Book Review: White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings – soaring tale of two Tibetan invasions

By Tsering Namgyal

Novels about Tibet are rare, one in English by a Tibetan even rarer. For most readers, Tibetan titles tend to be non-fiction books focusing on Buddhism and meditation, and occasional memoirs of old Tibet. So Tsewang Yishey Pemba’s posthumous novel, White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings, published in February in India, marks an important milestone for Tibetan writing.

Pemba, a Western-trained surgeon who died in 2012, has several books to his name, including an earlier novel published in London in the 1960s when he was a medical student there. That novel, Idols on the Path, is considered the first in English by a Tibetan.

The biggest dilemma facing most writers about Tibet, whether historians or novelists, is to find new ways to communicate the trauma of the defining moment in contemporary Tibetan history. Pemba addresses this conundrum by locating a new and as-yet-untold aspect of Tibetan history: the presence of Christian missionaries and their little-known peccadilloes in the Himalayas. Read more

Source: South China Morning Post