I’m writing this review as both a Bhutanese and a frequent reader.
I was sad to see numerous factual inaccuracies in the book. I would expect any author to verify facts before immortalizing it in a book, and more so an experienced journalist such as Napoli. It may have appeared inconsequential to her, being afterall parts of small anecdotes here and there, but combined they stand to misinform the reader. What was more disappointing to me and I know that several Bhutanese friends of mine who have also read the book share my sentiments, is that Napoli advertises the book as being about the “starting” of a Radio Station in the country from the ground up when this is NOT true. Kuzoo, the station in mention, was well set up and functioning a considerable time before her arrival. Her contributions to the station are certainly not to the extent that the author’s advertising have us believe.
I also found it very misrepresentative of the country as a whole. Napoli’s interactions with the Bhutanese were, from what I gather, limited to a small group of individuals. Basing all her research on these few experiences and interactions makes it, to me, rather lacking. I don’t claim my country to be any so called “shangrila”-the irony being that none of us Bhutanese actually do-but to know more about it, all aspects of it, I wouldn’t rely on this book. At least turn to authors who provide more depth in their portrayal of the country and people. There are so many facets to the country, any country for that matter, and it’s always sad when a book barely grazes beyond the surface.
As a reader, I wouldn’t say the prose was exceptional in any way. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, it read more like a series of blog entries that don’t quite flow as a book. So, if I had to recommend a book to someone interested in my country, it definitely wouldn’t be Radio Shangrila.
Thank you for your comments, Karma. Cheers from Los Angeles, Lisa
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