All the Roads Are Open

The Afghan Journey

Annemarie Schwarzenbach

All the Roads Are Open

Annemarie Schwarzenbach

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated and Introduced by Isabel Fargo Cole, with an Afterword by Roger Perret

124 pages | 5 x 8 | © 2011
Paper $12.50 ISBN: 9780857428226 Will Publish March 2021 World sales rights except India

In June 1939 Annemarie Schwarzenbach and fellow writer Ella Maillart set out from Geneva in a Ford, heading for Afghanistan. The first women to travel Afghanistan’s Northern Road, they fled the storm brewing in Europe to seek a place untouched by what they considered to be Western neuroses.
 
The Afghan journey documented in All the Roads Are Open is one of the most important episodes of Schwarzenbach’s turbulent life. Her incisive, lyrical essays offer a unique glimpse of an Afghanistan already touched by the “fateful laws known as progress,” a remote yet “sensitive nerve centre of world politics” caught amid great powers in upheaval. In her writings, Schwarzenbach conjures up the desolate beauty of landscapes both internal and external, reflecting on the longings and loneliness of travel as well as its grace.
 
Maillart’s account of their trip, The Cruel Way, stands as a classic of travel literature, and, now available for the first time in English, Schwarzenbach’s memoir rounds out the story of the adventure.
 
Praise for the German Edition
 “Above all, [Schwarzenbach’s] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”—Süddeutsche Zeitung

Contents
Introduction
A Note on the Text and Translation

Part One: Mount Ararat
    Balkan Borders
    Therapia
    Trebizond: Farewell to the Sea
    Mount Ararat
Part Two: The Steppe
    The Steppe
    The Prisoners
    No Man’s Land: Between Persia and Afghanistan
Part Three: The Women of Kabul
    Herat, 1 August 1939...
    The Hind Kush Three Times
    In the Garden of the Beautiful Girls of Qaisar
    The Women of Kabul
Part Four: The Bank of the Oxus
     The Neighbouring Village
    The Bank of the Oxus
    The Potters of Istalif
    The Grip to Ghazni
Part Five: Two Women Alone in Afghanistan
    Two Women Alone in Afghanistan
    Chehel Sotun
Part Six: Onward to Peshawar...
    Onward to Peshawar...
    Aden, a Morning Vision
    The Trip Down the Suez Canal

Text Sources
Afterword: ’My existence in the exile of distant adventure’
      Roger Perret
Review Quotes
Süddeutsche Zeitung
“Above all, [Schwarzenbach’s] discovery of the Orient was a personal one. But the author never loses sight of the historical and social context. . . . She shows no trace of colonialist arrogance. In fact, the pieces also reflect the experience of crisis, the loss of confidence which, in that decade, seized the long-arrogant culture of the West.”
The National (Abu Dhabi)
"Through lyrical prose and a keen sense of wonder, the long road to Afghanistan is never tedious. Complete with picturesque descriptions of passing mountains, fields, valleys, deserts and their enigmatic denizens, All the Roads Are Open still enchants more than 70 years after its conception."
Alan Scherstuhl | The Village Voice
"All the Roads Are Open . . . collects the wonderful newspaper articles Schwarzenbach wrote during the journey. 'With our Afghan friends we felt as safe as in Abraham’s bosom,' she declares, although the cover photo of her—trousered, lanky, David Bowie with an Elroy Jetson haircut—will inspire readers today to wonder what all she might have left out."
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