“An epic of love, loss and wisdom – almost unbearably sad but ultimately uplifting.”



I read a short newspaper piece about the practice of Sky Burials a couple of years ago and have been curious about it ever since, so when I was looking for an X author for our blank X section in the reviews and this popped up it seemed the obvious choice.

I ordered it online immediately and when it came I was surprised to find a small read, not quite the tome I was expecting but the book certainly still held a lot of punch and will stay with me for a long time.

The memoir begins with Shu Wen’s meeting with Xinran in a teashop in Suzhou and what follows is the story told from one woman to another.

The book starts in the 1950s during China’s attempt to bring Tibet under Chinese rule when Wen’s new husband is ordered into Tibet with the army and subsequently is announced as ‘dead in action.’ Wanting to know what happened to her husband and maybe even find him, Wen heads to Tibet, despite not speaking the language, despite being young, and despite being a woman, and what follows is the most extraordinary story.

I don’t want to spoil the premise of the book and I’d certainly hate to spoil the end, but for a small book this memoir spans many years of Wen’s tale and her extraordinary and remarkable time in Tibet looking for answers.

A classic love story it will stay with me forever. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of romance, there isn’t any of it, just the story of love and the journey for answers that kept me spellbound with every page. This is the kind of book you could easily read in one sitting, I almost did.


Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 16th November 2015

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Kath Cross