Across Many Mountains
This multigenerational saga relates the lives of a Tibetan family prior to the Chinese invasion in the 1950s, to the present day. Recounted by the granddaughter Yangzom, this
is the story of her grandmother Kunsang, a Buddhist nun who with her family fled from Tibet to India when the Chinese arrived; her mother Sonam who marries a Swiss national after being brought up as a refugee in India; and Yangzom's own life in Switzerland and New York.
From displacement to assimilation, from cultural conflict to acceptance, this book records the challenges these women faced adjusting to changing circumstances while preserving their Tibetan heritage.
Translated from German.
Comments from Groups
We found this inside story of the Tibet-China issue very interesting, and the way that the three women's lives evolved was most readable. We pondered the ethical questions raised and generally had a good discussion. Coromandel 002
There was a lot to discuss, in particular our understanding of Buddhism; the differences that culture make for how life is lived; the attitudes to death and children. All enjoyed this book and finished reading it-not always achieved by all! Ngongotaha 001
A very interesting read, especially explaining the Buddhist religion. Having the three generations to compare made the book more interesting. Geraldine 002
We unanimously loved this book! Loved her clear `dispassionate` telling of the stories, insight into Tibet, Buddhism and culture. We especially liked the notes. Levin 001
One male member didn't like this book but the rest of us did and it led to good discussion. Taumarunui 003
Very interesting to hear about early culture in Tibet. None of us really knew about the invasion of the Chinese. Invercargill 001
Most enjoyed this, it's a great story of a 'journey' in lots of ways. Very interesting reading about Tibet, we all got an education and relevant in the current climate with China/Hong Kong.
The group found the book well worth reading, the author was not a natural writer, but the story was so interesting; the relationships between the women,how they adapted/accepted/lived with their changing circumstances. We all loved the grandmother. It generated great wide ranging discussion.
Some of our group considered this 'the Book of the Year'!! While two of the group were somewhat ambivalent, the rest of us were thoroughly engrossed by the story. We enjoyed the naivety of the storyteller who we felt spoke from the heart, often revealing personal feelings and details that gave the reader deep insight into the Tibetan way of thinking, and of Buddhism....
We all enjoyed the book, and found it interesting and informative about a country of which we knew little. We learnt a lot about Buddhism and Tibetan beliefs in particular. The author is very insightful in her observations of her grandmother, her mother and herself. Most found it an easy read but one that stays in one's mind afterwards. Much discussion of politics afterwards.
On the whole the group enjoyed the book. We agreed that it was a very insightful account of the Chinese invasion of Tibet, particularly in the 1950s. Written in a simple style, it was very readable with amazing descriptions of Tibetan culture. Highly recommended.
Mixed reactions. Some criticized it as not very well written and needing editing. Others really enjoyed it as a remarkable story which introduced us to an unfamiliar culture and religion. It raised interesting questions on refugees/exile/generational changes over time. The first half of the book in Tibet and India was the most successful.
While a few of our group didn't really get into this book, some of us loved Yangzom's story of her mother and grandmother. Their journey across Tibet, over the Himalayas and into India was both inspirational and miraculous. What a wonderful story!
Although we found the book slow in places and not particularly well written, the subject matter led to a very lively discussion. We were impressed by the strength and determination of the three women in the story. It also generated much interest in the plight of Tibet.
A fascinating insight into the almost medieval lifestyle of the Tibetan people prior to 1950 and the Chinese invasion. Excellent writing style, particularly in the early chapters, which was much enjoyed by all members. It was an eye opener and extended our imaginations! The section dealing with the move to Switzerland gave rise to very good discussion. Interestingly, a number of the group did not finish the book.
Generally a disappointing read with only one member loving it. Several didn't finish it but it did generate good discussion. We felt the grandmother's story was the most interesting and members would have liked more detail of her later life. One member questioned the validity of some of the statements and found it quite implausible.