Friday, July 21, 2006

Tibetan Mastiff


Just finished this novel called <藏獒> (Tibetan Mastiff) which I felt it deserved much recommendation, the story is set among tribes of Tibetan shepherds on the Qinghai Plateau, at the begining of the Communist era in China. The book recreated a lost era when giant dogs, Tibetan Mastiff, roamed the grassland of Qinghai. They freely take on ferocious beasts such as snow leopard, mountain bears and packs of wolves, yet they co-habited with the Tibetan folks as family members. The dogs served human as guard dogs, shepherd dogs or in the case of the wandering dogs, assumed the role of protectors of human in the countryside, rescuing them from the mouth of wild beasts. The story in a nut shell is about a Han Chinese reporter newly assigned to a shepherd village and a Tibetan Mastiff from another area who ventured into this 'enermy territories' were caught among webs of tribal hatred. Much of the story was about this duo attempting to rescue the dog's masters (7 kids from another tribe with generation of blood score with the people in this area). The hero and the hero dog had to relentlessly fought a series of killed or be killed battles with the strongest local Tibetan Mastiff. Their adventure showed the nobel characters of this breed of dogs, who are much like the medieval knights who took pride in loyalty, bravery and superb fighting skills. What really captured me is the final chapter of the book, when I have come to be so admire the Tibetan Mastiff and was so absorbed into the way of live of the Tibetan shepherds, then in just one chapter the author tored everything apart with the torrent of history. Cultural revolution and market reforms has erased the old customs and the special relationship between men and beasts. Even today, pure breed Tibetan Mastiff has become hard to find and we no longer see the beasts running around the grassland freely as kings. Reading this novel is like going back to an lost era which I felt like I have once lived.

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4 comments:

Alex said...

Is that book only come written in Chinese? I wonder if I can order it from Amazon.

Gabs Lau said...

I haven't seen the English version myself.

David said...

I've just finished the book, great story, I really admire the loyalty and chivalry of these majestic creatures

David said...

Reading part 2 now...