A brilliant fusion of adventure and history.
This is a brilliant travel adventure that scratches so far beneath the surface it might have struck oil. Rebecca Lowe’s rich knowledge of the Middle East is fascinating enough in itself to keep the pages turning, but add to that a rookie cyclist going for a risk-filled 11,000km ride to Iran and the results are not only culturally enlightening but hilarious. The author has a wickedly witty style that weaves effortlessly between her day to day travails and the people, mosques and historical sites that she seeks out to bring Islamic history to life. A talented journalist, Lowe is equipped to cut through the media image of the region that we have lazily settled for, and her description of why the bicycle is the best way to uncover what somewhere is truly like is the best I have read. Her observations in places once held under Ottoman rule, or in cities such as Venice where Muslim commerce made such an impression, turn the dial from negative towards positive in measuring the impact the Muslim world has had on western heritage and economies. There is an ingenious arc to this book from an early conversation with Muslim ‘outsiders’ in France to her own experience as an outsider in Tehran where western journalists are met with suspicion. Ultimately The Slow Road to Tehran follows a path full of human kindness, bravery and compassion through a world unnecessarily divided.
One woman, one bike and one richly entertaining, perception-altering journey of discovery.
In 2015, as the Syrian War raged and the refugee crisis reached its peak, Rebecca Lowe set off on her bicycle across the Middle East. Driven by a desire to learn more about this troubled region and its relationship with the West, Lowe's 11,000-kilometre journey took her through Europe to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, the Gulf and finally to Iran.
It was an odyssey through landscapes and history that captured her heart, but also a deeply challenging cycle across mountains, deserts and repressive police states that nearly defeated her. Plagued by punctures and battling temperatures ranging from -6 to 48C, Lowe was rescued frequently by farmers and refugees, villagers and urbanites alike, and relied almost entirely on the kindness and hospitality of locals to complete this living portrait of the modern Middle East.
This is her evocative, deeply researched and often very funny account of her travels - and the people, politics and culture she encountered.
|Publication date:||24th March 2022|
'A terrifically compelling book, bursting with humour, adventure and insight into the rich landscapes and history of the Middle East. Lowe recounts the beauty, kindnesses and complexities of the lands she travels through with an illuminating insight. A wonderful new travel writer.' - Sir Ranulph Fiennes
'By cycling solo across the Middle East for 11,000 kilometres, Rebecca Lowe has achieved a remarkable feat. Her account of this grand journey is admirably observant, unfailingly humane and humorously self-aware to just the right degree. She shows sensitivity to the uniquely Middle Eastern lives she encounters while also maintaining an eye for their chaotic opera of quotidian dramas. This is a book that makes you laugh, gasp, cry and learn something about the many peoples of the Middle East.' - Arash Azizi, author of The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, The US and Iran's Global Ambitions
'This is modern travel writing at its very best, full of vim and vigour, painstakingly researched, laced with wry humour, political (without being too political), adventurous and rich with anecdote. As Lowe checks in her beloved, much dented and repaired bicycle (nicknamed Maud) at Tehran's airport, I couldn't help but whisper: bravo!' - The Critic