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The Blue Sky

av Galsang Tschinag

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Serier: The Blue Sky Trilogy (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
16210133,769 (3.78)30
"In the high Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia, a young shepherd boy comes of age, tending his family's flocks on the mountain steppes. Under the influence of the Soviet Union, nomadic traditions confront a modernization that is at once devastating and alluring." "Knowing little more than hearsay of the world beyond his mountains, the young boy experiences its changes in deeply personal terms. First, his older sister and brother leave the family yurt to attend a new boarding school. Their absence is followed shortly by the death of the boy's beloved grandmother, and with her his closest connection to the old ways. But the greatest tragedy strikes when his dog, Arsylang, ingests poison set out by the boy's father to protect his herd from wolves." "Framed by the spectacular peaks of the Altai and the harsh duration of its winters, the daily rhythms of nomadic life take on a shimmering depth. Whether looking out from the heights as he awaits the return of his siblings from school or singing to his ewes under the cold, star-filled sky, the boy shares his world in a narrative that is both magical and vivid." "Rooted in the oral traditions of the Tuvan people and their epics, Galsan Tschinag weaves the tale of a boy poised on the cusp of a manhood with the story of a people on the threshold."--BOOK JACKET.… (mer)
  1. 00
    Silent Steppe: The Memoir of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin av Mukhamet Shayakhmetov (meggyweg)
  2. 00
    Dalai Lama, My Son av Diki Tsering (meggyweg)
  3. 00
    Shipwrecks av Akira Yoshimura (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: Both of these books involve young boys eking out a living in very poor and difficult circumstances in different parts of Asia. One of them is much bleaker than the other.
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» Se även 30 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 10 (nästa | visa alla)
Interesting but difficult. A harrowing picture of the starkness of life in the Altai during the middle of the 20th century. A boy less than eight faces losses that break adults in a harsh but beloved landscape. ( )
  quondame | Jun 9, 2019 |
"The Gentle West of the Mongolian empire"
By sally tarbox on 9 February 2018
Format: Hardcover
First part of an autobiographical trilogy, which takes us through the early years of the son of a nomadic Mongol herdsman. The way of life is traditional; the family live in yurts, follow shaman beliefs and live by raising sheep. Yet the influence of the Communist state is felt even here, where children are sent away to school and their parents expected to kill a fixed quota of wolves (or pay a 'fine' in livestock). And where state encouragement is leading to massive deforestation.

The author looks back on the scenery, the community and his close relationships with his grandmother and his 'unique' dog, the faithful Arsylang. But life is bitter, and harsh events cause him to turn away from his parents and Gok-Deeri, the deity represented by the blue sky...

Maybe *3 for much of the novel, but it builds to a powerful crescendo. Would certainly read the sequel. ( )
  starbox | Feb 8, 2018 |
The author grew up in Mongolia, later was educated in Germany and chose the German language for his writing. This autobiography, the first in a trilogy, details his life until age eight. It has a touching innocence that is captured in the translation and which pairs well with the child's account of nomadic herders in Mongolia. ( )
  VivienneR | Dec 8, 2014 |
Galsan Tschinag is a member of the Tuvan tribe, a nomadic people from the High Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia. Tschinag left the region as a young man to study at the University of Leipzig, afterwards choosing to write in German. An author, poet and Shaman, the book cover describes him as chief of all Tuvans, who gathered his people, scattered under Communism, and led them in a large group back to their mountain homelands.

The Blue Sky is the first of a trilogy of autobiographical novels, told in the voice of a young Tuvan child whose early years are filled with both love and loss. As a toddler, he survives severe burns after falling into a cast-iron kettle of simmering milk, yet still grows to be capable of contributing to the family’s daily work, herding lambs and gathering plants and dung. He mourns the death of his beloved, adopted Grandma, is separated from his Sister and Brother who have left to attend a public boarding school, and becomes distraught over the death by accidental poisoning of his faithful dog, Arslang. This last event was foreshadowed to him in a dream, of which he violated a traditional belief that one should never tell anyone about bad dreams. “Tell your dreams to a hole in the ground and spit three times. Don’t share them with anyone.” He ends this period of his childhood in a rage of defiance that renders him unrecognizable to himself, angry with his parents for their ready acceptance of death and denouncing Gok-Deeri, the revered blue sky.

