The Blue Sky
In the high Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia, the nomadic Tuvan people’s ancient way of life collides with the pervasive influence of modernity as seen through the eyes of Dshurukawaa, a young shepherd boy.
This confrontation comes in stages. First his older siblings leave the family yurt to attend a distant boarding school. Then the boy’s grandmother dies, and with her the boy’s connection to the tribes. But perhaps the greatest tragedy strikes when his dog, Arsylang—“all that was left to me”—ingests poison set out by the boy’s father to protect his herd from wolves. “Why is it so?” Dshurukawaa cries out in despair to the Heavenly Blue Sky, but he is answered only by the silence of the wind.
Rooted in the oral traditions of the Tuvan people and their epics, the first novel in Galsan Tschinag’s saga weaves the timeless story of a boy poised on the cusp of manhood with the tale of a people’s vanishing way of life.
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Praise and Prizes
“Book by book, Galsan Tschinag is championing his people and preserving their traditions. . . . He gives a whole new meaning to the power contained in the written word.”
“Heartbreaking . . . Thrilling . . . Galsan Tschinag makes it easy for his readers to fall into the beautiful rhythms of the Tuvans’ daily life.”
“One of those rare books that even when read in solitude makes you feel as if you’ve just been told a story while surrounded by family and friends in front of a fire. . . . The Blue Sky celebrates kinship, mirrors history and captures the mountains, valleys and steppes in all their surpassing beauty and brutality.”
“Galsan Tschinag offers softly outlined characters more in the oral tradition than that of the novel, and fly-on-the-wall depictions of the Tuvans. . . . Descriptions of the Altai mountains, remarkable sky, and closeness to the flock are slow but rich. The book is filled with small pleasures.”
“In this pristine and concentrated tale of miraculous survival and anguished loss, Galsan Tschinag evokes the nurturing warmth of a family within the circular embrace of a yurt as an ancient way of life lived in harmony with nature becomes endangered.”