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Diarios del Sáhara

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,318 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Sanmao es camino, es búsqueda y es vida, pero sobre todo es libertad. Chen Ping, Echo, Sanmao: tres nombres, tres nacionalidades que ilustran la condición errante de la autora, de quien hizo del camino y los que lo transitan su hogar. Sanmao, caminante infatigable, hace bueno el dicho de que la valía y cuantía del tesoro son siempre ínfimas si se las compara con la aventur ...more
472 pages
Published October 26th 2016 by :Rata_ (first published May 1976)
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I absolutely loved this book and it will likely be my favourite nonfiction title of the year. It is so refreshing to read a travelogue by a woman from a culture other than "Anglo-Ameri-Pean", and to be discovering a writer that has been beloved by Chinese and Taiwanese of all genders for decades, available for those who like to read cross cultural literature of all kinds.

This is one of those books where you don't even want to share what is inside, you just want to press it on everyone and say "R
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, travel

I tore feverishly at the wrapping paper and opened the box. Wow! Two eye sockets of a skull stared up at me. I pulled this surprise gift out with some effort and took a proper look. It was a camel skull, white bones neatly assembled, with a huge row of menacing teeth and two big black holes for eyes.

I was overjoyed. This was just the thing to capture my heart. I set it on the bookshelf, clucking and sighing in admiration. ‘Ah, splendid, so splendid.’ José was worthy of being called my soulmate.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jimmy by: Claire
I loved these stories, and I loved Sanmao! Her voice, empathy, and personality came through so strongly I felt like I knew her and that we had already had many conversations by the end of the book.

Sanmao is a Taiwanese woman who made up her mind to travel and live in the Western Sahara in a time when few women would have dreamt of it. While there, she wrote about her experiences in these essays that are filled with warmth and humor, but also darkness as well in the form of slavery, war, colonia
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The biggest inspiration in my life. This is what makes me the way I am. I can never thank her enough. Tragically, she is not with us anymore. I really want to stand in front of her, holding her hands and say thank you! You changed my life!
Echo was extremely famous in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan back when the days she was still alive. There is no need for me to introduce her or this book to a Chinese. But for those who are from another corners of the globe, I welcome you to the world of Echo, whe
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most inspiring books I have read in a while. Sanmao's personal tone tangled with her openness, honesty, sensitivity and observations are frankly unique. I cannot emphasize enough how much I enjoyed to bear witness of her tales of adventure. Certainly I tried to keep in mind the book was first published in 1976 (translated to English first time in 2019) and "despite the profound empathy with which the writer viewed almost everyone in her life" there are several instances where she may ...more
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My third read but this book never gets old! 读懂了三毛,读懂了人生--this statement still stands.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just incredible. The stories are written with wit, knowledge, and open mindedness.

I had good hopes. I knew Sanmao as an early female travel writer, and her books were recommended to me numerous times by Taiwanese friends before a translation was available. Reading it now, finally, I couldn't believe the freshness of her writing, and I wonder how this must have come across in the dictatorships of KMT Taiwan or CCP China in the 70s and 80s. Sanmao's (real life) stories are amazing, no

Second read:
the only reason I took that long to finish off this reread was only due to the fact that I couldn't bear the thought of reading that last sad part of the story :'(
Coco Lau
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author Echo is my favorite favorite writer!!! This book is the 4th books of her that I have read. She was brave and different. She went to the Sahara desert by her own. Her lover Jose soon came for her then they start their life there. Who would like to go to a desert. I was very surprised and impresses the first time I knew about her life. This book mainly talked about stories in Sahara desert. Her language in her writing was casual and descriptive. Those story came from her real life so I ...more
Phillip Kang
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rare but very fascinating excursion into life in the Sahara desert through the experience of a foreigner, a Chinese lady, who calls herself Sanmao. Most people, used to urban living, will not find the arid desert - its searing heat, golden sand dunes, and barrenness - alluring but she did and spent many years living there with her Spanish husband.

