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Sky Burial by Xinran

Sky Burial

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

As a journalist and broadcaster in China, Xinran encouraged women to come forward and tell their tales. The result was astonishing and The Good Women of China, the seminal book, developed from the material. This extraordinary story expands one of those tales. It tells of a wife’s search for her husband in Tibet, a love story, a history, a clash of cultures. Quite devastating.

If you like Xinran you might also like to read books by Adeline Yen Mah and Anchee Min.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Sky Burial by Xinran

In 1994, Xinran met a woman whose story was so extraordinary, it came to obsess her. Of all the Chinese women that Xinran had interviewed for her radio programme (famous in China for its discussion of women's lives), Shu Wen had endured things far beyond the imagination of most people. For over thirty years, she had wandered the empty, silent mountains of north Tibet in search of her husband, a Chinese soldier who was missing in action.

She had gone there in the 1950s as a young woman in her prime; she had returned to China grey-haired and utterly changed by her experiences. Shu Wen's life story, brilliantly recreated by Xinran, gives a unique, moving and unforgettable insight into the landscape, religion and nomads of Tibet. At the same time it illuminates the complex and emotional relationship between the Tibetans and Chinese, uncovering the history that lies behind it. But, above all, this is an epic love story - the tale of a woman who adored her husband so much, she gave up everything she knew to travel thousands of miles to one of the most intimidating countries in the world.

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A romantic epic of loss and redemption, of stoic constancy in the face of the vagaries of fate * Financial Times * Part family story, part mystical adventure in an alien culture, it's like Wild Swans crossed with Seven Years in Tibet * Conde Nast Traveller * This little-known culture has been brought vividly to life through the incredible love story of Shu Wen. This story of an extraordinary woman written by an extraordinary woman will stay with you long after closing the book * Sunday Times *

About the Author


Xinran was born in Beijing in 1958. In the late 1980s she began working for Chinese radio and went on to become one of China's most successful journalists. In 1997 she moved to London, where she began work on her seminal book about Chinese women's lives The Good Women of China. She now has a regular column in the Guardian.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2005



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176 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Autobiography: general
Travel writing
True stories of heroism, endurance & survival



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