Heathens, Pagans and Witches discussion

The Song of King Gesar
This topic is about The Song of King Gesar
37 views
Group Reads > The Song of King Gesar

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments A Tibetan epic in novelised form.


message 2: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments I'm just trying to find my copy in my mess.


Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I have a copy & can join in.


message 4: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Hurray!


Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I've begun this and very much like how it's written.
It alternates between 'The Story' and 'The Storyteller', Jigmed, a modern-day shepherd, with his donkey, who dreams (or strives to dream) Gesar's story, in the way of traditional storytellers who are thought to be taught by direct inspiration.


message 6: by Elen (new)

Elen Sentier (elen_sentier) | 3 comments OK ... on the to-read list. Will watch how it pans out for you.


message 7: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Oh it makes me want a donkey.


Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Aaron wrote: "Oh it makes me want a donkey."

Me too! had to mention the donkey.


message 9: by Aaron, Moderator (last edited Aug 19, 2014 02:59PM) (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments My dwelling place looks like one of those underground gnome habitations with books from floor to ceiling, and I'm having a pesky time digging up my copy, although I know I've seen it recently somewhere in this lair.


message 10: by Little (new) - added it

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Love your description. Mine's the same but everything is in boxes.

Seeking a copy of this one. The donkey did it for me...


message 11: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments It has donkeys!! {encouraging participation} -- the sheep aren't bad either.
Further, I'm finding the descriptions of Tibetan landscapes gorgeous. These belong to the 'novel' part I guess. In other words, it's nicely novelised, while still being the legend.


message 12: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments This book needs an introduction. I am bursting with questions. Consulting Wiki on the Gesar epic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_...

I'm finding it very interesting. 80 pages in. Sensing that this is a novel about Tibet, also, and I wish I were more familiar with the original material so as to see what Alai is doing with the story. Hints & suggestions about Tibet's history, is this the epic or is Alai talking about the history? Is the introduction of tea, and what it entails (addiction. Now you need the merchants) in oral versions?

Moments when: the grass decides not to grow here next year and leaves (followed by the people). Or the villain who is only evil through a spell gone wrong: He, too, had been great-hearted, until Fate had intervened.


message 13: by Little (new) - added it

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Picked up a copy for my kindle yesterday. resolved to read it and join in on a group read for once. Back soonish....


message 14: by Gaile (new)

Gaile (kittygladu) | 18 comments Aaron wrote: "My dwelling place looks like one of those underground gnome habitations with books from floor to ceiling, and I'm having a pesky time digging up my copy, although I know I've seen it recently somew..."

I can relate to that! One day I took a book out of the library, (In fact, that happened twice!)only to find I had a copy sitting on my shelves here at home. I tried making lists of what I buy only to find out that didn't work. I cull the shelves once in a while to make room for more and then I get confused again.


message 15: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments The culling can in itself be confusing, not to mention emotional.


message 16: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Okay I found my copy, so I'm all in. I was about to accuse someone I'd lent it to of not returning it and concealing it from me, when I discovered it under a pile of books I swear I checked five times last week. "To find what you are looking for, see what you are looking at." is a quote that came to me when I was actually playing a Hidden Object came.


message 17: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Thought I'd better report. I've jumped back into this tonight, have raced to p. 200. I think the incidents have livened up for me, since where I was last time.

It's still a bit strange between being a novel and being the traditional work. The Storyteller parts get ever more contemporary -- he's now being recorded by an international scholar who's come to study the Gesar epic.


message 18: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments I am enjoying this; I'm more engaged in the later stages and hope to finish in a couple of days.
To be honest, though, I'm more interested myself in non-Buddhist versions of Gesar. So I want to go on to read this one online, a translation by Sarangerel Odigon of the Buryat/Mongolian Gesar epic. She was a shaman and the story here is in the context of Tengerism.

http://buryatmongol.org/epic-of-king-...

with info on the translator:
http://buryatmongol.org/about/

Also, I've found an ebook with translations of two Baltistan versions. Sorry, no entry on Goodreads, have to link to Amazon. From the description: "The two versions presented in this book, unlike many others, make no reference to Buddhism. Rather, similar to the Mongolian Geser, they tend more towards reflecting the culture of the region, in this case Baltistan." I love the rest of the description and can't wait to try out this one. A steal at 99c for what looks like a scholarly translation, 315 pages.

http://www.amazon.com/King-Kesar-Ling...


message 19: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments And finished. Happily... sad end in a way but book gives me a buzz. I'm glad I've read this novelisation. Alai, um, comments on the story more and more, through his interweaved singer's life in the present day. There's a clash-with-modernity aspect, and -- I have no idea how much of Gesar's own dissatisfaction with his deeds on earth might be in the 'original'. Whether it's Alai's addition. He grows disenchanted with his war-making and the imperfect society Gling remains.


message 20: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments The downside is no footnotes, introduction or orientation of any kind. It's not so much a novel that it doesn't need that. It even has terms left in italics (whether they are Chinese or Tibetan words I can't say -- Tibetan I expect) with never an explanation what they mean. I think readers, unless familiar with the material, need more equipment than the publisher has given us.


message 21: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments The shepherd boy dreams of other worlds beyond the mountain passes. I particularly liked this because I've had such dreams myself. The other worlds had a distinctively Tibetan feel also.


message 22: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments When he is born, although he is comely, King Gesar's mother declares that he is ugly and nick-names him "Joru" This shocked me at first until a friend told me about a tradition in India where they put a black mark on children's faces to help them avoid the evil eye, because comely children are like to attract jealousy and ill will.


message 23: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Did anyone else notice that they sometimes referred to the Bodisattwa as "he" and sometimes as "she"?

The image of Joru riding on his stick made me think of the stereotypical flying witch. Does anyone know where this image came from historically? How did witches come to be associated with flying on broomsticks?


message 24: by Bryn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 252 comments Aaron wrote: "The image of Joru riding on his stick made me think of the stereotypical flying witch. Does anyone know where this image came from historically?..."

At a guess, we can't tell for sure. I see the flying on (broom)sticks associated with shamans' horse-headed sticks, but what with the antiquity...


back to top