The Handsome Monk and Other Stories

Tsering Döndrup. Translated by Christopher Peacock.

Columbia University Press

The Handsome Monk and Other Stories

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Pub Date: January 2019

ISBN: 9780231190237

216 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $20.00£14.99

Pub Date: January 2019

ISBN: 9780231190220

216 Pages

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Pub Date: January 2019

ISBN: 9780231548786

216 Pages

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List Price: $19.99£14.99

The Handsome Monk and Other Stories

Tsering Döndrup. Translated by Christopher Peacock.

Columbia University Press

Tsering Döndrup is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed authors writing in Tibetan today. In a distinct voice rich in black humor and irony, he describes the lives of Tibetans in contemporary China with wit, empathy, and a passionate sense of justice. The Handsome Monk and Other Stories brings together short stories from across Tsering Döndrup’s career to create a panorama of Tibetan society.

With a love for the sparse yet vivid language of traditional Tibetan life, Tsering Döndrup tells tales of hypocritical lamas, crooked officials, violent conflicts, and loyal yaks. His nomad characters find themselves in scenarios that are at once strange and familiar, satirical yet poignant. The stories are set in the fictional county of Tsezhung, where Tsering Döndrup’s characters live their lives against the striking backdrop of Tibet’s natural landscape and go about their daily business to the ever-present rhythms of Tibetan religious life. Tsering Döndrup confronts pressing issues: the corruption of religious institutions; the indignities and injustices of Chinese rule; poverty and social ills such as gambling and alcoholism; and the hardships of a minority group struggling to maintain its identity in the face of overwhelming odds. Ranging in style from playful updates of traditional storytelling techniques to narrative experimentation, Tsering Döndrup’s tales pay tribute to the resilience of Tibetan culture.
Positioned along the knife edge of Tibet and China, secularity and religion, modernity and tradition, Tsering Döndrup's exuberantly irreverent stories (expertly translated from the Tibetan by Christopher Peacock) will strike many English-language readers as both uncannily familiar and deliciously odd. Carlos Rojas, translator of the Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted novel The Four Books by Yan Lianke
This volume makes accessible some of the new and exciting work in Tibetan literature from inside China. It will be of interest both to general readers and to scholars of Tibetan and Chinese literature. Janet Gyatso, Harvard University
Tsering Döndrup’s characters are steeped in the anxieties of modernity as they negotiate worlds secular and religious, hyper-real and fantastic. These short stories reflect sharp and highly critical Tibetan perspectives on the nature of life, love, family, truth, and self-identity. This collection is nothing short of a masterpiece. Jann Ronis, University of California, Berkeley
Introduction
1. The Disturbance in D— Camp
2. Piss and Pride
3. Ralo
4. A Show to Delight the Masses
5. One Mani
6. Mahjong
7. The Story of the Moon
8. A Formula
9. The Handsome Monk
10. Revenge
11. Nose Rings
12. Brothers
13. The Last Man to Care for His Parents
14. Black Fox Valley
15. Notes of a Volunteer AIDS Worker

About the Author

Tsering Döndrup was born in 1961 in Qinghai, China. He began writing in the early 1980s and has published numerous collections of short fiction and four full-length novels. His work has been translated into several languages, and he is the recipient of a number of Tibetan, Mongolian, and nationwide literary prizes in China.

Christopher Peacock is a PhD candidate at Columbia University.