A Chinese writer whose marriage has fallen apart travels to Tibet. As he wanders through the countryside, he witnesses the sky burial of a Tibetan woman who died during childbirth, shares a tent with a nomad who is walking to a sacred mountain to seek forgiveness for sleeping with his daughter, meets a silversmith who has hung the wind-dried corpse of his lover to the walls of his cave, and hears the story of a young female incarnate lama who died during a Buddhist initiation rite. In the thin air of the high plateau, the divide between fact and fiction becomes confused and the man is drawn deep into an alien culture he knew nothing about, and which haunts his dreams.
Banned in China in 1987, Stick Out Your Tongue, is the hugely influential book that set Ma Jian on the road to exile.
Exquisite, earthy stories... Ma writes brilliantly
At the heart of Ma Jian's stories, there is both humanity and a piercing, if painful, literary truth
Ma Jian...creates a stunning vision of a culture too easily and dangerously airbrushed into the ideals of others
All [these stories] are fascinating windows on the soul of a dying people
Deadpan yet shot through with subtle empathy and flashes of humour, surreal and unearthly yet steeped in a physicality so immediate that I flinched on at least one occasion. Beautiful...lean style...not a single wasted word...oustanding