Jane Wilson-Howarth


A Glimpse of Eternal Snows

Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides UK
Author: Jane Wilson-Howarth
Page count: 392
RRP: £4.99 / US$ 19.99
ISBN: 978-1841624358 / ASIN B009S7FHU4
1st (Australian) edition 2007 ISBN : 978 - 1921259265
RRP : Aus$ 24.95;  432pp
3rd (South Asian) edition 2015 ISBN : 978 - 8193071076
RRP : ₹395.00;  387pp
An electronic version is available from Bradt Travel Guides and I launched an audio version in December 2020. A gallery of photographs relating to the book is here: David's photos

This is the autobiographical story of a British doctor who, a month after the birth of her second child, returns to Nepal. The book describes what drives her to leave – what drives her to ignore the admonitions of doctors and their gloomy prognostications about her son. Quitting Cambridge means abandoning access to good medical care. She doesn’t know what to expect but fears the worst, yet she hopes it will allow the child to live in dignity and happiness; it certainly allows him to escape daily blood tests, feeding tubes, hospitals and institutions. Family life returns to normal as he defies his doctors’ predictions. Back in Nepal, life is no longer dominated by hospitals and the parents learn from the tolerant accepting attitudes of the locals they live and work with. The mother struggles with guilt, often thinking that she has made the wrong decision, but guilt is mitigated by seeing a joyous carefree child develop.

A group of giggling young Nepali mothers gathered around to see my five-week-old: to compare babies. They took him from me and pressed in to see. ‘How beautiful,’ ‘Such soft white skin,’ ‘These little holes in his ears are a gift from heaven.’ This was the first time strangers had admired my new baby, and at that moment I knew that it had been right to flee England. There he’d been still as a rag doll; he twitched at any noise and vomited after each tube-feed. He was suffering. Panic often showed in his eyes. We didn’t know what to expect of the future. All we knew was that it would be better than submitting to what the Cambridge doctors had planned for our quiet beautiful baby.

We had been living in urban Nepal, but would be moving to remote Rajapur Island in the middle of the largest tributary of the Ganges. We were up-beat about going but Nepalis warned of the heat, bandits and disease in the Plains. On Rajapur though we entered an accepting, straightforward community where David was special – touched by god – not abnormal. Our neighbours saw beyond his handicap. He stopped twitching at the slightest sound and he rallied physically too. Soon there was a sparkle in his eyes and slowly, he started to respond to us, even tease us. We were right to take him away to Nepal. And David’s older brother, Alexander, was spared spending his early years in dank England, hanging about in hospital waiting rooms. We settled into a contented, sleepy life on our island where we lived close to tiger, rhino and wild elephant, and village boys taught Alexander to climb mango trees, make catapults, catch skinks and fly kites.

The one sympathetic hospital doctor in Cambridge had advised us to treat David normally and we took this as a licence to take him on his first trek; at the age of four months, we packed up David’s heart medicines and tubes and headed up over precipitous drops and wobbly rope bridges to explore drippy forests and mediaeval hill-forts. The mountains were spectacular and healing. Strangely David’s heart disease protected him from the affects of high altitude. Our arrival in each mountain village was heralded by choruses of, ‘Children have come!’ We’d be surrounded and David taken from his carrying basket to be handed around for all to cuddle. He glowed in all this attention. He smiled and burbled appreciatively at all his admirers. Nepalis helped us see David’s qualities and talent for laughter.

I took up a little part-time health work, taking David with me to village meetings as part of my credentials for talking with the women. Our Nepali neighbours had their own problems yet they took life as it came and dealt with their hardships cheerily. Their spirituality and fatalism seemed to allow them to snatch some joy out of life too, and they helped us see our situation in proportion and live contentedly with our – at times – uneasy child. We did not dwell on David’s problems but, having absorbed the positive aspects of both cultures, could enjoy his happy personality and increasingly mischievous sense of humour.
This book describes the emotions of facing up to having a special child. It also shows that throughout all this we did not allow David’s problems to swamp us. We could still laugh, be optimistic. The book looks at some difficult issues surrounding disability and the ethics of who should be treated – or not. It contrasts our unhealthy, unhelpful Western views of imperfection and death with a more tolerant, fatalistic view in Nepal. There it was easier to take life day by day.


This book had an exceedingly long and at times painful gestation. It began as a simple travel narrative. I wanted to write about caste and slavery and wildlife. I felt shy of sharing David with my readers. However my agent at the time, Sarah Leigh at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, was astute enough to notice that there was something missing and suggested that rather than gloss over David’s troubled existence, he should come centre stage.

Once I committed to this becoming David’s book, it started to take shape and assume a form that pleased me - finally. It grew then during the ten years I worked on it into an unrecognisable being. It is a book that I have often lost confidence in, particularly when several literary agents were rude or patronising about it. I hope now though that it communicates my passion for Nepal and it is a fitting tribute to David.

Several readers have asked about the Nepali script in the book. The text on page 410 reads 'pheri betau la, David' which roughly translates as until we meet again. 'Pheri betau la' appears again on page 415. I did hope to persuade the Australian publisher of the first edition to run Nepali translations of each chapter title as examples of Devanagri because I love the look of the script, but we got into a few tangles with design and layout. Finally we decided to use just the first two letters of David's name as the chapter headers and for page breaks, which I think works well. The result is - I believe - an uplifting book which has now seen three editions by three different publishers in four continents and has been well-received see, for example this Outlook review and one by a fellow author on Shepherd.

