Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Beyond the Sky and the Earth | Jamie Zeppa

More than anything , this book made me want to visit Bhutan. It sounds like an amazing country, the landscape dominant and breathtaking. Zeppa (Canada) was there in the 1980's teaching as part of a Government scheme. She was part of a group who taught in very remote mountain villages to establish a modern education system in Bhutan.

Zeppa writes well and her descriptions of the place and it's people are mesmerising. She takes a few months to fully acclimatise to the culture and the requirements of her teaching contract. Her observations of the Buddhist way of life are eye opening and her conversion to Buddhism follows from her time living there.

Zeppa engages with the locals on many levels, at the school, the clinic she has to run, the villagers and the expat community. Eventually she forms a romantic liaison and has a child.

I felt that the ending was very rushed. She describes in one paragraph, seven years of her life as a married woman and mother and mentions that 'due to cultural differences' she separates from her husband and returns to Canada. Given the whole book is about cultural observations, this leaves the reader a bit cold, wanting to know what kind of differences, what kind of experiences she had as a Western woman married to a Bhutanese man.

It is worth reading just to discover a bit more of this magical closed kingdom, and it will make you want to pack your bags and go!

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