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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet

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4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,016 Ratings  ·  536 Reviews
It was 1994 when Xinran, a journalist and the author of The Good Women of China, received a telephone call asking her to travel four hours to meet an oddly dressed woman who had just crossed the border from Tibet into China. Xinran made the trip and met the woman, called Shu Wen, who recounted the story of her thirty-year odyssey in the vast landscape of Tibet.

Shu Wen and
...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published July 19th 2005 by Nan A. Talese (first published 2004)
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The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya AngelouEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Memoirs by Women
117th out of 1,606 books — 2,005 voters
Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich HarrerTintin in Tibet by HergéSky Burial by XinranInto Thin Air by Jon KrakauerThe Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
Books about Tibet, nonfiction or fiction
3rd out of 67 books — 43 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mery
Mar 17, 2012 Mery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gift, punya
Sudah lama sepertinya aku tak menemukan buku yang mampu membuatku tak berhenti membacanya, membuatku tak mampu untuk tak tenggelam dalam kalimat-kalimatnya, membuatku tak mampu untuk tak begadang demi melahapnya kata demi kata.

Pertemuanku dengan buku ini berawal dari kunjunganku ke rumah seorang teman. Bermulanya, ketika aku mengungkapkan rencanaku untuk membuat baca bareng di Goodreads Indonesia dengan tema buku perempuan. Temanku itu dengan semangat memperlihatkan padaku sebuah buku kecil deng
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KristenR
Oct 25, 2014 KristenR rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story.

I picked up this book at the library because I was looking for an author whose name began with X to finish my A-Z author challenge, and this was a slim book.

I found that I could not put it down. It was a beautifully written love story which was heartwrenching and joyous at times.
Chip
May 19, 2011 Chip rated it it was ok
This is an understated, compact book. I still find myself thinking about some of the imagery within, and until now I hadn't heard of a sky burial. I tried to read this book at face value, but found myself at the end wondering if there was a second, not-so-well-hidden agenda that sounded something like 'see, the Chinese and the Tibetans are friends.' The Dali Lhama was portrayed as a thief who had fled the country with an immense treasure. The Tibetan resistance was portrayed as savage, heartless ...more
Hadrian
'An Epic Love Story of Tibet' seems an inaccurate subtitle for this book. Rather, a 'Short Travelogue through Tibet and Qinghai and Interesting Discussion about Local Nomadic Customs with Brief Digressions to a Tragic Love Story'.

Let me be fair. I enjoyed the stories of Tibetan life and the love story was short and tragic, but somehow the translation made it fall flat. Then again, Mandarin is tough to translate. Guess I'll need to find the original, then.
Nanny SA
Mar 11, 2015 Nanny SA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, borrowed, 2010
OMG sudah bikin review , tinggal bikin penutup tiba2 lampu mati...oo tidak..hilang semua.. :(
malas bikin lagi.

Kesimpulan saja:

1. Kagum dengan kekuatan Cinta dan kekuatan tekad Shu Wen. Menghabiskan waktu selama lk. 30 tahun dengan penuh pengorbanan untuk mencari orang terkasih. Sampai akhirnya dia dapat merasakan semangat spiritual rakyat Tibet, dan menjadi penganut Budha yang senantiasa mendesahkan OM MANI PADME HUM.

2. Kagum dengan keluarga nomaden di Tibet yang sangat sederhana dan membantu se
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Sylvia
Apr 23, 2012 Sylvia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A beautiful story, beautifully written, and beautifully translated. Rasanya membaca buku ini membawa kita ke alam pegunungan Tibet, serta ikut merasakan kedinginan, kepanasan, dan berbagai musim di sana.

Ketika lembaran terakhir buku ini ditutup, cuma bisa menarik nafas dan mikir: "Kok bisa sih dia nulis cerita sebagus ini?" jadi pengen baca versi english nya, mungkinkah ceritanya akan lebih bagus? Tapi penerjemahannya sangat indah kok, sama sekali tidak mengecewakan.

Anyway, kisah ini dimulai de
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Jimmy
Jul 26, 2009 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love me for a reason!