Told with humour, and seriousness at times, her stories cover a wide range of experiences: with the desert inhabitants, places, political tensions, e
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I treat it as a work of literary fiction, I find it easier to appreciate Sanmao’s writing—and then it’s wonderfully fun to read, with stories of djinns and curses and sandstorms and resourcefulness in the desert; also easier to accept the author as a period character, with all the prejudices of the period. As nonfiction, I appreciate Sanmao’s overall unconventional and bold approach to life, but her melodramatic recountings of herself as protagonist, much less.
Ting Zhang
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese
I cannot believe that as a Chinese, it took me this long to discover the stories of 三毛。I love her straight forward story telling technique, her love for adventure, and the carefree way she lives from day to day. Deep down, I believe that there is a 三毛in every one us, waiting for us to unleash her spirit and venture daringly into the unknown ;)
Alan Teder
Love in the Barrens
Review of the Bloomsbury hardcover edition (2020) translated from the original Chinese 撒哈拉的故事 (Sahara Story) (1976)

I had never previously heard of Taiwanese writer Sanmao (March 26, 1943 – January 4, 1991) until I chanced to see a film documentary Sanmao: The Desert Bride (Spain, 2019) via Toronto's online HotDocs Festival 2020.

Stories of the Sahara (1976) is a collection of travelogue and autobiographical memoir articles about Sanmao's life with her husband José María Quero y
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I raced through this book: a page-turning account written in 1976 by a Taiwanese/Chinese woman married to a Spaniard who realised her dream of living for a while in the Sahara Desert: which was in the 1970s still a Spanish protectorate. Sanmao is infectiously enthusiastic, curious, not to say nosy about the Sahwari people among whom she lived, and tells us much about everyday life and culture, and the reality of living in a climate which is in the course of a single day searingly hot and brain-n ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I only heard the screaming and braying of the camels in the slaughterhouse grow louder and louder, higher and higher. The entire sky slowly filled with the immense echoes of the camels’ cries, coming down on me like thunder”

I didn’t know Sanmao and how famous and important she still is in the chinese background and literature.
Reading Stories of the Sahara was an unexpected journey not only throughout sarahwi people and their traditions and Sahara desert itself, but also in Sanmao’s life.
She ha
Piye Yuan
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I was a kid, the stories about Sanmao have been repeated by my mom and aunt. Unlike all their rants that I choose to be oblivious to, Sanmao's story was one of the few that has caught the attention of my rebellious ears and been imprinted on my mind. Who would have thought that I'd come across her stories again after 20 years?

20 years have flown by. The bratty kid who used to finger through his mom's book collections has now become a brattier grown-up. Less hair on the top and more gr
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition idea of freedom and humanity.
I first read her book when I was very young and at the time I didn't"t appreciate it due to a lack of life experience, but now that I am older and lived my life though up and downs..I can understand how beautiful and real she was. her heart was so pure and sensitive, she saw small things and the true-self of every human being she interacted with. she was a true heroine, a pioneer and a friend.

In China, we had little ideas about Africa nor Spain..therefo
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful piece of travel literature by the Taiwanese writer Sanmao very much exceeded my expectations. It's very much a fish-out-of-water tale about her life in the Sahara desert. Because of her incongruous presence in this unlikely setting, to which she moved with her Spanish husband in the 1970s, she brings a very unique, unusual voice to this work.

Like the best travel and adventure literature, this balances very well a description of her day-to-day life with humorous misunderstandings,
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
So refreshing!

This collection of short stories completely transported me to the Sahara and allowed me to adventure with Sanmao throughout her time in the desert. I was spellbound by her skill at writing intense and comedic scenes - she has a fantastic way of keeping the reader's interest (and surprising them) as she weaves her stories together. Although Sanmao's paradigm may be a little insensitive to Sahrawi culture at times, it is unapologetically honest and mostly open-minded. I learned so
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Here's what makes this collection of experiences exceptional:
⦁ Sanmao is a young Chinese woman writing during the 1970s, a time when young people were changing established norms.
⦁ Sanmao is a gifted story teller. Her observations are witty and honest, easily read.
⦁ She describes the native Sahrawi culture with sensitivity to the vast, vast differences between tribal nomads and Westerners.
⦁ Readers quickly identify with someone coming of age with love and a new marriage. These stories immediately
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the notable work by Sanmao, first published in 1976 and finally first translated into english in 2020!!!

