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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,998 Ratings  ·  678 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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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I get the feeling that there is a nugget of truth in it, well filled out by the writer. She says she spent 2 days in the woman's company and then lost…moreI get the feeling that there is a nugget of truth in it, well filled out by the writer. She says she spent 2 days in the woman's company and then lost touch with her. You can learn a lot in 2 days if you pay attention and take notes or record or whatever. But we will never know the truth of "the truth" as we are told the woman vanished without a trace.

There's a thing called "emotional truth" in psycology: while the story itself may not be absolutely factual in every detail, it resonates with things which are true in themselves, or true for those who have been through similar experiences.(less)

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Sr3yas
Sep 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This might be the first time I am happy about false advertisement. I expected a love story and received a little bit of everything instead.



Before starting this book, I had assumed some points on the story.

1. I had no idea what Sky Burial was. I imagined it was the ceremonial burial of the dead in high mountains, closer to the sky.
2. As the subtitle stated, I expected epic love story with all the works: The first meet up, falling in love, hardships and so on.
3. Gauging the number of pages, I exp
...more
Duane
This book was written by Chinese writer Xinran and was translated from the Chinese by Lovell and Tyldesley. It is positioned as non-fiction but I can hardly believe that's possible. It is such an amazing story that it reads like fiction, very good fiction. It is the story of Shu Wen, a young, newly married Chinese girl who, in 1958, see's her soldier husband of 4 months go off to Tibet to fight for it's unification with China. Shortly thereafter she is notified that he has been killed but with n ...more
KristenR
Oct 21, 2008 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.
Connie
Nov 10, 2014 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
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.
Mery
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mèo lười
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minh không thich đoc chuyên ngươi TQ noi vê Tây Tang. Minh cung chăng la gi tâp tuc Thiên Tang cua ho. Đo la li do tai sao khi găp quyên Thiên tang ơ hiêu sach cu, vơi cai đê tưa kiêu 'a, đoc tui đi ban se hiêu hiêu chut chut vê tuc thiên tang, vê môi tinh trương ki cua cô nư chinh' minh đa bo no lai. (sau nay mơi biêt no hiêm cơ nao).

Tây Tang vơi minh la môt chôn siêu siêu hâp dân. Dâu cho tuôi tre cua minh ngâp ngua văn hoc Nhât, sên sua kiêu Phap hay hai hai, buôn buôn kiêu Đưc thi minh vân m
...more
Chip
Aug 14, 2010 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
Alaina Meserole
Sky Burial was a really good book. I honestly wouldn't have read it on my own until I had a task for a couple of different challenges. I went into this book with no expectations because honestly with a title like this.. I was bound to assume all sort of wrong things.

This is a story about Shu Wen. a young newlywed who watches her husband of four long months head off to war. Shortly after that, he's killed and she get's a letter with little to none information about how or why it happened. So she
...more
Sylvia
Apr 20, 2009 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
...more
Nanny SA
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, 2010, borrowed
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
...more
Nina
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gac-sach
Một thiên chuyện tình thiên táng bất diệt đẹp rạng rỡ hơn vẻ hào nhoáng của chuyện tình Titanic. Ờ mình phát hiện, những chuyện tình có thật và đẹp như vậy có lẽ là chỉ sinh ra trong nghịch cảnh mà thôi...
Cuối năm rồi mà trình độ đọc "tăng" lên rõ rệt, vớ phải mấy cuốn ưng ý quá chừng cứ nhai đi gặm lại đến độ nhờn mặt mấy tác giả luôn. Giá mà được nói chuyện với tác giả để hỏi cho biết cái dụng ý của họ có thực như cái mình phân tích và cảm nhận được không chớ cứ như cái hồi đi học phổ thông n
...more
Haiiro
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#2018ReadingChallenge #PopSugar
07. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift

Sự huyền bí, hoang sơ và gần gũi với tự nhiên biến Tây Tạng trở thành một vùng đất gây hứng thú và tò mò cho tôi. Cuốn sách này thú vị ở những chỗ viết về tập tục và văn hóa của người Tây Tạng, dù rằng không được hệ thống và phong phú lắm vì nó vốn không phải dạng sách phổ biến kiến thức. Và mặc dù tái hiện lại những sự kiện có thật trong cuộc đời của một người phụ nữ có thật, chuyến hành trình của cô ấy vẫn
...more
Jimmy Navy
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
Huyen Pham
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Trên vùng cao nguyên, bầu trời có thể thay đổi, con người ta có thể thay đổi, bò cừu, hoa cỏ đều có thể thay đổi, song những ngọn núi thiêng thì không. Nếu các vị để thông điệp lại trên mười ba ngọn núi thiêng, những ai biết về Zhuoma sẽ tìm thấy chúng. Sự sống khởi nguồn ở tự nhiên và quay về với tự nhiên. "

Cuốn sách kỳ lạ về một đất nước kỳ lạ và những con người kỳ lạ. Dù cho đã thoáng gặp qua Tây Tạng trong vài cuốn sách viết về Phật giáo và du ký nhưng đọc Thiên táng vẫn làm mình kinh ngạc
...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
Joon
Jul 04, 2011 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
Andrea Cox
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenges-2017
Wow. This story was incredible. The love and devotion Shu Wen felt for her husband must have been amazing, because she searched for him for thirty years when he went missing while serving his country. I was incredibly moved emotionally by such sheer devotion and dedication to finding her true love once he'd been lost to her. This was a very emotional read for me, and I was fascinated by the twists and turns of Wen's journey.

The author, Xinran, is a very talented writer. Though I am unable to rea
...more
LemonLinda
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book specifically to fit a challenge task which was to read a book set in a country I had never before read about. And I certainly picked the right book for the task as I previously knew little about Tibet but through this book I learned of the land and the harsh climate, the people and their culture, how and why it is so isolated and is so different from other places in that part of the world.

I also learned of the story told to this journalist of a beautiful thirty year journey of
...more
Jenny
Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, non-fiction
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
Nancy
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Non amo leggere i romanzi dal taglio giornalistico perché il tipo di tecnica utilizzata tende a rallentare e ad avvilire il respiro della narrazione. In questo caso, superate le iniziali perplessità di approccio stilistico, sono rimasta incantata dal fascino delle descrizioni delle caratteristiche culturali tibetane, dalle quali il libro trae il suo punto di forza. Indubbiamente il contesto, rappresentato da riti, tradizioni e usanze, si rivela apertamente singolare agli occhi e alla mente occid ...more
Endah
Oct 12, 2008 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
Harun Harahap
May 11, 2009 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
...more
Angie
Aug 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tibet, 2012
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
...more
Lilisa
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Based on the book summary and the first two pages of the book I thought the book was non-fiction…But as I delved into the book, I started to wonder whether it was really non-fiction or fiction and discovered the chatter about whether it was or not, then flipped to the copyright section of the book where it clearly states that it’s a work of fiction! So now, I’m thoroughly confused whether it is or not — I wish the author could be upfront and transparent with readers and clarify - is it or not??? ...more
Astrid Reza
Aug 21, 2007 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
Van
Jul 08, 2015 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
...more
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
...more
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
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.
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.
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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.” 45 likes
“Just as books are read one word at a time, roads are taken one step at a time.” 4 likes
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