(Secuplik kisah yang pernah dikirimkan seorang teman)

Sam: Aku sungguh mencintaimu.
Yuli: Tapi kenapa?
Sam: Tidak tahu. Haruskah ada alasan untuk mencintaimu?
Yuli: Ya, setidaknya aku tahu alasan kamu mencintai aku.
Sam: Begitukah?
Yuli: Ya, dan aku ingin mendengarnya.
Sam: (Berpikir sejenak) Baiklah, aku mencintaimu karena kamu cantik, senyummu manis, matamu indah, dan (bla-bla-bla...)
Yuli: (Wajahnya berseri dan hatinya berbunga-bunga)

Mereka lalu berpacaran. Sebulan kemudian, Yu
...more
Connie
Jun 19, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
Xinran was a journalist who had a radio program about the lives of Chinese women. In 1994 she received a call from a listener asking her to interview a woman with a fascinating story. She spoke with Shu Wen for two days, but was never able to contact her again. The copyright page calls Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet a book of fiction, but Xinran indicates in the preface that the novel was based on her conversations with this old Chinese woman. Shu Wen spent over thirty years in Tibet, h ...more
Endah
Nov 14, 2008 Endah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dahulu kala, di Tibet ada sebuah tradisi pemakaman yang sangat sakral. Orang-orang di sana menyebutnya pemakaman langit. Ritualnya dimulai dengan memandikan jenazah, kemudian mencukur habis seluruh rambut dan bulu di sekujur tubuh sampai bersih. Setelah dibalut kain putih, jenazah diletakkan dalam posisi duduk dengan kepala menunduk di atas lutut. Pada hari yang dianggap baik, jenazah digotong ke altar yang sudah disiapkan. Para lama dan orang-orang suci diundang untuk membacakan naskah-naskah s ...more
Angie
Aug 02, 2012 Angie rated it did not like it
This book was a let-down.

For starters, the format isn't as polished as it could have been. It's written like it is non-fiction, but it's in the Library of Congress as fiction, and many reviewers tend to think the book is "based on a true story," if not the true story indeed.

I don't like how the Tibetan people are portrayed. Either they are ignorant nomads who don't even realize that their country is under attack by Chinese forces, or they're brutal murderers hell-bent on killing every Chinese th
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Joon
Aug 25, 2011 Joon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, memoir
Sky Burial is an extraordinary story about a Chinese woman, Shu Wen, who travels to Tibet to find her husband. Her story begins in 1958, just after she and her husband are married. He gets sent into Tibet with the People's Liberation Army. Shortly after, she receives news of his death. Unwilling to believe the news, she travels to Tibet to find him. Motivated by her deep love for him, she wanders the Tibetan plateau for thirty years which finally leads her to discover the exact nature of her hus ...more
Harun Harahap
May 11, 2009 Harun Harahap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: punya, fiksi, terjemahan
buku yang dah lama gw incerrrrrrrr..karena banyak direkomendasikan orang n rata2 reviewnya bagus..n akhirnya dipinjemin Farah..thanx ya far..*hugging tightly*

pas gw baca..gw ga kecewa..mang bagus banged ceritanya..

mengisahkan seorang penduduk Cina, Shu Wen, yang juga seorang dokter militer yang mencari Sang Suami, Kenju yang berprofesi sama dengan Wen, ke Tibet..dimana dia diberitakan telah tewas..

Di Tibet, dia bertemu dengan Zhuoma, perempuan Tibet yang bisa berbahasa Cina..karena sering mengun
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Vicky
Around the World = Tibet.

One of the most beautiful books I've ever read. The writing is simple and sparse, drawing you completely into the story of Shu Wen and her quest to find what became of her husband, Kejun. For such a slim book, the scale of the story is epic, fitting the vastness of the landscape through which Wen travels and her gradual transformation from an outsider, a Chinese observing Tibetan culture, to becoming fully absorbed into the life through her everyday survival.

