A series of stories ranging from two-page narrative excerpts to 90+ page novellas, The Handsome Monk and Other Stories
(Columbia University Press, 2019), translated by Columbia PhD student Christopher Peacock
, with a contribution from Lauran Hartley, masterfully introduces the work of contemporary Tibetan author Tsering Döndrup. One of the most popular and critically acclaimed figures of Modern Tibetan literature of the post-Mao period, Tsering Döndrup is known for his earthy humor and his unflinchingly satirical portrayals of Tibetan life. Resisting the urge to romanticize Tibetan life, Tsering Döndrup’s stories relentlessly satirize both those in power—including clerics and government officials—and those without. Stories describe emergent social problems like gambling and long-standing folk institutions of violent feuds alike. The narratives compiled in The Handsome Monk
could only be written by someone intimately familiar with Tibetan life over the last fifty years, and by placing many of his stories together, this volume evocatively portrays resilience and the problems of Tibetan culture.
Timothy Thurston is Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds. His research examines language at the nexus of tradition and modernity in China’s Tibet.