During the year that the book was launched by Bradt Travel Guides, BBC breakfast ran a piece on book covers and the piece featuring the artist who designed the cover, at work on it in his studio. Here is a link to the broadcast book covers.

Reading Group Notes

Book Group participants might like to consider and discuss the following questions. I have broadly grouped them into questions relating to the medical/parenting issues and then questions about Nepal:

  •     Is parental intuition possible or real?
  •     Why do doctors appear to get things wrong so often?
  •     Is there a perfect way to communicate bad news?
  •     Is euthanasia ever justified? Who has the right to decide?
  •     How does suing for negligence harm those who sue?
  •     When Jane's family arrived in Rajapur it was a Shangri La - an idyllic refuge. How did this mirage help the family cope then and heal?
  •     What do 'low caste', 'outcaste' and 'untouchable' mean? How do these terms control the people who are given these labels?
  •     Was Jane an outcaste or an honorary Brahmin?
  •     Does the concept of karma and caste make Nepalis more content than Westerners?
  •     Is bonded labour the same as slavery?
  •     How can tourists help the profoundly poor of the countries they visit?
  •     Is it right to prevent poaching by posting armed guards around nature reserves?
  •     Within the Bardiya Reserve, animals breed so successfully that epidemics sweep through, and yet outside people starve. Is there a better way?


‘You’re carrying your baby like a monkey!’ an ancient woman shouted as we ducked into the small, smoky shack. We sat down on a couple of benches; Simon ordered tea as I extracted David from the baby-carrier and suckled him. The woman wandered inside; I now saw that she was prematurely wrinkly and actually about my own age. She watched me for a few minutes, then said, ‘Why were you out in the sun with one so young? Your milk will get too hot!’ I was growing used to unwanted advice, but this came with a smile; it wasn’t like the criticism of the doctors we’d fled from a couple of weeks before.

‘The baby is beautiful, sister,’ she said. Then, when David burped and regurgitated a little, ‘See! He’s vomiting! You’ve curdled your milk!’ Pouting her lips towards Simon, she then turned on him. ‘Is this the father of the children? Why haven’t you bought her any gold? Aren’t you embarrassed for your wife to be seen walking in the bazaar without gold?’ Simon just chuckled, but I wanted to defend him. I showed her my engagement and wedding rings. ‘The colour of this gold is poor, and you need earrings, bahini!’ Then to Simon again, her eyes twinkling, ‘She has been a good wife: she has made two fine sons. Why do you dishonour her so?’

Simon’s eyes sparkled too. ‘But my wife is Tibetan,’ he lied. ‘Surely you know that they never wear gold?’

‘Ah mai — you eaters of cows, you are all the same.’
A scrawny cockerel with delusions of grandeur chased one of his harem noisily past us. Silhouetted in the low doorway, blocking out the light, was a whispering, watching huddle of young women. They didn’t dare venture inside, but it was obvious who they were discussing. As I smiled at them, they started to giggle. Two fled with their hands over their mouths. We downed our glasses of thick, sweet tea and left while the young women pleaded with us to let them keep David.


(from page 109)

I looked out on an alien scene. Someone blew on a conch. I took in the big sky of the Plains. Beyond the house there was a lovely patchwork of a bright yellow crop and lush winter wheat. The colours were sharp and astonishingly crisp. I could have been home in England hemmed in with grey drizzle, or brushing past people cocooned by stress and self-absorption. I thought of the life I'd led, commuting with my brain switched off, ignoring the world: cars and personal stereos keep reality out.

A cock crowed and received several answers. I started to see again: people herded cattle out ot graze or took flowers to the temple; there were soft groans of buffalo- or ox-cart wheels as men moved rice, brought timber or thatch. Tharu women wearing bright blues and orange walked elegantly erect with water pots or piles of firewood on their heads. Tinselly Badi women dressed in pink and purple swept out their shacks after the night's lucrative work.

(from page 119)

Pedalling out from our Cambridge-white-brick Victorian terrace with its weeping willow outside, a thrush sang his wondrous twice-repeated melody. I wobbled along narrow Silver Street, over the Cam, stopping to laugh at incompetent punters on the river. Passing Queens’, I turned right along the Backs, pausing again to admire the chapel at Kings, framed by autumn gold and russet chestnut trees. But the warm mood of my reverie changed as I thought about the money that had been spent on this decadent building when the common people of fifteenth-century England didn’t have enough to eat. 

On doctors
(from page 46)

... even doctors - or perhaps especially doctors - need to be touched by something personally to understand the suffering of others. We've been taught about the enormous power over life and death that is invested in us; we can be deluded into thinking we are almighty. Almost instinctively we view death, incurable disease and disability as challenging our power. We forget that these are all part of life.

On mountains
(from page 71)

Seemingly only a stone’s throw away stood Annapurna South and its Siamese twin Hiunchuli. The Patal Ganga Glacier, wedged between the two giants, slid, cracked and jerked painfully downwards like an old arthritic beast. I watched an avalanche — like a cloud pouring off the mountain. I gazed at the superb angular pinnacle that peeked out shyly from the clouds; the jet stream blew snowy spindrift off the knife-edge ridges. I sat in awe, feeling absolutely no desire whatsoever to conquer even a minor trekking peak.