This is a simple but affecting story, the narrative filled with descriptions of the topography, daily life and traditions of the Tuvan sheepherders and their dependence on their sheep, yaks and horses for food, clothing, shelter, fuel and transportation. They cope daily with scarcity, harsh physical demands and unpredictable environmental forces. Yet their outlook blends the practicalities of survival with the magical, founded on reverence for land, sky, natural resources, family and community.

Grandma was human silk. That’s what Father said, and what he said was always right. And she had been sent to me by the sky. That’s what Mother had revealed to me. Some of the things she said were not true of course, but when the sky was involved, we were not allowed to lie.

Sadly, the narrative also hints at the slipping away of an ancient way of life, as the region’s culture and ecology are impacted by the incursion of Stalin’s socialism. Families are separated and communities divided as teachers recruit students to attend distant public schools, drawing youth to new careers, lifestyles and ideologies. The natural resources of the region are depleted and the wealth of vast herds of animals, wildlife and forests are destroyed in exchange for a paper money economy.

I read an Advance Reading copy of this novel, found in a used bookstore. Although lacking the depth and historical perspective that I found myself wanting, I enjoyed it for what it was – an uncomplicated narrative that reveals the essence of traditional Tuvan life as seen through the eyes of a child. The author’s "Words to Accompany My Blue Sky Child" and the "Translator’s Notes" provided added dimension to the significance of preserving the stories of the Tuvan people. I will look for the second volume of the trilogy, The Gray Earth, portraying the young protagonist’s time at boarding school. I believe that the final volume, The White Mountain, has yet to be translated to English.
4 rösta Linda92007 | Jan 9, 2013 |
A little tragedy, a child’s tragedy. Act One of three, not on his life but on his youth. He must be under eight in this, since at eight children are sent to school, that is to indoctrination, with which The Gray Earth is concerned. The White Mountain tells how this “double life” cracked him up as an adolescent. In his afterword he says, "Both of the latter books contain stories more tragic than those in The Blue Sky, but since the art of survival is strong among nomads, some primordial serenity hovers above everything. I survived and was preserved for that small, vanishing remainder of my people [Tuvan] for whom each member is vital. By the end of the trilogy I arrived in the wider world…"

I like this that he says later: "I have been one who has hastened with seven-league boots across our planet's racked field of history. One who has been particularly indifferent, even careless, about three things: my career, clothing fashions, and literary trends."

This first is short and events are common, but nomad life in the Altai is richly portrayed and the writing’s rich too, the writing keeps you happy. His family takes in an old woman who has lost her yurt and flock, her means to live. He falls into a vat of boiling milk and they try to heal his skin with 25-year-old bear fat. His uncles and aunts quarrel about whether to go with new trends and officials from town or against them. There is a terrible spring with a desperate struggle to save the animals.

A herder needs to have ‘a heart for his animals’, and after Grandma – the old woman – we see most about the boy’s interaction with animals. I felt there was a note of tragedy in the failures of cross-species communication, and yet the love in spite of that. It might be that the boy is left more alone than normal (in the past), once the officials haul the camp’s children to town school and the family splits up. The adults don’t understand his attachment to his dog. I found the end gut-wrenching, when the events of his short life have piled up and the child, under eight, protests against the way of the world. I think it’s great as a child’s perspective: he’s ignorant but he isn’t naïve, and I recognised several moments. ( )
  Jakujin | Jul 30, 2012 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (1 möjlig)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Galsang Tschinagprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Petit, DominiqueÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Rout, KatharinaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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"In the high Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia, a young shepherd boy comes of age, tending his family's flocks on the mountain steppes. Under the influence of the Soviet Union, nomadic traditions confront a modernization that is at once devastating and alluring." "Knowing little more than hearsay of the world beyond his mountains, the young boy experiences its changes in deeply personal terms. First, his older sister and brother leave the family yurt to attend a new boarding school. Their absence is followed shortly by the death of the boy's beloved grandmother, and with her his closest connection to the old ways. But the greatest tragedy strikes when his dog, Arsylang, ingests poison set out by the boy's father to protect his herd from wolves." "Framed by the spectacular peaks of the Altai and the harsh duration of its winters, the daily rhythms of nomadic life take on a shimmering depth. Whether looking out from the heights as he awaits the return of his siblings from school or singing to his ewes under the cold, star-filled sky, the boy shares his world in a narrative that is both magical and vivid." "Rooted in the oral traditions of the Tuvan people and their epics, Galsan Tschinag weaves the tale of a boy poised on the cusp of a manhood with the story of a people on the threshold."--BOOK JACKET.

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