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Beyond the House of the False Lama: Travels with Monks, Nomads, and Outlaws
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the acclaimed and delightful Bones Of The Mastercomes a whole new set of rollicking and moving adventures. From the peaceful woods of Upstate New York, to sailing through hurricanes in the Carribean, from the cafes of Paris to the deserts of Mongolia, and New York, as Woodstock poet and rogue Crane follows a crooked Zen path toward his own life's meaning.
In Bones of the Master, George Crane and his good friend, Zen monk Tsung Tsai, went to Mongolia to find the grave of Tsung Tsai's teacher and build a shrine in his honor. Now, this is the story of the second journey.
Crane's prior book was a surprise success that sold well and got great endorsements, reviews, foreign rights sales. Crane is an excellent writer--a mix of Jack Kerouac, Bill Bryson, and Peter Matthiesen--and his adventures in China, Mongolia, and the US with his delightful, profound neighbor and friend, Zen Buddhist monk Tsung Tsau is one of the great unlikely pairings in the Don Quixote/Sancho Panza tradition.
Beyond the House of the False Lamatraces Crane's adventures as a writer, wanderer, and anarchic but still failing student of Zen. It begins in 1996 at the edge of the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia, where he and his teacher and friend, Zen Master Tsung Tsai, are forced by a sandstorm to end their quest to find the lost temple at Two Wolf Mountain. It continues with a harrowing, near disastrous attempt to deliver a ratty, 58 foot ferrous cement sailboat to Granada. Setting sail from Key Largo into the heart of hurricane season, with a crew of eccentrics and outlaws, led by the infamous Captain Bananas. They run with a disintegrating sailboat into the perfect squall. The tale ends in the winter of 2003, when after weeks of desert travel, Crane and his companions---the nomad Jumaand and the young, beautiful Mongol girl Oka, his bed mate and bodyguard---stand beneath the remote cliffs of Delgaz Khaan in Outer Mongolia's South Gobi. Here, Crane, after burying his long dead father, sets out on a new quest, looking to find what the nomads call Windhorse, "the beginning of the wind," but finds what every nomad knows, that every road is more a direction than a destination.
Living on the edge---flirting with death, sex, and lust, with nomadism and Zen---Crane is a passionate observer of the physical and metaphysical world, able to bring alive the emotions and desires that lie at the heart of a life. Wind is the Purpose has the texture, vividness and intimacy of a conversation with the reader. It is a story of people, places, and adventures; of myths and mysteries transmuted and transposed into poetry and prose. It is a travel memoir and a wild spiritual search.
"In the southwestern reaches of the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia, near the Wolf Mountains, beyond the House of the False Lama, lies a lost temple, one of the few that escaped the mass destruction by the Communist Chinese. Readers of Bones of the Master (2000), Crane's book about his earlier travels in the area with the Zen monk Tsung Tsai, might reasonably expect a second quasi-mystical nomadic quest, especially as that's the setup for this new book. But it doesn't happens. Instead, Crane, an aging hippie-poet whose zeitgeist is unrepentantly lodged in the countercultural 1970s, uses the excuse of a failing marriage to leave home (Woodstock, N.Y., where else?) to spend a couple of years on the road — solo. First, he signs on to help deliver a boat from Key Largo to Grenada. Next, he's off to Paris to reminisce about past adventures, past loves, old friends. Late in 2003, he does get to Inner Mongolia, and it hardly matters that no temple is found. There's definitely a select audience for this kind of personal travel book, peppered with poetry and somewhat wacky though amiable reveries. Agent, Ned Leavitt. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Crane returns alone to complete the journey to Inner Mongolia he and Tsung Tsai attempted in Bones of the Master but were turned back by a sandstorm at the edge of the Gobi Desert. From New York to Grenada to Paris and back to Mongolia he journeys, then finds his new quest in search of the beginning of the wind. A perennial nomad, he leaves only footprints behind him, and no index.
Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Book News Annotation:
Crane returns alone to complete the journey to Inner Mongolia he and Tsung Tsai attempted in Bones of the Master but were turned back by a sandstorm at the edge of the Gobi Desert. From New York to Grenada to Paris and back to Mongolia he journeys, then finds his new quest in search of the beginning of the wind. A perennial nomad, he leaves only footprints behind him, and no index. Annotation Â©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Beyond the House of the
His quest begins in upstate New York with a challenge from Tsung Tsai. Crane heads out, looking for adventure and for the feeling that life is good, big, and mysterious — a feeling that's easy to lose in today's buttoned-down America. Crane's path leads him on a harrowing, near-disastrous attempt to deliver a ratty 58-foot sailboat with a crew of eccentrics and outlaws from Key Largo to Grenada during the heart of hurricane season. Then it is on to Paris to search for love, and finally back to Mongolia, where Crane and his companions — the nomad Jumaand and the young, beautiful Mongol girl Uka — stand beneath the remote cliffs of Delgez Khaan in the South Gobi. Here Crane, finally able to mourn his long-dead father, sets out on a new quest, looking to find what the nomads call the beginning of the wind. He finds what every nomad knows: that every road is more a direction than a destination, and that in losing your way, you often find yourself.
A voyage of discovery and the testament of a free spirit, this is a story of people, places, and adventures, of myths and mysteries transmuted and transposed into poetry and prose. Both a travelmemoir and a wild, spiritual search, this book makes the quest for enlightenment more entertaining than it has ever been before.
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » General
Travel » Asia » China
Travel » Travel Writing » Asia