(from pages 342-3)

One of the few challenges on our trek from Baglung (West Nepal) was finding shade when we stopped in the hot, glary middle of the day. In Lumsum village, there was no shelter anywhere except beside a large, new building, that I only later realised was the clinic. ‘When will the health assistant come?’ I asked waiting patients.

‘Docter-sahib is visiting his family in Jhapa.’

‘Jhapa — but that’s way out east in the tarai.’

‘It is far. He may come after one or two weeks.’ Yet still they waited.

Vacillating about whether to admit that I was a doctor, I eyed up a man whom I could tell even from across the courtyard had pneumonia. Sweat poured off him, and he was breathing hard. I cursed not bringing more antibiotics. I said nothing. Then I realised that our sirdar, Kipa, was ‘treating’ a patient whom I had not even noticed. She lay, a tiny, emaciated, ragged heap, at the feet of the man with pneumonia — her father. She was about five and also had pneumonia. ‘Oral rehydration sachets won’t help her, Kipa, but I have the right treatment in the medical kit that I’ve brought for my children.’

I dripped antibiotic syrup into her mouth while explaining how the rest must be given. Her father was so ill and listless that he didn’t seem to be listening.

Then Father said to me, ‘I need medicine also, huzoor.’

‘There is none,’ I said, still feeling uncomfortable at the unapologetic way Nepali is spoken.

‘That,’ he said pointing with his pouting lips, ‘is the wife of docter-sahib — she has the key.’ The health post was surprisingly well-stocked with an excellent range of basic medicines. Magnanimously, I gave him a course of antibiotics. As I explained how he should take them, I repeated what he needed to do to save his daughter’s life, but he was busy ranting about how it needed a foreigner to come to help and why wasn’t the government man here.

He was angry, yet the longer I spent in the developing world the more I realised that doctors are not as useful as people think. Most medical problems do not really have medical solutions. Medicine merely patches people up, to suffer again. I might have ‘saved’ the five-year-old that time, but I doubt that the child survived for long. As an outsider passing through, it is easy to convince yourself that you are doing good by handing out medicines, but there is no easy cure for poverty.

New cook
(from pages 148-9)

A stranger loomed up on me while I was sitting writing in the garden. He was flabby and looked unwashed. ‘I am cook,’ he announced, standing to attention. Gosh. An English-speaker.

‘Ah, good … Are you looking for work?’

‘Yes, memsahib.’

‘Can you cook?’ (No harm in establishing some basics first.)

‘I have been tourisss cook in Kathmandu, Thamel-side. You like finger-cheeps, yes?’

‘Yes, sometimes. What else can you cook?

‘Full English menu. All dishes. Potato. Boil carrot. Boil spinach. Egg any style. Every thing.’

‘Any meat dishes?’

‘Yes, memsahib. Boil meat. Anykind.’

When can you start work?’
‘Now,’ he said, and immediately made himself busy. He suggested cooking mahseer. We looked forward to tasty steaks of large river fish, but when he served the dish, I had to ask what it was.

‘Boil fish with ee-special English brown sauce.’

‘How did you make the sauce?’

‘Flour and water mix with little bit warm Mazola oil.’ It had the appearance of the effluvia that runs out from pigsties, but was probably less flavoursome.

‘And the vegetables? What are they?’

‘This is mish-mash — boil cauliflower and banana mix.’

‘Boiled banana?’

‘Yes, madam. Any problem?’

‘Perhaps tomorrow you can cook Nepali food for us.’

‘You cannot eat Nepali food.’

‘We like it.’

‘That is not possible. Foreigners do not like.’

(from pages 344-5)

chestnut-bellied blue rock thrush and beautiful niltava popped in and out of the low rhododendron forest. There were meadows of ground orchids, geraniums, primulae and gentians. The forest on the sheltered, drier side of the 3414m pass was a mix of magnificent maples in autumn colours, majestic hemlocks, gigantic juniper, blue pine and silver fir: stately trees, so tall it was hard to see to the tops. Beneath, the air smelt of pine and ancient wood, and it was green, so green. Even boulders and tree trunks were covered with a cosy blanket of moss; ferns and orchids sprouted from every available crevice and Himalayan pied woodpeckers played peek-a-boo.

(from page 370)

The Chinese say that there is no scenery in your home town. They are right. Being in another place heightens the senses, allows you to see more, enjoy more, take delight in small things; it makes life richer. You are more alive, less cocooned. The family was certainly closer for our intense times here... That snug thought made me smile again. My years in Nepal had given me some of the richest and highest of times... the marigold garlands had gone now; only fish broke the surface. A lapwing took to the air, scolding us. 'Did ye d-do it? 'Did ye d-do it? 'Did ye do-do-do it?' Moti looked forlorn as we floated away, so Alexander shouted a reassuring, 'Pheri betau la!' (the wonderfully optimistic 'see you again') and waved madly. Moti's stubbly face broke out into his lovely, always disarming smile, and he waved back, 'Pheri betau la! Bye-bye!'


