A Servant Named Tiananmen

Self not even halfway through Sky Burial:  An Epic Love Story of Tibet, and already so many things have happened, dear blog readers.

The narrator’s husband, a medic attached to a unit of the Chinese army stationed in Tibet, disappears and is declared dead.  His wife, suspecting the authorities of a cover-up, goes to Tibet to find out what really happened to him.

On the way, she joins a Chinese military convoy, whose members are being picked off at night, two at a time — never more than two, for some reason — by unseen assailants with long Tibetan knives.

They encounter a lost soul, a Tibetan woman, who tells the narrator her story (and it’s even more compelling than the narrator’s own, pace all the Amazon.com reviewers who gave this book five stars, pace The New York Times and all the hoary critics of the firmament, but this book is not all that well written, and —  once again, self digresses)

The woman was rich, she fell in love with a servant, and her family sent her away to Beijing.  She was seventeen.  Then, her father fell ill, and she was called back to Tibet.  But her father died before she could get there.  Then, she decided to dismantle the family property, gave away tons of gold to her relatives, and decided to leave her family home forever.  As luck would have it, a faithful servant who has no name (“I have no name.  I am simply ‘Groom,’ like my father.”) determines to accompany his mistress in her wanderings.  The mistress thinks she might be falling in love with the groom.  Alas, a blizzard ensues.  The groom, who his mistress has re-named “Tiananmen” (nice touch!) decides to protect his mistress from the chill winds by positioning himself “in the path of the gale to shelter her.”  When his mistress wakes up —

Well, what do you think happens, dear blog reader?  What do you think?

Stay tuned.

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