Tuesday, April 2, 7:30 pm

The Travel Book Group is led by Katie Mathews and meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m.

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka (Vintage Departures) By John Gimlette Cover Image

Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka (Vintage Departures) (Paperback)


Special Order—Subject to Availability
“Brilliant.” —The Daily Telegraph
No one sees the world quite like John Gimlette. In Elephant Complex, he ventures into Sri Lanka, a country only now emerging from twenty-six years of civil war. Beginning in the exuberant capital, Colombo, Gimlette ventures out in all directions: to the dry zones where the island’s 5,800 wild elephants congregate around ancient reservoirs; through cinnamon country with its Portuguese forts; to the “Bible Belt” of Buddhism; then up into Kandy, the country’s eccentric, aristocratic Shangri-la. In the course of his journey, Gimlette meets farmers, war heroes, cricketers, terrorists, a former president, survivors of great massacres—and perhaps some of their perpetrators. That’s to say nothing of the island’s beguiling fauna: elephants, crocodiles, snakes, storks, and the greatest concentration of leopards on Earth. Here is a land of beauty and devastation, a place at once heavenly and hellish—all brought to vibrant, fascinating life here on the page.
JOHN GIMLETTE has won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and the Wanderlust Travel Writing Award, and he contributes regularly to The Times (London), The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, and Condé Nast Traveller. When not traveling, he practices law in London.
Product Details ISBN: 9780345806994
ISBN-10: 0345806999
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: March 21st, 2017
Pages: 448
Language: English
Series: Vintage Departures
"It is hard to think of a more astute and sympathetic companion for a journey around the island and into Sri Lanka’s episodic bouts of madness. . . . He writes beautifully, all freshness and verve. And he is also very funny. . . . Mr. Gimlette is as astute as ever, and lyrical." --The Wall Street Journal

"Gimlette brings a brisk barrister-like inquisition to proceedings, allied with amiable good humour and a searching interest in the history of peoples and places. . . . Gimlette has assembled a splendidly eclectic cast of characters to illuminate this complicated nation . . . Rich in humour, full of insight and humanity, Elephant Complex is a very fine tribute to this enigmatic island nation." --The Spectator (UK)

"An intrepid journey to the famously reclusive island unearths a paradise amid trauma and obfuscation. . . . An exuberant, eye-opening travel quest." --Kirkus

"Gorgeous evocations of landscapes, sharp-eyed thumbnails of characters and eccentrics, and an endless font of amusing anecdotes drawn from [Gimlette's] own picaresque adventures and from the follies of royals and imperialists. . . . Gimlette’s blend of dry wit, entertaining reportage, and perceptive insights makes for another tour de force of travel writing and history, lushly green but edged in darkness." --Publishers Weekly