Travels in a Dervish Cloak
Since 9/11 the reader has been inundated with academic volumes about radical Islam, the geopolitical alliances of Pakistan and the identity of the Taliban. What has been lacking is Travels in a Dervish Cloak, an affectionate, hashish-scented travel book, full of humour and delight, written by a young Irish foreign correspondent living on his wits, on the contacts from his grandmother's address book and with a kidney given to him by his brother.Others might have conserved this gift of a life-saving kidney by living a sober and quiet life, but it had the opposite affect on Isambard Wilkinson, who took to the adventurous life of a Daily Telegraph foreign correspondent like a cat assured of nine lives. His rich and wonderfully intimate picture of Pakistan describes the country in all its exuberant, colourful, contemporary glory. It's a place where past empires, be they Mughal or Raj, continue to shine like old gold beneath the chaotic jigsaw of Baluch, Punjabi, Sindi and Pashtun peoples, not to mention warlords, hereditary saints, bandit landlords, smugglers and party-mad socialites. The only way to understand the contradictions is to plunge into the riot of differences, and to come out grinning.`Conjures up the best of Thubron and Dalrymple while being informed by a distinctive voice, a deep knowledge of Pakistan's tragic history and an unusual commitment to that country based on close family links' Dervla Murphy, renowned travel author.`I roared through it. A great balance of self-deprecating wit, oldfashioned adventure and insight. Very good fun' Owen Bennett Jones, author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm.`Travels in a Dervish Cloak does an excellent job ... redressing the balance by revealing the complex patchwork of the real country, home to diverse multitudes. In this it shows the great value of travel writing itself, when skilfully practised by such a humane, humorous and enthusiastic author' Tim Hannigan, author.
Born in 1971, Isambard Wilkinson has travelled in Pakistan since leaving school. A former foreign correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and the Economist based in Pakistan and Spain, he has also worked on assignment in other countries including Algeria, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. He has lived for periods in France, Spain, Hong Kong and Hungary, and his travels abroad have been interrupted twice by kidney failure, enabling him to take time off to recuperate with his grandmother in the Irish countryside, which is home.