Asian Absences is the contemplative and lyrical narrative of a traveller whose sensory and spiritual journey takes him from Copenhagen to Eastern Asia. En route, he passes through a feverish India and an abandoned hospital for lepers, undertakes a hallucinogenic mountain pilgrimage with shamans in Kathmandu, embarks on an industrial oil tanker to Singapore, and examines the beautifully odd curiosities of Tokyo's metropolis, before arriving at his final destination, the elusive Tibetan city of Shangri-La. Wolfgang Buscher vividly captures the conflicting emotional and intellectual responses of a stranger in distant lands, evoking both the exotic wonder and threatening otherness of unfamiliar cultures that repeatedly challenge mythic assumptions about the East.
Wolfgang Büscher heads the features (reportage) desk of the German daily Die Welt. He was awarded many prizes including the Seume Literaturpreis for his book Berlin - Moscow: A Journey on Foot (published in 2003). The German President Horst Köhler praised him for travelling the world ‘open-eyed and without prejudice’ when awarding Büscher the Ludwig-Börne-Preis for reportage.