Stick Out Your Tongue
Translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew
Chatto & Windus, London, 2006.
Signed by the author and translator on the half-title.
Hardback; 135 x 205 mm; black boards with silver titles on spine; 90 pages. Original unclipped dust jacket.
The book is in very good condition. The binding is sound. The edges of the leaves are tanned with some foxing, and a few spots internally.
In this work of fiction, a Chinese writer whose marriage has fallen apart travels to Tibet. As he wanders through the countryside, he witnesses the sky burial of a Tibetan woman who died during childbirth, shares a tent with a nomad who is walking to a sacred mountain to seek forgiveness for sleeping with his daughter, meets a silversmith who has hung the wind-dried corpse of his lover on the wall of his cave, and hears the story of a young female incarnate lama who died during a Buddhist initiation rite. In the thin air of the high plateau, the divide between dream and reality becomes confused.
When this book was published in Chinese in 1997, the government accused Ma Jian of "harming the fraternal solidarity of the national minorities," and a blanket ban was placed on his future work. With its publication in English, including a new afterword by the author that sets the book in its personal and political context, readers get a rare glimpse of Tibet through Chinese eyes, and a window on the imagination of one of China's foremost writers.