Sky Train: Tibetan Women on the Edge of History
Canyon Sam. University of Washington Press, $24.95 (271pp) ISBN 978-0-295-98953-2
In her remarkable book, writer and activist Sam examines the stories of varied Tibetan women-displaced aristocrats, impassioned freedom fighters, educators, and others-united in their desperation to reclaim their country. Over a period of years, Sam recorded stories of life under Chinese occupation, visiting her subjects by China's new ""sky train."" A third-generation Chinese-American, Sam also chronicles her own experiences in Tibet throughout the narrative, skillfully mimicking readers' slow discovery of the country in its many dimensions. Though complicated politically, Sam handles Tibet's dilemma with knowledge and grace, addressing the larger history of Tibet to reveal a beautiful, subtle culture that's as rich as it is foreign. At no time does Sam sugarcoat the effects of Chinese occupation on the people or the land, rendering human rights issues in terms of intensely personal experience. Visceral and deeply felt, this narrative deserves a read from anyone interested in human rights and the untold stories of oppressed women everywhere. 30 illus.
Reviewed on: 09/29/2009