Category: Mongolia

Bernardo Carvalho: Mongólia [Mongolia]

The latest addition to my website is Bernardo Carvalho‘s Mongólia [Mongolia]. A young Brazilian, son of an important CEO, goes missing in Mongolia and a diplomat, working temporarily in the Brazilian Embassy in Beijing, is sent off to find him, though he is seemingly reluctant to do so. He eventually gets some idea why the missing son had disappeared, involving Buddhist goddesses, a diary in Tibetan and a young Buddhist nun who is raped by an abbot but later helps him to flee Mongolia when Stalin closes down the monasteries and murders the monks in 1937. Our diplomat (none of the Brazilian characters are named) has to hire a guide and heads off to the remote parts of Mongolia looking for the missing son, with a host of problems involving weather, insects and unreliable informants but beautiful landscape, all made more complicated by the diplomat’s impatience and impetuosity. It is a superb book, wonderfully told, with a completely unexpected twist. Sadly it is available in French, German and Italian but not English.

Gombojav Mend-Ooyo: Altan Ovoo (Golden Hill)

The latest addition to my website is Gombojav Mend-Ooyo‘s Altan Ovoo (Golden Hill). Mend-Ooyo is best-known in Mongolia as a poet but has also written prose works, including this novel which, unusually has been translated into English (by Simon Wickham-Smith). It is very much a poetical novel and tells of how his father took him to the sacred mountain of Golden Hill, when he was a boy. Golden Hill is important because it is sacred to his people but also it is associated with Genghis Khan (who is revered and not reviled in Mongolia) who may have died near there, after falling off his horse. We also learn of his travels around Mongolia, of his life, of stories of several Mongolian characters and several Mongolian animals and of various Mongolian legends, including their origin legend. It is a joy to read but, sadly, despite being translated into English, very difficult to obtain, as it was self-published in Ulaanbaatar.

Chadraabalyn Lodoidamba: Тунгалаг Тамир [The Clear Tamir]


The latest addition to my website is Chadraabalyn Lodoidamba‘s Тунгалаг Тамир [The Clear Tamir]. This is the first Mongolian novel on my site. It tells the story of Mongolia from early in the twentieth century to the unsuccessful 1932 Lama Uprising. The story is told through the eyes of two brothers – Erdene and Tömör and their families, and Itgelt, a clan chief, and his family. Things change dramatically after the Russian Revolution and Erdene becomes a committed communist, while Tömör, a Sain-Er (an outlaw), helps him. We follow the lives of these people against the background of the changes taking place in Mongolia, with the involvement of the Chinese and the Russians and the move from a nomadic, clan-based culture to a more communist one. It is a thoroughly enjoyable story and was made into a successful film in Mongolia (see poster, above left). Sadly, it has only been translated into Russian and from Russian into German but not into English.

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