  • Sometimes perhaps a short life and a happy one is better than anything we doctors have to offer. This is the proverbial "life-changing" book.
    Dr James LeFanu in the Daily Telegraph

  • This book tells the story of Simon, a water engineer, his wife Jane, a GP, their children and their years in Nepal. Both working with Nepalis, their love of the country, its culture and people shine though. There are vivid descriptions of local life, mountain treks, wildlife, flowers, the baking heat and dramatic monsoons. But more than this, it is a book about their family. Their eldest son, Alexander, is three when they arrive. He adapts to his new life easily and happily. His younger brother, David, is disabled. The Nepalis understanding and acceptance of his multiple challenges is heartwarming - and there is a thread of joy in David's life that runs through the book and is genuinely moving. Narrated by Jane, it is well written and carefully observed, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

  • Listed as one of ten great books set in the Himalayas

  • Your story had so many layers to it, one minute I was sad the next smiling, then marvelling at how realistic you were, the imagery of cherubs…I loved it
    Kim Napier of World Nomads

  • vividly drawn... as much about the terrain and wildlife in rural Nepal, Jane's experiences offering basic medical care to Nepalis, Simon's river projects, Alexander's engagement with new friends and the often comic recollections of setting up home, as about David's life.... beautifully depicted.. a family at peace with the choices they made to give their children the best life possible.
    Juno magazine

  • For the last eight days, I have been listening to Eternal Snows. Today I heard you interviewing a variety of cooks in Rajapur. Your perseverance in wishing to learn Nepali is quite staggering.
    It is a wonderful book you have written and thoroughly engrossing.
    Your descriptions of plants, trees, birds, animals, mountain ridges, are so beautifully drawn that I can picture the bougainvilleas, peepul, banyan, banana, mangoes. I especially loved your bird calls. You obviously have a remarkable ear for sounds.  
    Dr Mujtaba Tayabali

  • I loved listening to this book.  The intensity of life experiences described, the decisions made, particularly the courage to go against medical professional advice and society's norm, was admirable and humbling!  The adventures described, trekking with the children up the Himals was especially awe-inspiring. Also impressive was the way the author documented her feelings, the details with which she observed Nepal (the sounds, colours, textures....).  And her amazing humour!  In the middle of grief and despair, the sounds of birds, dripping water... communicating to her.  The narration was excellent. 

  • Wilson-Howarth does, as is expected, notice the dirt, the lack of hygiene and the pove­rty, but the flame of the forest blazes brighter than all that, setting her firmly apart from many expats who treat their Third World experiences as a kind of slum tourism. 
    Outlook magazine, New Delhi

  • I picked up 'A Glimpse Of Eternal Snows' while in Pokhara, Nepal, this April. I have not cried and smiled through a book in a long time, but this one worked magic on my heart. Thank you for making David the centre of this book, he has brought me so much joy this past month. I often think of his chuckles and his love for chaos and smile to myself as I imagine him delighting in them, and I will continue to do so every time I experience chaos around me. What a legend he is ! 
    It will soon be monsoon where I am, and I can't wait for David to 'wee on us' as Alexander said in the book. 

  • I couldn't put this book down, the writing was so beautiful. I found I needed to follow every day of little David's life.

    Ken Elliott, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia

  • Towering snow-covered Himalayan peaks on the cover attracted my interest initially, however after a couple of chapters I was struggling to get into this book, its content focused on pregnancy, rigours of childbirth and a handicapped newborn.
    Not really my idea of a mountain adventure. The book features the Wilson-Howarth family. Jane, mother and trained paediatrician, is the author. Husband Simon works on infrastructure projects for a world aid agency. Their children are Alexander, an active pre-schooler, and newborn David, who with cleft palate and severe yet undiagnosed neurological problems, promises to turn their world upside down.
    The author struggles as intuition and professional knowledge forces her to face David's degree of impairment and uncertain future. Medical colleagues add to the worries, viewing her newborn as "an interesting case", but not talking openly or honestly about his prognosis. Chapter two passes by and I am really not attached to this story, too many hospital scenes and worrisome kids.
    The family then faces a choice. Stay and endure the best and worst of interventions modern medicine and surgery provide, or escape to a simple life in Nepal where another infrastructure project beckons, and enjoy the limited time they may have with their impaired son and brother.
    In Nepal things are looking better. We are out of the hospital ward, and the children become just part of the story as they struggle to cope in a hot and very different environment. The author leads her family in small adventures as they sample a culture steeped in superstition, prejudice, poverty and cultural divides.
    By chapter 10 I am really enjoying this book, there are no epic events - as is often the case with living in foreign cultures, it is the small things that make the interesting tales.
    The real epic, however, is played out in David's slow physical and mental progress and the couple's tortured self doubt over their non-intervention strategy to hopefully provide him with a better quality of life.
    The conclusion is in some ways surprising, beautifully expressed. It tells of how a family held true to a belief that quality of life mattered most, and how their Nepal experiences equipped them well to maintain that belief.
    In postscript notes, the author says the script started as a travel narrative but developed into a story incorporating David's birth and struggles. She has blended his story into the travel narrative beautifully.
    — NB this bloke reviewer thought this one gets better as it goes along —
    Ken Callagher - Waikato Times (NZ)

  • A poignant memoir of a family trying to make a difference in Nepal, while raising a child who has been written off by medics. Its a tail of courage, love, humour and healing.
    The Reading Agency

  • This is a beautiful story, beautifully written. Wilson-Howarth’s style, at once both rich and spare, had me at the first paragraph. It’s one of those rare books that make you want to slow down to enjoy and ponder every sentence — but also speed up to find out what happens next. There is so much to relate to in this story “of love and loss,” and if you’ve never been to Nepal, so much to learn, too. Wilson-Howarth takes us on a journey of the heart, all while showing us the grand and minute details of a place most of us will never be able to see.

