I enjoyed the contrast in the book of the banal and the majestic. It more closely resembles the realities of life where even the most magical moments are only seconds away from the earthly realities of a rock in your shoe, the biting cold, falling behind schedule. Matthiessen is prone to the same pains and failings as the rest of us which makes him such a compelling character. I did get lost in some of the more technical aspects of field biology and the history of Buddhism, but mostly it was the names that turned me around and it was often helpful. The philosophy is interesting and the story compelling. Give it a try.