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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet (2004)

by Xinran

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9425021,987 (3.88)125
In 1958, notified that her husband, a doctor in the Chinese army has been killed in action in Tibet, Shu Wen joins the army, determined to go to Tibet to uncover the truth, only to find herself alone in Tibet, embarking on a thirty-year nomadic odyssey in a novel based on a true story.

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Bookbox - ABC VBB; Sky Burial refers to a way the Tibetians bury their dead, but you don't get that until the very end. It's labeled as fiction but reads like a biography. Shu Wen became a physician & married another doctor in the People's Liberation Army that was sent to Tibet. When she got word that he was lost in action, she went to Tibet to find him, only Tibet was not like China at all - she was taken in by a nomadic family and spent 30 years there searching for her husband. In the end she found that he had died and been given a Sky Burial, but before he died, he saved a Tibet man and given his journals to him to give to his wife. Very lyrical and beautiful. Looking up information online, Tibet has never been recognized as its own country, but is considered part of China. ( )
  nancynova | Oct 14, 2023 |
En la China de 1958, Wen y Kajun, jóvenes estudiantes de medicina, deciden casarse. Pero en seguida Kajun se alista como médico en el Ejército Popular de Liberación de Mao y es destinado al Tibet. Antes de cumplirse los cien días de la boda, Wen recibe la notificación de la muerte de Kajun, sin especificar bajo qué circunstancias y sin haberse hallado el cuerpo. Incapaz de dar crédito a la noticia, Wen se alista como médico militar y parte al Tibet en busca de noticias sobre su marido. Allí se sumerge en un mundo para el que no estaba preparada, pero la determinación de encontrar a Kajun la impulsa a seguir adelante incluso cuando, al separarse de su regimiento, se pierde en la montañas del Tibet y es acogida por unos nómadas. Durante treinta apasionantes años de vida errante, Wen descubrirá las costumbres y rituales de una cultura extraña dedicada a la religión, una vida a menudo desconcertante en la que las mujeres pueden tener varios maridos, la costura es un oficio de hombres y los forasteros no pueden tocar objetos religiosos. Tras años de aprendizaje, de descubrimiento y de transformación personal, Wen dará con un eremita que solía contar la historia de un médico chino que, años atrás, puso fin a las hostilidades entre chinos y tibetanos, pagando por ello un precio muy alto.
  libreriarofer | Aug 20, 2023 |
This book tells the (fictional) story of Shu Wen, a Chinese woman separated from her physician husband by military service during the Chinese-Tibetan war of the 1950’s. She spends thirty years searching the wilderness of Tibet to find out what happened to him. In the process, she lives with Tibetan nomads, and learns about their culture, religion, rituals, and ways of life.

My main issue with the book is that it appears to be marketed as non-fiction, but it is, in fact, historical fiction (as stated in the copyright page). The author is using a fairly common literary device, but I think it should have been clarified from the outset.

Once I realized this book is something different than expected, I very much enjoyed reading it. I do not often come across books set in Tibet that are not related to mountain-climbing. This region is now part of China, but it has its own distinctive culture, which differs significantly other parts of China.

It is not a typical love story. Love is the driving factor behind Shu Wen’s search, but the vast majority is spent on the journey, with very little devoted to the couple’s relationship. It reads almost like a fable, with the underlying message that despite our differences, down deep (in the areas of needs, desires, and feelings), we are all very much the same. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
A few weeks back I read another tale of Tibet, Eat the Buddha. Though the story told in that book was fascinating, the whole was a mess of anti Chinese propaganda. As I discussed in some detail in that book review, I spent a good deal of time in China, in the 80s and 90s including a number of months in Chengdu and villages west of there. People shared with me horrible heartbreaking stories of their experiences during Mao's rule and the time of the Gang of Four. I am no fan of the Chinese government, but there is plenty of real stuff to talk about without ascribing internal evil into every Chinese person and internal good to every Tibetan person. Chinese Tibetan relations are complex.

So I was thrilled to read this book which told a true story, a fantastical tale that is engrossing and sad and informative and free of political editorial. Xinran relates a story as she heard it, and it is filled with lost love and true bravery and respect for every person depicted. I guarantee you have never read a story like it, and that if you have an historical interest in Tibet you will be engrossed. ( )
  Narshkite | May 8, 2021 |
Megkapó könyv az emberi kapcsolatokról, akár szerelem, akár barátság, akár emberbaráti szeretet és tisztelet… ( )
  gjudit8 | Aug 3, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Xinranprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lovell, JuliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tyldesley, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Toby who knows how to share love and experience, space and silence
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In 1994 I was working as a journalist in Nanjing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In 1958, notified that her husband, a doctor in the Chinese army has been killed in action in Tibet, Shu Wen joins the army, determined to go to Tibet to uncover the truth, only to find herself alone in Tibet, embarking on a thirty-year nomadic odyssey in a novel based on a true story.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Young Chinese wife seeks
Missing husband in Tibet.
End: Answers. Where's home?

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