Reading guide for Sky Burial by Xue Xinran

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Sky Burial

An Epic Love Story of Tibet

by Xue Xinran

Sky Burial by Xue Xinran X
Sky Burial by Xue Xinran
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2005, 220 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

From Xinran, the bestselling author of The Good Women of China, comes Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet a deeply affecting tale about a woman's thirty-year search for her husband in the isolated, hauntingly beautiful land of Tibet.

Written with lyrical eloquence, Sky Burial is many things at once--a love story, a mystery and a tale of adventure. The following questions were written to help you and your reading group explore all the different themes of this fascinating tale.

Discussion Questions
  1. What is a 'Sky Burial'? How does this differ from the traditional Western burial methods?

  2. Sky Burial is set in Tibet. How did this story open your eyes to life in Tibet and how much did you know about this country before reading the book?

  3. Why did this Chinese woman --Shu-Wen, in her twenties--go to Tibet in 1958? Why were the Chinese at war with the Tibetans?

  4. Shu-Wen survived in Tibet for many, many years and began her journey with no knowledge of Tibetan language, customs, culture and religion? What does this say about her character? How do you think most people react to such a foreign environment?

  5. What surprised you about Shu-Wen's daily life in Tibet? How did these things differ from Shu-Wen's life in China? How do these things differ from your life?

  6. After finding out what happened to Kejun what do you think of his actions? Would you have made the same choice if faced with this situation?

  7. What changes did Shu-Wen find in her home town when she returned? How did she react to them? At that point, do you think Shu-Wen identified herself as Chinese or Tibetan?

  8. Did Shu-Wen regret going to Tibet? If so, why? What point did the author want to make through telling Shu-Wen's story?

  9. Some would call Sky Burial a love story? Would you agree?

  10. Sky Burial has been selected as a book used to study Chinese history in Australia and it has been published in over 20 languages. What makes this book different from other books on Tibet?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Anchor Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
    by Ocean Vuong
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, the bold and bracing debut novel by acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong, ...
  • Book Jacket: Daisy Jones & The Six
    Daisy Jones & The Six
    by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    In this evocative novel written in the format of an interview with members of a fictional music ...
  • Book Jacket: The Age of Living Machines
    The Age of Living Machines
    by Susan Hockfield
    In the face of looming global challenges, such as overpopulation, resource depletion and disease, Dr...
  • Book Jacket
    The Mars Room
    by Rachel Kushner
    There is palpable tension between expectation and reality in Rachel Kushner's third novel. The ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Travelers
    by Helon Habila

    A startlingly exploration of the African diaspora in Europe, by an acclaimed international writer.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Fly Girls
by Keith O'Brien

How five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Guest Book

The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense."
—Entertainment Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

M I Haste, R A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.