Thursday, December 28, 2006

Donagh from Dublin Opinion sent around an email wanting Irish bloggers to write about the best books they’ve read this year. Below is my contribution. Hope you all enjoy………….

“Stick Your Tongue Out” by Ma Jian is a collection of five short stories based on the author’s journey through Tibet. Be warned, if your vision of Tibetan people is of a peace loving pastoral people then this book is not for you. These tales show Tibet warts and all. Initially Ma Jian was a misty eyed outsider wanting to discover Shangri-La or Nirvana. By the end of the book he is a travel hardened individual who is more than slightly cynical of Tibet and its people. And so we are offered a Tibet, which while still reeling from the Chinese invasion shows itself to be a place of cruel historical inequalities.

Ancient legends of failed initiates, a vivid description of a sky burial are just some of the sights Ma Jian conjures up for us. Despite this Ma Jian shows an innate sympathy for the plight the Tibetan people find themselves in. The Chinese occupation, which is central to any understanding of modern Tibet, is implied rather than directly expressed and all the more powerful for this.

"Stick Out Your Tongue" was first published in China in February 1987. It was initially greated with great acclaim but later fell foul of the Chinese authorities and for a while, Ma Jian was forced to leave the country.

Also notable this year were

The Damned United - David Peace
Dublin Noir - Edited by Ken Bruen
Priest - Ken Bruen
Incidences - Daniel Kharms
These Are Our Lives - Ed. Declan Meade
Remainder - Tom McCarthy

You can read more at the following link http://www.technorati.com/search/Irishblogsandbooks .

That book sounds great Seoman, must check it out.
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