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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibetby Xinran
Reading Group Guide
1. What is a ‘Sky Burial? How does this differ from the traditional Western burial methods?
2. Sky Burial is set in Tibet. How did this story open your eyes to life in Tibet and how much did you know about this country before reading the book?
3. Why did this Chinese woman --Shu-Wen, in her twenties--go to Tibet in 1958? Why were the Chinese at war with the Tibetans?
4. Shu-Wen survived in Tibet for many, many years and began her journey with no knowledge of Tibetan language, customs, culture and religion? What does this say about her character? How do you think most people react to such a foreign environment?
5. What surprised you about Shu-Wens daily life in Tibet? How did these things differ from Shu-Wens life in China? How do these things differ from your life?
6. After finding out what happened to Kejun what do you think of his actions? Would you have made the same choice if faced with this situation?
7. What changes did Shu-Wen find in her home town when she returned? How did she react to them? At that point, do you think Shu-Wen identified herself as Chinese or Tibetan?
8. Did Shu-Wen regret going to Tibet? If so, why? What point did the author want to make through telling Shu-Wens story?
9. Some would call Sky Burial a love story? Would you agree?
10. ‘Sky Burial has been selected as a book used to study Chinese history in Australia and it has been published in over 20 languages. What makes this book different from other books on Tibet?
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