Saturday, 14 March 2009

My Thoughts: Sky Burial by Xinran


At just 168 pages I didn't expect this book to include as much as it did. The novel is a story the author tells about the life of a wonderful woman she once met briefly. The Chinese women Shu Wen falls madly in love with another doctor, they marry as he is off to help the Chinese army in their trip into Tibet. Going along as the medical aid rather than a fighter doesn't seem all that dangerous, yet 100 days into her marriage and Wen's husband is dead. What is worse, the army have no body to send back to be buried or any details of how her husband died.
Wen decides to join the army herself as a medical aid, in order to be able to travel to Tibet and try to discover just what happened to her husband. Just a few days into her travels in Tibet Wen is seperated from the army and with a rich Tibetan woman she finds herself in the wilderness of Tibet, staying with a Tibetan family who survive from the land and move from place to place according to the season and their needs.
I loved the insight that was given into this society and culture, Tibet is one of those countries that I caould name on a map and know that there are problems with China but that is about it. Since reading this book I have an urge to discover more about the history, people and culture of Tibet - through both novels and non-fiction. If anyone has any recommendations share them here.

Challenges:
A-Z (Author)
Orbis Terrarum
Lost in Translation (from Chinese)

6 comments:

Rhinoa said...

I read this a few months ago and found it to be much more beautiful than I was expecting. Like you say it packs a lot in to such a hort novel. Have you seen the film or read the book Seven Years in Tibet?

Scrap girl said...

This sounds beautiful. It will help me with my X author. Great review.

bethany said...

Oh, I am adding this to my wish list! I would love to learn more about the people of Tibet. Thanks so much for your review.

katrina said...

I've heard of the film now you've triggered my memory, will have to find a copy of either the film or book. Thanks for the tip

Hedgie said...

I'd not heard of this before but am certainly interested in reading it now. thanks.

One Swede Read said...

Sounds great! Plus, I'm looking for a "Tibet-read" so this was very timely. Thanks for the review!!