29 May 2006

Before I Was Born I Ran Barefoot through the Stars

I finished the last book I borrowed from Naryn, Bones of the Master by George Crane. It's basically the story of a Buddhist monk, Tsung Tsai, from Inner Mongolia and an American writer who go to Inner Mongolia to find where the monk's teacher was buried. The goal was to cremate the bones, to rebuild the monastery that had been destroyed during the Great Leap Forward, and to visit the cave where his master lived.

The trip wasn't particularly successful, but it's all made worthwhile by hearing what Tsung Tsai had to say. It is a bit like a travel book, but not much. There is quite a bit of poetry throughout the book, partly because Crane and Tsung Tsai translated some Buddhist poetry together.

The only parts of the book I didn't much like were generally where the author was talking about himself instead of Tsung Tsai. Tsung Tsai was far more likeable. Crane has recently published another book, but it looks like it's all about him, so I don't plan on reading it.

Well, there was one part I liked where he talked about himself. The title of this post is something his daughter said when she was a little girl. And despite that one small complaint, I very much liked the book and recommend it.

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