As a young girl in China Xinran heard a rumour about a soldier in Tibet who had been brutally fed to the vultures in a ritual known as a sky burial: the tale frightened and fascinated her. Several decades later Xinran met Shu Wan, a Chinese woman who had spent years searching for her missing husband who had been serving as a doctor in Tibet; her extraordinary life story would unravel the legend of the sky burial. For thirty years she was lost in the wild and alien landscape of Tibet, in the vast and silent plateaus and the magisterial mountain ranges, living with communities of nomads moving with the seasons and struggling to survive.
In this haunting book, Xinran recreates Shu Wen's remarkable journey in an epic story of love, loss, loyalty and survival. Moving, shocking and, ultimately, uplifting Sky Burial paints a unique portrait of a woman and a land, both at the mercy of fate and politics.
"A romantic epic of loss and redemption, of stoic constancy in the face of the vagaries of fate"
"Part family story, part mystical adventure in an alien culture, it's like Wild Swans crossed with Seven Years in Tibet"
"This little-known culture has been brought vividly to life through the incredible love story of Shu Wen. This story of an extraordinary woman written by an extraordinary woman will stay with you long after closing the book"