Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sky Burial - Xinran

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 164
Reason for Reading : A~Z Challenge

A beautiful love story spanning China and Tibet. The author is called to meet a lady who is Chinese but has spent most of her life living in Tibet. Her name is Shu Wen and it is her story that fills the pages of this novel. Wen has spent decades searching for her husband in Tibet. They got married in their twenties and after 100 days he left to go to war as a doctor. The next thing Wen knew is she received a letter saying he was dead along with the rest of his unit, but that no one could offer an explanation as to how he died. The wording of the letter is different from those usually sent when someone dies in battle for their country.

She does all she can by following him to Tibet to find out what really happened. Along the way her regiment is dogged by Tibetan hunters who are slowly killing them off, two each night (usually the drivers so they have less and less transport across the wild, open lands). Wen saves the life of Tibetan woman Zhuoma who is suffering from exhaustion and who the soldiers want to kill, and is repaid by her kindness over the next few decades.

The story follows both women as they become separated from the other soldiers and end up living with a nomad family. There Wen learns Zhuoma's story as well as adapting to a completely new way of life with different customs, food, marriage laws etc. It turns out Zhuoma is also on a quest for love and the two women are closley bound in their search.

A beautiful book. I loved the descriptive language, especially about Tibet which is a country I know little about. The discussion of the politics between the Chinese and Tibet was well laid out with neither side really seeming to know the truth which seemed about right! The strength of Wen and Zhuoma in spending the rest of their lives looking for their loves was inspiring. Both had not known their partners for long and Zhuoma was not married to hers or had even told him she loved him. The description of the Sky Burial was also fascinating although perhaps a little hard to understand the logic behind it coming from a Western culture. Highly recommended.

6 comments:

3M said...

So glad you liked this, Rhinoa.

Great review, too!

Kailana said...

This looks like a good book. I have never heard of it before...

Melody said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book as well, Rhinoa! It's so beautifully written, and such a heartwrenching story!

samantha.1020 said...

I've got this one on my TBR list but now I'm moving it up. Thanks and great review!

Nymeth said...

It does sound beautiful, and I've seen so many great reviews of it. It's one for the wishlist for sure.

Nicola said...

I had planned to read this for my X book too but I know I'll never get round to it before the year is out. Not typically my kind of book but it does sound like I would enjoy it.