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Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment
Synopses & Reviews
Dianne Perry led an average childhood in London's East End until, in her teens, she became convinced there must be a spiritual dimension to life of a kind unavailable to her. After reading a book on Buddhism she realized that this was what she had been seeking and left England for India at the age of twenty.
After considerable searching she entered a monastery. The only woman among hundreds of men, she grew determined to break down the prejudices that had excluded women from the path to enlightenment for thousands of years. She left after six years, set on attaining enlightenment in the body of a woman; a totally radical objective. She decided to seclude herself in a remote cave, 12,00 feet up in the Himalayas. For twelve years she faced unimaginable cold, wild animals, floods and rockfalls, grew her own food and slept in a traditional wooden meditation box, three feet square---she never lay down.
In 1988 she emerged from the cave determined to build a convent in northern India, and to revive the Togdenma lineage, a long-forgotten female spiritual elite. From living as a mendicant of $80 a year, she became a globe-trotting fundraiser. Tenzin Palmo has agreed to tell her story only to Vicki Mackenzie.
"In this alliterative trifle by Atwood, who previously wielded consonants in Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut, two homeless urchins form a fabulous friendship. Bob has been 'abandoned... beside a beauty parlour' by his mother, whose new hairdo leaves her 'so blinded by her burnished brilliance that baby Bob was blotted from her brain.' Three dogs (a boxer, a beagle and a borzoi, naturally) adopt Bob, who takes to hiding in bushes and barking. Not far off lives Dorinda, whose parents 'disappeared in a dreadful disaster.' Her wealthy relatives 'didn't dole out a dime,' make her sweep and wash ('Drat these darned dirty dishes,' she curses). In ink-line illustrations washed with monochrome watercolor, Petricic color-codes Bob in warm gold and ochre, and Dorinda in lavender, pink and blue. When one child's tale of woe takes the foreground, the other can be seen in the distance, so they are never far from one another. The two finally meet, and Dorinda coaxes Bob to read and speak; together they pacify a raging buffalo that escapes from a zoo. Ultimately, Atwood restores their parents, who 'bought a bungalow' for all, dogs included. Happy ending notwithstanding, the title waifs are crushed under the perversely prolific wordplay, and the excessive Bs and Ds lose their comedic zing after a few paragraphs. Ages 5-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -210).
About the Author
Vicki Mackenzie has been a journalist for thirty years. She is the author of Reincarnation: The Boy Lama and Reborn in the West: The Reincarnation Masters.
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