Review: Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen

Across Many Mountains / Yangzom Brauen

Published September 27th 2011 by St. Martin’s Press.

* In compliance with FTC guidelines, it should be noted that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

It is a powerful and very personal story of family, survival, diaspora, bravery, nationalism, and faith.

You will feel like you are with this family on their journey from their home country of Tibet, away from the Chinese oppression, to surviving in India, until they settle in Switzerland where a new generation continues the fight to free Tibet.  Along the lines of Amy Tan‘s The Joy Luck Club, model/actress Yangzom Brauen shares her family story with much emotion and colorful characters.

I love how the story is about three generations of Tibetan women and how different their lives turned out.  Kunsang lived in the mountains of Tibet and religiously followed the Buddhist teachings she learned as a nun.  Sonam was raised mostly in India where she had her first contact with modern civilization and Westerners.  Yangzom was born and brought up in comfortable Switzerland, a world away from where the story began.  But their love for Tibet never wavered.

This is the first memoir that I’ve read about Tibet and the struggles of the Tibetan people.  I found it really interesting and inspiring.  The family’s escape from Tibet was so daring; it showed the power of human determination.  I also learned a lot about Buddhism from all the description of prayers and practices narrated on the pages.  It also tells about the brutal destruction of Tibetan life and land by the Chinese.  The book bravely announces its stand on the issue (the author is an active supporter for Tibetan rights).

It got a little preachy in the end.  I am not a big fan of pieces with a rather political tone but in this book, it was presented in a subtle way.  I know the whole “protestation and demonstration” part is Yangzom’s contribution to the journey and I do understand that it was necessary.

Rating: 4/5.

Recommendation: An inspiring story of faith and survival.  It is a great addition to anyone’s non-fiction shelf.

Get your copy here.

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