I’ve been reading Eric Newby’s A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Newby’s tone is one of chronic, understaded mockery – definitely a lighter touch than Rory Stewart’s more introspective, brooding The Places in Between. As political allegory, it’s also pretty potent. Two friends decide on a lark to go climb some mountains in eastern Afghanistan. No experience, and almost no preparation. They just go do it. They bumble through, somehow… and live, and stay more or less intact, to tell the tale. It’s not a war story, but it doesn’t have to be to suggest something about the last eight years. Or is that too trite? It’s the way of their escapade, more than its outcome: the threads of reckless recces and slapstick survival that run through the book can’t help but resonate with anyone thinking about some of the political shenanigans of 2001-2009.