The Frozen River

Author(s): James Crowden

Travel - Narratives

A lyrical meditation on our human need for silence and solitude


'Imagine if your family had lived in the mountains for a thousand years or more, what effect would that have upon your mind and your thinking?'


In 1976, aged 22, James Crowden undertook a journey to the remote high-altitude Tibetan valley; Zangskar. He had deliberately sought out this remoteness. He wanted to know what life was like there, what life and society might look like before the arrival of the road. Over forty years later, in a world starved of silence, Crowden wrote a book about his remarkable experience: The Frozen River.


In mesmerising prose, Crowden recounts his experience of solitude and encounter in the Zangskar Valley. It is a journey of a week to get there, with pack animals, through the mountains. When the pass closes, you can't get out for seven months, until the spring thaw.


Arriving in this remote valley, Crowden bears witness to a community on the cusp of change. The Zangskari's deep connection to Buddhism has animated their entire existence for centuries. Life, death, birth and marriage: all are mediated through this philosophy. How will the arrival of roads affect their ancient way of life?


Joining the local butter merchants on an expedition walking up the frozen river to Leh, Crowden experiences, first hand, the harsh reality of the Zangskari lifestyle. The frozen river is the only way in or out of the valley, but surviving the winter is not guaranteed...


Crowden traces his encounter with space, emptiness and landscape in the Himalaya. In a moment in which so many of us seek calm, The Frozen River explores the innate human desire for silence and the lengths we will go to find 'ultimate peace and quiet'.


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Arriving in this remote valley, Crowden bears witness to a community on the cusp of change. The Zangskari's deep connection to Buddhism has animated their entire existence for centuries. Life, death, birth and marriage: all are mediated through this philosophy. How will the arrival of roads affect their ancient way of life?


Joining the local butter merchants on an expedition walking up the frozen river to Leh, Crowden experiences, first hand, the harsh reality of the Zangskari lifestyle. The frozen river is the only way in or out of the valley, but surviving the winter is not guaranteed...


Crowden traces his encounter with space, emptiness and landscape in the Himalaya. In a moment in which so many of us seek calm, The Frozen River explores the innate human desire for silence and the lengths we will go to find 'ultimate peace and quiet'.

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780008353186
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • : Harper Element
  • : January 2020
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : James Crowden
  • : Paperback
  • : 951.5057092
  • : 336