  • A poignantly written memoir about a couple’s decision to volunteer in remote Nepal with their three young sons, one with a severe disability. Jane is a doctor and her husband is an engineer, and while they attempt to make a difference in the lives of the people they live and work amongst, they also strive to provide the best possible lives for their children. This includes baby David, whose alternative life is to be stocked up with medication and given daily blood tests in UK hospitals, as an ‘interesting medical case’. 

    A zoologist by training, Wilson-Howarth’s prose is wonderfully observant of the natural environment, and little David is bound to capture every reader’s heart.

    Claire Bennett on shepherd.com

  • An emotional rollercoaster. Couldn't recommend this book more. If you have spent any time in Nepal, it will bring back fond memories. And if you haven't spent time in Nepal, the book has so so much more to offer around a number of important topics.
    on Audible

  • I love this book. It’s an open and honest account of Jane’s care for her disabled son, making life-changing decisions, and stresses and fears about whether they had made the right ones.
    It’s also about Jane’s love for her son, her family, nature, humanity, languages and cultures.
    It’s a wonderful balance of living in a very different culture and landscape, her husband’s difficult work there, health, family life, travel, and wildlife. She gives evocative descriptions of the bugs, sounds, colours, people and unbelievable landscapes of Nepal.
    Jane’s voice is easy to listen to, her gentle humour, her utter sadness and joy of life. Amazing.
    Eleanor reviewing the audiobook

  • Thoroughly engrossing tale of the author's family's life in a remote Nepalese village. Loved reading it as it brought back so many memories of my own trips to Nepal.

  • Travel writing rarely evokes a sense of place quite like this. Like all great writers, Wilson-Howarth has an eye for the idiosyncratic detail, the amusing observation, and a perfectly structured narrative arc that ties it all together. This book tells you more about Nepal than most others and so much more; rather than the story being framed simply in terms of a set of observations about place and culture, it is framed in the author's own experience which provides an immediate comparison with cultural differences in the concepts of medicine, disability, and parenthood. The author's own voice on this audiobook brings the work to life. Highly recommended!

  • I am writing to tell you that I chose “A Glimpse of Eternal Snows” for the latest meeting of OUR Book Group (that’s its name). The book was extremely well received by all. We found it very touching, vivid and most enjoyable. It engendered such good discussion. It was an excellent conversation about the emotional, physical and descriptive aspects of the book. A really good book club book!

    Gladys N

  • Books don't get more inspirational than A Glimpse of Eternal Snows.

  • An easy read that took me right back to my days in northern India, although it is about an English family’s adventures in southern Nepal. I loved this book and wanted to stay in its world forever.

  • a beautiful book...  an insightful account of motherhood and a fascinating portrayal of living as an expat in Nepal. I loved your attention to the natural world around you.
    Patrick Chadwick, filmmaker

  • an acclaimed memoir
    Tribune (India)

  • I have to confess an interest here, since it was me that urged Jane to write a book about her son David. When she told me his story I was so moved, and inspired, by her decision to take this sick child to Nepal, that I knew that she must share her story with other parents and other adventurers.  I’ve known Jane as a travel writer for years, but this book reaches a new level, part travel, part poignant human-interest. With its twin strands describing the trials and rewards of practising medicine in a remote Nepali village, and the locals’ warm affection with little David,  it’s funny, moving and inspiring in turns.

    Hilary Bradt

  • A commanding story about life in Nepal. It considers difficult problems surrounding disability and the ethics of who should be treated - or not. It contrasts Western views of imperfection and death with more tolerant, fatalistic views in Nepal. Valuable to those caring for disabled children, health professionals can learn from her experiences and enjoy a good read.
    Journal of the British Global & Travel Health Association

  • A Glimpse of Eternal Snows captivated us all and within days of receiving the manuscript, we knew that we simply had to publish this book. Jane writes beautifully and while her account of her son's life is very poignant, it is not in any way self-indulgent. We simply get to know her and her family so well, that the choices that they make, heart
    rending though they may be, make perfect sense to us. In addition, Jane's huge love of Nepal, the people, the scenery, the culture and language is spell binding. I am the last person in the world who would consider a trekking
    holiday in Nepal to be a fun thing to do, but after reading this book, I was ready to pack my bags and head for the airport.

    It is a rare experience in publishing, to begin a manuscript and to be so captivated by it that you know that you simply have to have it. I had that experience, and so did everyone at Murdoch Books and we are truly thrilled and delighted to have this wonderful book on our Pier 9 list.
    Juliet Rogers CEO Murdoch books

  • Featured by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire Libraries' BOOK A DAY IN MAY literary celebration
    BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

  • Wilson-Howarth is a very accomplished travel writer and the account of the family's 200 mile trek with a three year old in tow is nothing short of mind-boggling
    Alexandra Pringle

  • An extraordinary book - all Jane's books are fascinating
    Micaela Amateau Amato

