This powerful, sweeping novel continues the saga of Dshurukawaa, the Tuvan shepherd boy introduced in The Blue Sky. Torn between the onset of visions and pressure from his family to attend a state boarding school, the adolescent attempts to mediate the pull of spirituality and pragmatism, old ways and new. Taken from his ancestral home, he reunites with his siblings at a boarding school, where his brother also serves as principal. Soon he comes to understand that the main purpose of the school is to strip the Tuvans of their language and traditions, and to make them conform to party ideals. When tragedy strikes, Dshurukawaa begins to sense the larger import of his visions, and with it a possible escape. Tschinag's lyrical language, his striking characterizations, and his evocation of a singular way of life make The Gray Earth an unforgettable read and a worthy follow-up to The Blue Sky.
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About the Author
Galsan Tschinag, whose name in his native Tuvan language is Irgit Schynykbaj-oglu Dshurukuwaa, was born in the early forties in Mongolia. From 1962 until 1966 he studied at the University of Leipzig, where he adopted German as his written language. Under an oppressive Communist regime he became a singer, storyteller, and poet in the ancient Tuvan tradition. As a chief of Tuvans in Mongolia, Tschinag led his people, scattered under Communist rule, back in a caravan to their original home in the high Altai Mountains. Tschinag is the author of more than a dozen books, and his work has been translated into many languages. He lives alternately in the Altai, Ulaanbaatar, and Europe.