As an insigh
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Astrid Reza
Aug 21, 2007 Astrid Reza rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-book-shelf
Tibet is somehow had some strange attachment for me. This book told some insights of Tibet from a Chinese woman Shu Wen, who then become a Tibetian throughout the moments that she had lived. It's basically a tale of love, a tale about life struggle and survival. The ways of surviving that cannot be imagine ever before. Surviving in Tibet can be very hard for a young women who eventually just married for a hundred days in the 1958 of China. Her husband was lost in Tibet, therefore she come to Tib ...more
Jenny
Mar 07, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wen is searching for her husband Kejun in Tibet after she discovers he has gone missing in action. Her life in Tibet is extraordinary. She leaves China as a young Chinese woman and returns an old Tibetan lady.

I enjoyed this book. It was a very easy read, written simply but told a beautiful story. I found it hard to believe that everything I was reading was true. It taught me about the Tibetan culture which was a change as I normally read books about the Chinese culture. This is a love story, fa
...more
Boof
Mar 10, 2009 Boof rated it really liked it
This is a really lovely little book. I had to remind myself several times that it was a true story.

Shu Wen leaves China to look for her husband of just 30 days whom she is told has been killed in Tibet. What follows is a 30 year search for her husband and the people she meets along the way. The story is extraordinary, and Shu Wen never gives up hope, in all those years, of finding her husband.

I devour all books about China and this was no different. Incredible story.
Van
Aug 01, 2015 Van rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Câu chuyện kể về thời kỳ xảy ra giao tranh giữa Trung Quốc và Tây Tạng, nhưng không đề cập quá nhiều về vấn đề này mà đương như chỉ là cái phông để câu chuyện thực sự diễn ra.

Truyện mở đầu bằng việc tác giả đến gặp gỡ một người phụ nữ Tây Tạng kỳ lạ, và từ đó câu chuyện được kể lại dưới cái nhìn của người phụ nữ đó. Xuyên suốt câu chuyện, tôi thấy được tình yêu đẹp và thuỷ chung của một người vợ, tình bạn cảm động giữa hai người phụ nữ xa lạ, tình thân gia đình ấm áp, tình người nồng ấm tại mảnh
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Johannes Kristinsson
Jul 17, 2013 Johannes Kristinsson rated it really liked it
This story is nothing short of amazing. The authenticity of the story is sometimes so palpable that you feel you are enjoying tsampa with yak butter on a Tibetan hillside overlooking a monastery bustling with lamas. The protagonist of the story is incredibly strong and there is absolutely no question that the message of the book is a message all Westerners should take in and study ... hard. We Westerners tend to be lost in our own perceived self-importance. We are pre-Copernican, feel that every ...more
Bunga Mawar
Buat sebagian besar manusia "modern" yang mengenal kegiatan pemakaman berarti mengembalikan jasad manusia ke dalam tanah, maka "pemakaman langit" yang dijalankan oleh masyarakat Tibet dalam buku ini terasa cukup mengerikan. Ritual pemakaman inilah yang ditemui oleh Shu Wen, dokter muda asal Cina yang berkeras mencari jejak suaminya yang dikabarkan hilang di negeri atap langit itu. Kebetulan, pasangan Cina dari kelas menengah ini adalah pengantin baru. Setting cerita di tahun 1950-an awal, saat C ...more
Alison
Dec 11, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing
I only read this book because one of the things on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 ads is to read a book by an author for every letter of the alphabet - I was a bit stuck for X until a couple of people suggested this book. To be honest I wasn't grabbed by the synopsis and thought it would be a bit of a trawl and something to be got over and done with - how wrong could I have been!

