Kristen's Reviews > Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom

Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen
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's review
Aug 20, 2011

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Read from August 06 to 20, 2011 — I own a copy

I received an Advance Readers' Copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

"Across Many Mountains" is a memoir of three generations of women from a family. Kunsang was born and raised in Tibet, prior to the Chinese invasion of Tibet. As an adult, she chose to be a Buddhist nun. With her family she flees across the Himalayas during the Chinese occoupation of Tibet. Her daughter, Sonam, is born in Tibet, becomes a refugee in India as a child, eventually moving to Switzerland where she raises a bicultural family. Her daugher, Yangzom, is born and raised in Switzerland, but feels ties to her Tibetan heritage. She is the author of the book.

I enjoyed many facets of this book. It was fascinating to learn about traditional Tibetan culture, Tibetan Buddhism, and the lives of Tibetan refugees in India. I also respected that the author did not hide the flaws of her Buddhist faith, providing a non-sanitized, accurate portrayal of her religion.

On the other hand, I do not think that the book is well-written. The author switches from first- to third- person point-of-view throughout the book, often within chapters and paragraphs, which is distracting to the reader. Many times the author also includes descriptions of events or details in one or two paragraphs that distract from the narrative. Finally, the book seems rushed--like the author was trying to include too much information in too short a space. Both Kunsang and Sonam are fascinating women but their stories seem to have been skimmed. Yanzom's story is by far the weakest, seeming unfocused.
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