Tibetan Women on the Edge of History
Winner of a PEN Open Book Award
Narrated by Donna Postel
Approximately 10 hours
Book published by University of Washington Press
FOREWORD BY HIS HOLINESS THE 14TH DALAI LAMA
Through a lyrical narrative of her journey to Tibet in 2007, activist Canyon Sam contemplates modern history from the perspective of Tibetan women. Traveling on China's new "Sky Train," she celebrates Tibetan New Year with the Lhasa family whom she'd befriended decades earlier and concludes an oral-history project with women elders.
As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women's courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic "new Lhasa," Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet's past through the lens of the women - a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride - affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today - in Tibet, in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.
Gracefully connecting the women's poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, the author comes full circle, finding wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet's irreversible changes.
Canyon Sam is a San Francisco writer, performance artist, and Tibet activist. Her one-woman show The Dissident was critically acclaimed in the Village Voice and the Boston Globe.
“Canyon Sam's Sky Train powerfully moves the heart, as it brings to life deep truths about our world today, about Tibet, the land and people and especially its outstanding women. Just as important is the author's own revelatory discovery of 'Tibet' as a compassionate, wise, and down to earth state-of-mind essential to the survival of the whole world. Words cannot express how wonderful is this honest, generous, and perceptive book.”
—Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University
“Years ago following her ancestral roots to China, but finding instead Tibet as a spiritual home, Canyon Sam made a miracle of a journey. Now in
—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior
“A book that is sure to illuminate a Tibet so many of us have been longing to know. ”
—Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple
“Pays] tribute to the courage and resilience of Tibetan women.... Many readers will be moved by these powerful tales. ”
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama