Old Demons, New Deities

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edited by Tenzin Dickie
OR Books, New York and London, 2017

Old Demons, New Deities is the first anthology of contemporary Tibetan fiction available in English. Though Tibetan literature dates back millennia, its modern form is under forty years old. It began in 1980 and 1981 with literary journals, Tibetan Art and Literature and Light Rain.

In this book, readers will get an authentic look at the the lives of Tibetans in various settings such as the Himalayas, India, and New York, as they understand the relationships between tradition and modernity, occupation and exile, and the personal and the national. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Tenzin Dickie is a writer and literary translator living in New York. Her writings have been published in Indian Literature, Apogee Journal, Tibetan Review, Himal SouthAsian, and Cultural Anthropology, and anthologized in The Yellow Nib: Modern English Poetry by Indians from The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry and The Tibet Reader, forthcoming from the Duke University Press. Her translations have been published in The Washington Post online and Modern Poetry in Translation. She is an editor at treasuryoflives.org, a biographical encyclopedia of significant figures from Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalayan Region.

 

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The Borderlands of Asia

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introduced and edited by Mark Bender
Victor H. Mair, University of Pennsylvania, Cambria Sinophone World Series, 2017

The Borderlands of Asia is a collection of works by poets of diverse cultural backgrounds from the borders of China and India: the Himalayas, Northeast India, Myanmar, West and Southwest China, and Mongolia. The book is the result of Mark Bender’s personal connection and research in those areas since the early 1980s. The themes include rapid environmental change, such as resource extraction; damming of rivers; loss of wildlife and habitat; population displacement; and how these changes influence traditional culture. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Mark Bender is a professor of Chinese literature and folklore at The Ohio State University.

 

The Blue Sky

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By Galsan Tschinag

Translated by Katharina Rout
Milkweed Editions, 2006 

Galsan Tschinag is the German name taken by Irgit Shynykbai-oglu Dshurukuwaa, a Tuvan born in Mongolia in the early 1940s. Tschinag studied in Germany in the early ’60s and ended up leading the Tuvan people, dispersed under Communism, back to the High Altai mountain region. This autobiographical novel, the first of a trilogy, mines his Mongolian boyhood as a youngest child with an unusual devotion to his grandmother (who comes to live with his immediate family in their yurt). Galsan has aspirations to increase the family’s holdings to 1,000 animals and a yurt with a mirror and a suitcase. As Tuvan customs get disrupted by the Communist government’s attempts at societal homogenization, the boy continues to tend sheep without the company of his siblings (sent to boarding school) and turns to Arsylang, his dog, for companionship. The foundations for his natural ambitions disappear piecemeal. Tschinag offers softly outlined characters more in the oral tradition than that of the novel, and fly-on-the-wall depictions of the Tuvans, a generally nonaggressive, nomadic tribe with a knack for maxims and poetic superstitions. Descriptions of the Altai mountains, remarkable sky, and closeness to the flock are slow but rich. The book is filled with small pleasures. (Publishers Weekly)