The Blue Sky

The Blue Sky

3.63 (373 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the high Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia, a young shepherd boy comes of age, tending his family's flocks on the mountain steppes. Knowing little of the world beyond the surrounding peaks, his nomadic way of life is disrupted by modernity.

This confrontation comes in stages. First, his older siblings leave the family yurt to attend a distant boarding school. Then the boy's grandmother dies, and with her his connection to the old ways. But perhaps the greatest tragedy strikes when his dog, Arsylang--"all that was left to me"--ingests poison set out by the boy's father to protect his herd from wolves. "Why is it so?" Dshurukawaa cries out in despair to the Heavenly Blue Sky, to be answered only by the wind.

Rooted in the oral traditions of the Tuvan people, The Blue Sky weaves the timeless story of a boy poised on the cusp of manhood with the story of a people on the threshold.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 216mm
  • English
  • 1571311394
  • 9781571311399

Review quote

"The story that lies behind this novel is as thrilling as the book itself....Tschinag makes it easy for his readers to fall into the beautiful rhythms of the Tuvans' daily life."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

"One of those rare books that even when read in solitude makes you feel as if you've just been told a story while surrounded by family and friends in front of a fire....A book that celebrates kinship, mirrors history and captures the mountains, valleys and steppes in all their surpassing beauty and brutality."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"In this pristine and concentrated tale of miraculous survival and anguished loss, Tschinag evokes the nurturing warmth of a family within the circular embrace of a yurt as an ancient way of life lived in harmony with nature becomes endangered."--Booklist

"Book by book, Tschinag is championing his people and preserving their traditions. He gives a whole new meaning to the power contained in the written word."--San Francisco Chronicle

"With the U.S. debut of The Blue Sky, English readers for the first time have direct access to a memorable native Tuvan voice."--The Bloomsbury Review

"The writing and the translation are both skilled, the book is poetic, touching, and enjoyable. Tschinag succeeds in conveying universal aspects of the human experience, along with the specifics of Tuvan life."

"Tschinag offers softly outlined characters more in the oral tradition than that of the novel, and fly-on-the wall depictions of the Tuvans....Descriptions of the Altai mountains, remarkable sky, and closeness to the flock are slow but rich. The book is filled with small pleasures."--Publishers Weekly

"The author provides a fascinating window into an indigenous world in which nomads move with their flocks and their yurts up and down the mountains according to the season. This is a memorable read."--School Library Journal

"The hero may be a simple shepherd boy, but his tale is nothing short of epic. With this novel, a Mongolian shaman has stepped onto the stage of world literature."--Der Spiegel

"Tschinag's books have reached well beyond his native Altai mountains, and with good reason. They speak of a true partnership between people and nature, and in a language as clear and stark as the steppes."--Siidwest Presse

"Tschinag describes the strenuous days spent between the herd of sheep and the yurt with both affection and precision, and evokes the stunning landscape in a particularly memorable way, all if contributing to the unlikely sense one has as a reader that we are remembering our own childhood."--Die Welt
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About Galsan Tschinag

Galsan Tschinag is the author of a trilogy of autobiographical novels about the Tuvinian community of nomadic herders in the High Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. Tschinag was trained as a shaman as a boy, and has worked as a journalist. He has published more than thirty books, mostly short fiction, novels, and poetry. In 1995, Tschinag, as chieftain of his people, negotiated a land claim treaty with the Mongolian government. He then led the Tuvinians, who, a generation before had been dispersed all over Mongolia, back to their traditional lands in the High Altai mountains. Today, Tschinag divides his time between Ulaan-Bataar where he writes, the High Altai where he lives, and Germany where he works.
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Rating details

373 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 18% (69)
4 38% (142)
3 33% (122)
2 10% (36)
1 1% (4)
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