  • When I read the media release for this book I thought “Oh no, it’s going to be a real tear jerker” and I put it aside to concentrate on other more worldly tomes. I could not have been more wrong, and it will be a very long time before I forget this book. In fact, I hope I never do.
    David, Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth’s second son, was born with serious neurological disorders. Battle after battle with the medical profession, who had diagnosed David as severely retarded, forced the family to make a life changing decision. To stay in England, where David had access to the best medical services or return to Nepal, where they could make his short life one worth living.
    Against huge opposition, they returned to Nepal and that’s where this story of courage, love and beauty really begins. It’s a shared story of adventure, colour and humanity. The shining thread that pulls the book together is their love for their ‘beautiful boy’ and the disparity between the embarrassment they encountered back home to the Nepalese people’s huge love and admiration for David’s differences.
    It is a celebration of life, beautifully written with clearness devoid of any self-indulgent grief or blame. David’s differences are woven tenderly within the descriptions of the vibrant Nepalese culture and the family that adored him. It’s a story of triumph and a glimpse of eternal snows. I’m very glad I read it.
    Deb Perry The Sunshine Coast Daily www.thedaily.com.au

  • I loved reading about little David... who sounds as though he had a short but very colourful life full of love. You really described his bubbly character and I loved the descriptions and picture of him... sounding so happy and contented. Your book has been particularly useful at the moment for me... I am struggling with my nine month old baby who has started waking for long periods at night and for feeds. I found your book so refreshing to read - on how you coped with three small children under such difficult circumstances... I was also reassured that you fed Sebastian in the middle of the night when he was a year. In the era of Gina Ford and the 'feeling you are getting it wrong' it is so lovely to hear about someone who did things so differently.
    Julie W, Saffron Walden

  • “Your book is beautifully written and it is an incredibly important story to tell.”
    Dr Clare Goodhart

  • Wonderful and moving... reading this book is effortless - as if just chatting to the author
    Peter Pitt FRCS, FRCP author of A Surgeon in Nepal and The Scalpel & the Kukri review in The Writer: Journal of the Society of Medical Writers

  • I have just today finished your book A Glimpse of Eternal Snows and want to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I admire your decision to take your son David away from what would have been an never ending round of doctors and treatment had you remained in England yet it cannot have been an easy decision to make and carry through. I think however you can take pride that, in the final analysis, it was the correct decision. You gave him as happy a life as it was possible for him to have - you should be proud of your son and the life you gave him. 
    The narrative is both insightful and beautifully textured. I just loved the descriptions of life in Nepal and all the wildlife in your book - it was all so very evocative. In total a wonderful read and the sort of book that stays with you after finishing it.

    Lesley Stoddart by email April 2011

  • I read this on my first trip to Nepal and finished it all too soon. As a lone female traveller I found Jane's courage both in Nepal and in writing this account hugely inspiring.
    lone female traveller

  • What an amazing read this was. I was sorry to come to the end but hoping Jane will write the next part of her story very soon.
    The book is beautifully produced and presented, and wonderfully written, leading the reader on through the story that grips at every turn with artistic descriptive work and tantalising insights into life far from home. Jane is able to paint pictures of people and wildlife so well with her words.
    The story centres on her family, husband Simon and their two children, Alexander and David. David was born with medical problems and disabilities. Jane's description of the emotions this evoked within the family from even before the doctors' diagnoses are a must read for the medical profession and anyone with friends or family living with a child with significant medical problems.
    Posted on fishpond

  • Well written. I felt like I was there. Heart wrenching, following little David’s illness. I laughed at his happiness. And cried at the end. The author made you feel like part of her family.

  • A moving, honest account of Dr. Wilson-Howarth's time in Nepal with her family, and the loss of her beautiful son. She is a talented writer, and gives vivid descriptions of her surroundings, and writes honestly about the joys and struggles her family went through.

  • I read this book in almost one sitting. Even stopping for a cup of tea seemed a distraction. It is a sad tale but ultimately very uplifting. It shows the nature of love and loss. It is written by author who loves Nepal and this shines through. Brilliant book.

  • This astonishing true story tells of a mother's heart wrenching decision to stay in her homeland of England so her ill son can receive the best of medical care... or return to her adoptive home of Nepal so he can live life free of the constraints of being labelled a fascinating medical case... this book is brimming with wonderful evocative images from Rajapur Island, Nepal. The backdrop is breathtaking and its people wonderful. Highly recommended.

  • A Glimpse of Eternal Snows evoked such strong memories of our time spent in Biratnagar when our daughters were just 18 months and three and a half years; the vignettes you painted of the everyday events in your life mirrored many of our experiences - bitter sweet, breath-taking, difficult, enjoyable, heartbreaking, the whole gambit.
    Well done for writing about such a personal tragedy, but also a personal success.
    Alan Beadle, water engineer

  • compelling reading, with a blend of personal adversity, humour and information about Nepal. I sat with the atlas beside me following your journeys. David's life may have been short but even the most serious 'interesting cases' recognise and respond to love. He was truely blessed.
    Hilary Furlong, Suffolk

  • I was greatly relieved to find [that this book is] completely unsentimental yet at the same time very moving... The most powerful impression that remains is of the great vibrancy of Nepal and its people... The prose is consistently good and at times quite exquisite. It seems a very bold thing to write a book which is simultaneously a family memoir, a travel book, a social observation of a poor country, a natural history and an adventure story. Jane has managed to do so outstandingly well.
    Harry Goode, Cambridge Writers

  • This book will stay with me for some time, the intimate account of the author’s thoughts and feelings throughout this journey made me feel much more present than any other book.

