- Hardcover: 456 pages
- Publisher: Penguin India (30 March 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670058238
- ISBN-13: 978-0670058235
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.8 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,29,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Chasing the Monk's Shadow Hardcover – 30 Mar 2005
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About the Author
Mishi Saran was born in Allahabad in 1968, but has not lived in India since the age of ten. She graduated with a degree in Chinese studies from Wellesley College, USA, and spent two years in Beijing and Nanjing. In 1994 she moved to Hong Kong, where she worked as a news reporter until she became more interested in travel writing and fiction. She now lives in Seoul, Korea, and is currently working on her next book.
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Top customer reviews
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book is primarily about Mishi Saran, not Xuanzang, and I note with interest that the two previous reviewers both misspelled his name the same way.
Bottom line: It's a 4 or 5 star travelogue about a journey through lands that were formerly Buddhist; it's a 2 star description of the travels of Xuanzang.
In retracing the steps of this famous Chinese monk, Mishi Sharan details the artifacts he mentioned that she was also able to locate, frequently with the help and good wishes of the locals and various scientists in the areas she visited. She also relates details of her personal life and experience which bring her journey to life. The changes that have occurred over the past 1400 years are also discussed, and much of the histoy of Buddhism, its rise and fall in India, are thoughtfully explored. I have enjoyed reading this mindful travelogue very much, finding myself reading it slowly and carefully, and expanding my knowledge and understanding of the history of Buddhism by tying it to the land and its inhabitants, both past and present. Highly recommended.
As an Indian who fell in love with China, Mishi's personal journey bridges the gap between two Asian giants, the respective cultures of which support much of everything else in the region. And bridging the gap she does brillantly in a beautifully written book that combines in-depth historical researches on the original journey of Xuangchang, soulful descriptions of simple everyday life moments in the foreign places visited, sobering reflections on the evolution of the world today.
The book unfold like a lyrical frescoes that falls nothing short of renacting Xuangchang's journey, albeit in a different time but pretty much in the same space. It keeps the reader turning pages from beginning to end, all the way to a most unexpected, almost disturbing, conclusion in Afghanistan a few weeks prior to 9-11.
A book I shall certainly remember for a long time.