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Sky Burial

During a brief 1994 interview with hardscrabble widow Shu Wen, Chinese journalist Xinran became so caught up in her subject’s life story that she spent the better part of a decade fashioning it into a supposedly fictional narrative that reads like a memoir in Sky Burial. Part political history, part travelogue, Xinran’s lyrical account of Wen’s 30-year quest through Tibet to find her presumed-dead husband illuminates a largely inaccessible country’s hardy people, its communal, religious spirit (Wen comes to view the whole of Tibet as ”one great monastery”), and its continuing political struggles with its Communist neighbor to the east. However, given the intensity of Wen’s quest and the feeble length of her marriage (three months), Xinran fails to provide a motive compelling enough to match her heroine’s impassioned crusade.

Sky Burial
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