  • I'm immersed in writing about mothering young children with disabilities (specifically vision impairment, but most of them have/had other conditions), and by night in bed I'm reading your book, which is fantastic, and gives me a whole extra level of insight, especially the first part about the health services. The different themes in the book come together brilliantly, David, Nepal, the health issues, the family, Simon's work, the wildlife, etc, and make it a really good read.
    Ellie, Oxford

  • absolutely fantastic; really beautifully written. I spent the whole weekend reading it and it's given me itchy feet to go and do some useful engineering. I love all the animal descriptions, especially the birds with saucy scarlet bottoms.
    Tom Newby, development engineer

  • I have just today finished your book A Glimpse of Eternal Snows and want to say how much I enjoyed it. I admire your decision to take your son David away from what would have been an never ending round of doctors and treatment had you remained in  England yet it cannot have been an easy decision to make and carry through. I think however you can take pride that, in the final analysis, it was the correct decision. You gave him as happy a life as it was  possible for him to have....  you should be proud of your son and the life you gave him. I know you really are proud of him so do not ever feel you should hide his existence.
    I just loved the descriptions of life in Nepal and all the wildlife in your book -  it was all so very evocative. In total a wonderful read and the sort of book that stays with you for a while after finishing it.
    Lesley by email

  • "This is a moving but incredibly satisfying story, full of sadness and difficult choices."
    Good Book Guide

  • With a title like that you know this book is going to be sad. Surprisingly I didn’t feel sad until the end. The story is actually very uplifting. You feel for the family having a son born with profound disabilities, but the pleasure they receive from his short life and the decision to spend that time in Nepal, is full of hope. The British medical system is deemed to be the devil in this book. The family wanted to be left alone to enjoy their child for a long as they had. I was at first like the grandmother in the story who questioned the decision to take the child from the best medical care, but when you look at the quality of life and love he had in Nepal, without medical intervention, the decision seemed very wise. The mother, who was also a doctor, was full of angst about the decision. It was incredibly moving to read about her guilt and uncertainty but eventual faith in what the family decided to do.

  • I'm another Murdoch's author (Holding up the Sky). Diana, my editor, often slips me books to read in the Pier 9 line and I've just finished yours. I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved getting to know David. What a gift! It saddens me to hear that people in England wouldn't even acknowledge his existence. I'm so glad you changed the focus of the book and put him in the centre of it. I've enjoyed my daily bus rides into Sydney from the Northern Beaches, having you, David, Simon, Alexander and Sebastian for company.
    Sandy Blackburn-Wright www.wrightings.com.au

  • Heart-breaking and life-affirming account of how a Cambridge medical doctor struggled to come to terms with her second child’s disability and how she and her husband fought to make his short life one worth living. Against much opposition from the medical establishment, they returned to Nepal, where they were involved in development work, and where the Nepalese people’s embrace of their ‘beautiful boy’ was in cheering contrast to the silence and embarrassment they had encountered back home. "Jane writes beautifully and while her account of her son's life is very poignant, it is not in any way self-indulgent. .... In addition, Jane's huge love of Nepal, the people, the scenery, the culture and language is spell binding.
    Juliet Rogers, MD, Murdoch Books

  • thanks for sharing your family's life in Nepal. A Glimpse of Eternal Snows was a very moving story, especially of David's life. On my recent visit to Nepal I had the privilege of visiting the British cemetery and David's grave. It was a peaceful lovely place, with red bougainvilleas in flower. Your book was also a useful reference guide on my trip.
    Janice Fransen

  • consistently brilliant; a joy to get lost in...
    JW - Surrey

  • I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book. I found it very moving and read the last chapter through tears. I loved the way you wrote about David and he will stay with me for a long time: you painted him so vividly.
    Carrie Boyes, London

  • This book was also a wonderful travelogue of Nepal. The family did some inspiring treks with all very young children in tow. You realise that nothing is impossible. It was funny and enlightening to read her descriptions of the different Nepalese people, their caste structure and different racial tensions. She describes their simple but very impoverished lives with compassion. Their bleak medical system and very strange approach to western medicine mixed with local healing customs was both amusing and sad. Wilson-Howarth was totally shocked and frustrated by the lack of interest in preventative medicine locally. In turn, the Nepalese were often shocked at how the British family lived. They often wandered in and out of their home to check them out. The concept of privacy and ownership were very wavy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It took the reader on both a spiritual and physical armchair journey.
    jenny hogan's blog

  • I’ve recently got to the end of your Glimpse of Eternal Snows book, and just wanted to say a huge thanks for writing it and sharing such personal experiences. I love Nepal, and am a GP trainee, so found the mix of experiences really engaging – and it has really given me cause to reflect on how I interact with disabled children and their parents, so I’m sure it will have a positive impact on my practice for the future.
    Dr Helen Ashdown

  • reading your book has made me really nostalgic for the country even though we were only there for just over two weeks.
    Michelle Hogg, Woodbridge

  • such a good book... beautifully written... sensitive. Books which one actually looks forward to going to bed to read each night seem to get more scarce, but this is certainly one of them.
    Maggie F, Elmsett, Suffolk

  • I did a desert island discs today and I chose A Glimpse of Eternal Snows as my book; the audience thoroughly enjoyed hearing about it. Your language got a couple of room-roars of laughter and I think they understood it was my choice because it's the book that has it all.
    Ali Denham, Kingsbridge

