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Blue Sky Kingdom

An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of the Himalaya

by Bruce Kirkby

Blue Sky Kingdom by Bruce Kirkby X
Blue Sky Kingdom by Bruce Kirkby
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2020, 352 pages

    Jul 2022, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Jane McCormack
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Kathy Fox

So much more than a travelogue
Get ready to be inspired and transported to a buried place in your heart as Canadian writer-adventurer, Bruce Kirkby takes you with him on his family’s quest to flee the constant noise and pressures of society and slow the pace in a Himalayan Buddhist temple.

Addicted to scrolling the vast Social Media wasteland and drained from their oldest son, Bodi’s, autism spectrum diagnosis and treatment, Bruce and his wife, Christine Pitkanen, revive their sidelined “fantasy” with their two children: making the journey to 1000 year-old Karsha Gompa in Zanskar, India. The 3-month journey involved travelling by container ship, train, canoe, and miles of high-altitude trekking.
The family stayed with and were adopted by Lama Wangyal and bestowed with Tibetan names, an honor, but also necessary for communication. Kirkby and his wife became English teachers to the young monks living at the monastery as the kids disconnected from the tether of technology and connected with life in a natural way. Our hearts were lifted following along as Bodi was able to use meditation to control the anxiety caused by noise, people and changing routines
I was completely fascinated reading how Tibetan Buddhism is still practiced in its undiluted form, and so much about the Dalai Lama, India, Chinese territorial claims over Tibet and given many examples of prejudice against Tibetans in India
At the beginning, I wonder how the family will fare, but 6 months later as they return to Canada -less beholden to technology and much closer to one another-I find I've been uplifted by the tale.
Closing the final page, I realize that we, too, can find some peace if we distance ourselves from the constant clatter of our modern world and aim for a higher awareness. And that “permanently fractured awareness” can be restored.
Deep gratitude to Book Club Cookbook, Galley Match, Bruce Kirkby and Pegasus Books for the ARC
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