Stick Out Your Tongue
By Ma Jian
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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 see Continue
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. Famously banned in China in 1987, "Stick Out Your Tongue", is the book that set Ma Jian on the road to exile, and still makes it difficult for him to publish his work in China today. Written shortly after the journey to Tibet he describes so vividly in his prize-winnning travel memoir "Red Dust", it is an extraordinary collection of stories about an extraordinary place - a picture of Tibet that is both enchanting and horrifying, violent and beautiful, perverse and seductive.
Ma Jian has written a new afterword for the book that explains it's title (it is what a doctor says to an ill patient when looking for a diagnosis) how it came to be written and something about the complex relationship between China and Tibet. This is the first publication in English of an important work of Chinese literature that has had a huge influence on other writers.