  • a beautiful book, uplifting and inspiring
    Ben Spencer, Oxford

  • moving, insightful and generous hearted book
    Nick Austin, editor

  • thought-provoking reading for medical students!
    Ann Allison RGN

  • A rainy couple of days gave me the ideal opportunity to curl up and read your book. It is a riveting and deeply emotional tale and I am full of admiration for you on many levels. It is an overwhelming tale of grief; denial, anger fiercely directed against the clever doctors, guilt and I hope ultimately resolution, because here is a book of triumph of David's short life. I clearly remember coming to visit you on the first trip back to England with David. Alexander was out with friends and I played on the floor with David and remember his smile and infectious laugh. You told me of your trek and how the children had joined you, carried by the guides and how David had thrived in Nepal. So I remember him. David was loved and cherished, accepted and stimulated and he has enriched the lives of others and will continue to do so through your book.
    You are poetic in your description of the countryside and wildlife. It is obviously your passion and your spiritual solace. I had a strong feeling of what it was like to live and work in Rajapur. Reading the book, I travelled into a world of my own and I have also spent the last two days reminiscing about PNG. You are very honest about the challenges you faced and I admire your strength of character and determination. The country and cultures are totally different but we have shared some of the experiences of being a third world expatriate. I lived in a town of about 25,000 people. I have never come to terms with the violence or my total sense of failure as a doctor.
    It is such a powerful story. You can expect people to have strong reactions to it because it does challenge the reader to think about disability and illness, life and death. It challenges us to think about the third world and what is important in our lives. It will challenge some religious views. That will be uncomfortable for some people.
    I am delighted to hear that it is selling well in Australia (despite calling jandles flip-flops) and I am sure it will do well when it goes global. Good book club material.
    Dr Veronica Spooner, GP

  • I would encourage anyone going to Nepal to read your book. Most travellers only interact fleetingly with the Nepalese. Your [Jane’s] experiences will give others the understanding they do not have time to absorb.
    Susan Salmon, letter from Sydney

  • Namaste Jane,
    I came across your book A Glimpse of Eternal Snows in a second hand book store while looking for some reading to while away hours in a cold tent on an upcoming trekking trip I'm leading in Nepal. The problem is that I've just put it down, having finished it between patients in a short GP locum I'm doing before heading off - so much for my planned mountain reading!
    In 1996 I first went to Nepal as a volunteer doc with the Himalayan Rescue Association working in Manang on the Annapurna circuit, I had just spent 5 months volunteering at a hospital in Dharamsala, India with the Tibetan Government in exile. Your book took me on a journey remembering that time of trying to help those with so much less than me living on the subcontinent. I'm lucky to have been back many times since then, although I have yet to visit the Terai. 
    Thank you for writing the book and sharing your story with the world.
    Dr Andrew Peacock, Sunshine Beach, QLD, Australia

  • We have trekked in Nepal several times, most recently to Dolpo, and spent (unintentionally) three days in Nepalgunj. As a tourist it is difficult to get close to the local people and culture. Your book provided many valuable insights. We learned a lot from it. ... also ... your lack of self pity and your courage is an inspiration.
    Meredith M, Glasgow

  • Reading A Glimpse of Eternal Snows you can almost smell the spicy samosas and feel the dusty heat-haze of the Rajapur bazaar in the western terai of Nepal where Jane, a zoologist and GP, spent almost three years living with her husband and two (and then 3) small children. But more beautiful than the vivid descriptions of Nepal at its most primitive is the story of their second son, David. David was born with multiple medical problems and when they realise that endless medical tests and treatment are doing nothing for David's quality of life, Jane and husband Simon make the difficult but courageous decision to take David away from the doctors and return to Nepal where they can enjoy their short time with him and where he is seen simply for what he is: a beautiful, happy baby boy.
    Rose posted on Fishpond 25/01/2010

  • Have you ever lived and/or worked for extended periods in a Third World country? If yes, then you will relate well to this book. It will jog your memory on coping with the inevitable cultural differences we face. Have you ever been trekking in Nepal? If so, then reading this book will bring back many memories of your experiences there. Or have you had the personal experience of bringing into the world a severely physically and mentally disabled baby? Jane, a medical doctor and keen naturalist, in an easy-to-read style and format brings all these elements together to present a very personal account of living in Nepal in trying physical and emotional circumstances. But it’s not a sad tale, although there are heart-wrenching moments, nor is it full of uplifting clichés. It is a simple account of the trials and pleasures associated with living in difficult conditions with the added complexity of caring for a disabled child. Give it a go - you won't be disappointed.
    Posted on fishpond

  • Where to buy

    The northern hemisphere edition (including in electronic formats) of Glimpse launched in the UK October 2012 by Bradt Travel Guides, and in the US and Canada in 2013 through Globe Pequot. 

    The e-book can be bought directly from the publisher for just £4.49 - click Bradt Travel Guides. Direct sales like this (rather from amazon) are better for both the author and the publisher.

    Some second hand copies may be available via Amazon.com | www.blackwell.co.ukwww.fishpond.co.uk

    A third edition was launched in March 2015 by the Delhi-based publisher Speaking Tiger Books and this is available throughout the sub-continent. Wisdom books in Kathmandu have it in stock.

    During the pandemic I recorded Glimpse as an audiobook and this launched on 18th December 2020 on Audible.

    Alternatively readers in the UK might consider supporting our wondeful but threatened public libraries (as well as the author) by borrowing a copy. I was pleased to find out that nearly three and a half thousand people in Britain have borrowed Glimpse in the last eighteen months, and for each loan I receive the princely sum of 6.25 pence. I'm delighted to learn so many people have met David in this way.