Sun After Dark: Flights Into the Foreign

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Pico Iyer’s Sun After Dark is a collection of thoughtful reflections on his travels, with each essay focusing on a different place or experience. 

Iyer spends the turn of the millennium in Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island), leaving behind the Y2K panic to stand in the shadows of towering and ancient moai statues.  He muses on the impact of the tourism industry in Cambodia, where the cost of one cup of tea in a sumptuous hotel lobby can feed a local family for a month.  He talks about spirituality with Leonard Cohen in California and with the Dalai Lama in India. While some essays are more in-depth or compelling than others, Sun After Dark is overall a thoughtful compilation of extraordinary experiences and conversations about the world and philosophy.

 “The beauty of any flight, after all, is that, as soon as we leave the ground, we leave a sense of who we are behind. The four walls that marked and enclosed our lives this morning grow smaller and still smaller, less and less distinct, till finally they disappear altogether in the grid of houses all around. We rise and rise through the clouds, into a blue stillness, and the very ‘we’ and ‘I’ that seemed so urgent when we awoke become as remote, as hard to take seriously as that house far, far below, now invisible.”

Pico Iyer is a novelist, essayist, and the author of several popular TED Talks. His books include Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, The Global Soul, Sun After Dark, and The Man Within My Head. Born in Oxford, England, he moved to the United States as a child and now lives in Nara, Japan.

Published: 2004
Length: 240 pages
Set in: California, U.S.; Dharamsala and Mumbai, India; Phnom Penh and Angkor, Cambodia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Aden, Yemen; La Paz, Bolivia; Bali, Indonesia; Tibet; Nara, Japan; Rapa Nui, Chile; Port-au-Prince, Haiti