This is the fantastical - yet apparently true - tale of Shuwen, as told to reporter Xinran after Shuwen's return
...more
Jayme
Sky Burial on the surface is the biography of a Chinese woman army doctor, Shu Wen, who travels to Tibet in 1958 to investigate the death of her husband. But what Sky Burial really is a wondrously moving story of the spiritual people of Tibet and the historical tension between China and Tibet. Through Shu Wen’s eyes we see the essences of a people as they nurture her and bring her into their fellowship. In 204 pages Xiran has given me an insight into a religion, people, and country that I will c ...more
Chaitra
I'm not sure how this is an epic love story. Shu Wen initially sets out to Tibet to find her husband (who she thinks is still alive despite a formal communication that he's dead) and bring him back home. She's conveniently placed in his unit, but that doesn't help, since no one remains who might have remembered the husband. She then conveniently saves the life of a Tibetan high society lady, who has a fascination with China. She even calls China her dream land and is basically setting out to mov ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is an amazing story! It's classified as fiction, but based on a true story told to the author by the woman who experienced it. The author had to fill in the details with fiction in order to make a story of it. Also includes lots of interesting tidbits about the Tibetan and Chinese culture.
Chrissie
Jan 06, 2008 Chrissie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio, tibet, favorites
Marvelous memoir. True life is more fantastic than any fiction! I would so love to visit Tibet!
Anh Dũng
Feb 03, 2016 Anh Dũng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: avaiable
Một tập tục mai táng người chết mang tính tôn giáo của người Tây Tạng có thể làm cho bất kỳ ai kinh hãi. Một sự hi sinh cao thượng của một anh bác sĩ quân y để đổi lại hòa bình, xóa bỏ sự hiểu lầm giữa người Trung Quốc và Tây Tạng. Một tình yêu mãnh liệt của một người vợ trẻ quyết đi tìm chồng dẫu phải đối diện với sự nguy hiểm có thể đe dọa đến tính mạng.
Khả Quân là một anh bác sĩ quân y được điều đi Tây Tạng ngay sau khi anh vừa mới lấy Thư Văn làm vợ. Thời gian ngắn sau đó, Thư Văn nhận được
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Deana
Jul 27, 2015 Deana rated it liked it
Shelves: read-library, 2015
This was a strong 3 for me, almost a 4 but not quite. I do think it will stick with me for quite some time. Already it is over a month since I've finished it and I still have FEELINGS.

The title of the book refers to a sacred funereal practice in Tibet, in which to honor the dead, the body is left out to be eaten by vultures and returned to the earth. The main character in the story, Shu Wen, is at first appalled by this practice when she travels to Tibet, and longs for the "more civilized" funer
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Christina
I’m not going to lie; I picked up Sky Burial solely because the author, Xinran, has a last name beginning with an ‘X’. I need an ‘X’ author to finish off the A to Z Challenge, and once I realized Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain wasn’t going to work because his name properly arranged for English is Xingjian Gao, I turned to the only ‘X’ author my library had on hand -- Xinran.

It’s not often, though, that I’m able to find a book for a challenge that I wind up enjoying. Usually I’ll slog through a boo
...more
Krystle
Dec 16, 2012 Krystle rated it really liked it
This story is a beautiful tale of love, loss, grief, loneliness, and friendship.

I really loved how the author wove her biography into a fictional one, interspersing fact with imagination to fill in the gaps. Her writing (or maybe the translator) has such gorgeous descriptions that are full of emotion.

You can see how strong Shu Wen’s love is for her husband and how she puts behind everything in her life to find out what happened to him. Her love is so strong and pure and you can really feel it bu
...more
Ian
Jan 02, 2012 Ian rated it liked it
Set in Tibet, this is the story of Wen, a young idealistic doctor who joins the Chinese army in 1958 in order to search for her missing husband. Married just a few weeks, he had joined the "liberation" of Tibet with the invading Chinese army.

This is a remarkable and colourful insight into the religious life of the country which effectively was the life and culture of Tibet, so different and alien to all of us including all the Chinese who went there.

Spread over 30 years, the book is heavy on the
...more
Connie (Ava Catherine)
Shu Wen and Kejun are married only three weeks when his Chinese military unit is called for active duty in Tibet. He has volunteered as a doctor in the Chinese army in the 1950s but is only in service for about one hundred days when his wife Shu Wen receives a message that he is dead. Because she is a doctor too, she volunteers for medical service in the Chinese army and goes to Tibet to search for her husband or clues about his death. She is separated from her unit during a skirmish and is take ...more
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Xue Xinran, who usually writes as simply "Xinran", was a radio broadcaster in China before moving to Great Britain and beginning to publish books. She currently writes as a columnist.
More about Xinran...

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“No one likes crying, but tears water our souls.” 36 likes
“No one like crying, but tears water our souls. So, perhaps my thanks should be to allow you to cry for the Chinese women in my books...” 1 likes
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