclaim and is now widely acknowledged as the most influential contemporary work of Afghanistan. Written on the eve of 9/11, at the height of Afghanistan’s isolation from the world, Jason Elliot’s uncannily prescient account of his winter journey through the country torn by civil war is as pertinent today as it was then.

Winner of the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award in the UK and a New York Times Bestseller in the USA, it recounts the author’s daring and passionate investigation into an extraordinary culture, first as a clandestine guest of the mujaheddin during the Soviet occupation, and ten years later during the Tlebn advance on the besieged capital, Kabul.

This new edition of An Unexpected Light is illustrated with the author’s photographs and celebrates a classic work of travel literature.

‘Jason Elliot is that rare traveller who surrenders himself to people and places and this tale is a many-layered reconstruction of his experience... I am sure this book will soon be among the classics of travel’


‘An Unexpected Light is often unexpectedly funny and constantly perceptive, but it is also profound’ New York Times

‘What raises the book to the level of a classic is its intensely personal meditation on the magic of unplanned adventure, of the pain and pleasure of pushing into the unknown. The whole book, like Elliot’s travels themselves, operated on this heightened level’ The Times

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Review: An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

User Review  - Sharon Bodnar - Goodreads

Another book club selection that was basically a love affair between the author and Afghanistan. It was too much a travelogue with more and more of the same events and landscape. I would give it half a star if I could. Read full review

Review: An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan

User Review  - Connie - Goodreads

Loved traveling in Afghanistan and loved the opportunity to revisit it with Jason Elliot. Read full review

About the author (1999)

Jason Elliot lives in London. His second book, Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran, is also published by Picador.

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