The Gray Earth
by Galsan Tschinag
The acclaimed Mongolian author of The Blue Sky continues his autobiographical trilogy as a young shepherd leaves his ancestral home for boarding school. This powerful, sweeping novel continues the saga of Dshurukawaa, the Tuvan shepherd boy introduced in The Blue Sky. Torn between the onset of visions and pressure from his family to attend a state boarding school, the adolescent attempts to mediate the pull of spirituality and pragmatism, old ways and new. Taken from his ancestral home, he reunites with his siblings at a boarding school, where his brother also serves as principal. Soon he comes to understand that the main purpose of the school is to strip the Tuvans of their language and traditions, and to make them conform to party ideals. When tragedy strikes, Dshurukawaa begins to sense the larger import of his visions, and with it a possible escape. Tschinag’s lyrical language, his striking characterizations, and his evocation of a singular way of life make The Gray Earth an unforgettable read and a worthy follow-up to The Blue Sky.