It’s rare that I begin reading a book with such trepidation, but become so rapidly hooked. The blurb on the rear cover focuses on faith, but that’s where the preaching ends. Indeed the text on the back is almost misleading.
What it should say is that Jeremy Kroeker’s writing has an attention to detail which can bring even the most mundane experiences of travel to life, and he doesn’t achieve this through adjective overload. His descriptive prose leaves the 32 pages of colour images almost redundant and his theological contemplations are, dare I say it, enlightening, but thankfully they don’t consume nearly as much of the text as the book cover led me to believe.
The author is a ‘Mennonite on a motorcycle’ who rides to the Middle East looking perhaps, to understand what has now become his fraught relationship with God. This book is not conceptually taxing in a Pirsig manner although some of the observations within, and certainly their delivery, can be profound. It offers an excellent introduction to the Middle East and a very useful baptism into Islam.
Like so many Canadians, Jeremy uses a KLR 650, which takes him across Europe ahead of winter, toward his theocratic Iranian goal. He has his battles with road conditions, weather and bureaucracy, but these let the reader discover so much of an area rarely properly explored by adventure travel books. He spends time in Lebanon just after its recent war with Israel and in Syria, just before the current strife erupted. He demonstrates that the writing is on the wall for some of the regimes in the area and yet he never rants. For the adventure motorcyclist reading, there is never any doubt that throughout, this is someone for whom a bike is an essential component of travel and discovery.
This is writing that sucks you in, and which will definitely mean you sit up late into the night. It contains subject matter that may challenge your own prejudice, but isn’t that what travel is for? And this is perhaps the best vicarious trip you’ll take to the Middle East.
Through Dust and Darkness is published in Canada, but you can get a copy right now, in our shop.
ISBN 978-1-927330-74-6 (Paperback)
288pp, 32pp colour images
Published by Rocky Mountain Books