Full of Books

Lost in Yaba: Down and Out in Laos by Walt Gleeson Review

Title: Lost in Yaba: Down and Out in Laos

Author: Walt Gleeson

Published August 1, 2020

210 pages, Kindle Edition

Rating: 3.77


Lost in Yaba: Down and Out in Laos by Walt Gleeson is an unflinching memoir of addiction and survival. Initially, Walt had planned to stay in Laos for just a brief period, but he found himself captivated by the country’s charm and allure.

However, beneath the surface of the sleepy capital city of Vientiane, he discovered a world of drugs, prostitution, and exploitation. Walt’s time in Laos was marked by his descent into addiction to the infamous drug ‘yaba’ and his harrowing journey towards recovery.

In Lost in Yaba, Walt bears witness to the darker side of Laos and offers a unique perspective on a country that is often romanticized in travel writing. This book is a powerful testament to the human spirit and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.

Editoral Review

In Lost in Yaba: Down and Out in Laos, Walt Gleeson offers a gritty and honest portrayal of life in Southeast Asia. Published in August 2020, this novel is an intriguing and thought-provoking read that explores themes of survival, identity, and the human condition.

Gleeson is a travel writer and photographer with many years of experience exploring foreign lands. His expertise is evident in the detailed descriptions of the setting, which pull readers into the chaotic and unpredictable world of Laos.

Through vivid imagery and authentic dialogue, Gleeson paints a picture of a country in flux, as it navigates the challenges of modernization and globalization. At the heart of the novel are the characters who inhabit this world.

Primary among them is Jack, an expat who has hit rock bottom after a series of poor decisions. Through his eyes, readers see the rawness of life on the fringes of society, where small victories and crushing defeats are experienced with equal intensity.

Other memorable characters include a local bartender, a drug dealer, and a hapless Australian tourist, each of whom adds to the texture and complexity of the narrative. The plot of Lost in Yaba is an engaging and unpredictable ride, with twists and turns that keep readers guessing until the very end.

While the action is often violent and unsettling, Gleeson tempers it with moments of tenderness and humor, reminding us that even in the darkest of circumstances, humanity can shine through. The overall effect is a novel that is both gripping and emotionally resonant.

At times, Lost in Yaba can be a challenging read, as it does not shy away from difficult or uncomfortable subject matter. Gleeson touches on issues such as poverty, addiction, and political corruption, which may hit close to home for some readers.

However, it is through these themes that the novel gains its power, forcing readers to confront the harsh realities of life in a way that is both enlightening and cathartic. Overall, Lost in Yaba is a standout work of fiction that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Gleeson’s writing is sharp and evocative, and his characters are fully realized and deeply human. The novel’s relevance to contemporary issues of globalization and cultural exchange makes it a timely and essential read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of our world.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommend it to fans of literary fiction and travel writing alike.