It's a memoir during her days living in Western Sahara during the 1970s. The memoirs were divided into several chapters served as short stories, they were fantastic, fun, loving and emotional towards the end. (It gets heavier as pages turn)

Sanmao's life in the Sahara were not spent alone. She married her husband Jose, in the desert and all stories involve her husband, friends,
James (Jimmie) Price
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars
This book is quite frankly one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read. Sanmao, a Chinese woman full of wanderlust, moves to the Spanish Sahara during the dying days of Spanish colonialism. The result is as fascinating as that mix of people, place, and culture sounds like it would be. Rather than being told linearly, though, Sanmao breaks up her narrative into short stories told in random order, so her storytelling feels like you’re sitting next to an old friend around a good campfire, heari ...more
Yih Lin
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I was transported to the Sahara desert through these beautifully written stories. Each of them breathes a life of its own, filled with heart-pumping adventure, amusing wits, courageous vulnerability and wonderful tenderness. I gobbled them up like a hungry ghost. I am in awe of how brutally brave Sanmao lived her life and told her story, even more so as a woman living in the 70s. I also thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics and relationship between her and her husband, an equally independent, fre ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the stories are excellent. They purport to be "true," but it seems to me that there is a little literary nudging going on.

Basic outline: Sanmao, Chinese woman, lives in Sahara with José. She describes her many experiences in the Sahara, conflicts of culture, dangers she faces, civil unrest. Beauty of Sahara comes through over and over, but the most amazing thing is really the given: a Chinese woman living in the Sahara desert with her Spanish husband. Just to get to that spot takes a rem
Alma Tello
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing! Sanmao was the first global traveler blogger before blogging existed. I devoured this book. Sanmao made me feel like I was in Spanish Sahara Desert with her and I learned about the Sahrawi people. I’m saddened that there aren’t many more books of hers available to read, such an amazing, adventurous woman who died too young could’ve taught us empathy towards those living different lives than ours.
Julian Walker
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful collection of stories about a recent past, mixing myth and reality, in a fabulously descriptive writing style which vividly brings desert living to life.

Filled with fascinating characters, customs and beliefs, the author brings and original perspective to her life in a land far from home, in a hugely enjoyable and escapist read.

I was recommending it to others even before I had finished it.

A lovely book.
Ian Williamson
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, 'The Mute Slave', 'Crying Camels', and 'Lonesome Land' chapters that end the book are some of the best stories I have ever read in any genre. It was so easy to think of Sanmao and Jose as some kind of historical fiction characters, and it blows my mind that this is basically a memoir. It does not read like a memoir at all. 5 stars easily, can't wait to read everything Sanmao ever wrote. ...more
Sep 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
A portal into another world. What a remarkable woman Sanmao was - brave, determined, reckless, infuriating, unique - I would not have survived a week in the time and place she describes - her strength in making a life there is inspiring. I didn't love all aspects of the book - the trip to Madrid was just an inner monologue about her mother-in-law - but I am glad it was recommended to me ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taiwan
Sanmao has been hyped pretty hard to me, so this fell a little flat. I wonder how the translation is. I mean, it's a highly-readable translation, but I wonder what it is that people love about her writing in Chinese that (probably) didn't come across in English. The story I liked most was of her first arrival in the desert. It felt a bit more raw than the others. ...more
Jan 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese
Although the book wasn't really my cup of tea, the audiobook I listened to (located at was really well-made, with extra bonus features like songs by and about 三毛 at the end of each chapter. The book itself is written in a style similar to "Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman". ...more
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Sanmao (Chinese: 三毛; March 26, 1943 – January 4, 1991) was a Taiwanese writer and translator. Her works range from autobiographical writing, travel writing, and reflective novels, to translations of Spanish-language comic strips. She studied philosophy and taught German before becoming a career writer.

Born as Chen Mao-ping (陳懋平), her pen name was adopted from the main character of Zhang Leping's m

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