24 Nov / The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag, translated by Katharina Rout [in San Francisco Chronicle]
Far atop the High Altai Mountains in western Mongolia is an unpredictable climate of extremes – breathtaking in its warmer beauty, yet unforgiving in the harshness of its frigid months. Unknown to most Westerners, the Republic of Tuva and its nomadic inhabitants have endured a long history of occupation, caught at the blurred intersection of the Russian, Chinese, and Kazakhstani borders, entangled in a mesh of incompatible cultures, past and present.
Amid this fraught landscape, Galsan Tschinag’s autobiographical novel, The Blue Sky, opens with a disturbing dream: “This story may have begun in a dream. Was it a preparation for things to come, a warning perhaps? For it was a bad dream — a nightmare.” But the young protagonist is unaware that he should not voice his nightmare: “Don’t tell your dream to anybody, tell it to a hole in the ground, and spit three times.” He innocently shares his anguish with his mother between great sobs, and thus seals his unhappy fate. …[click here for more]
Readers: Young Adult, Adult