In the depths of the worldwide economic depression as the war drumbeats began in Germany, James Hilton wrote a quirky, imaginative book "Lost Horizon", It leaves much to the reader's imagination.
The manuscript opens with airplane hijacking that seemed all too realistic. Quickly, the hijacking turns into a surprising adventure as the passengers unexpectedly arrive in a little known part of Tibet and are escorted to Shangri-La, a lamasery sitting atop a hidden valley of peace and tranquility. While there, they await an opportunity to arrange passage with the bearers who are bringing a shipment that is expected in 60 days.
To me, Shangri-La is a metaphor for the mental tranquility that many spiritual practices can bring. For anyone who has enjoyed these practices, you will know that it can be tempting to withdraw totally into them. To do so can be delicious, especially for the frazzled soul. At the same time, we are made of flesh, blood and boil with emotions that seek their venting through action and that's one of the great beauties of this fine book.
The book has several weaknesses that will bother most readers. Except for Conway, the character development is minimal.