A story about Tibetan resistance in the 21st century by award-winning journalist Barbara Demick, the first narrative non-fiction book about Tibet in decades.
EAT THE BUDDHA:
Life and Death in a Tibetan Town
by Barbara Demick
Random House , July 2020
Disenchanted Westerners turn to Tibetan Buddhism to salve their existential anxieties, but know little about the six million people living in Tibet. It is a word that rolls easily off the tip of the tongue, a place that everybody knows about but few people know. The omission is not the result of a failure of imagination or effort. Scholars cannot get visas from the Chinese government, while journalists are banned entirely from most of Tibet and restricted from reporting elsewhere. Barbara Demick intends to rectify this with EAT THE BUDDHA, which will discuss what it means to be a Tibetan in the 21st century. After several years of reporting and using the same techniques as with Nothing to Envy, her best-selling book about the equally impenetrable realm of North Korea, Demick weaves the complex history of a country that has never been fully granted independence to the continuous daily struggles of their citizens. The book takes place in Ngaba, a town perched at 12,000 feet altitude in Sichuan province on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. The place has been the engine of Tibetan resistance for decades and in recent years made headlines around the world because of the large number of young Tibetans who immolated themselves in protest of Chinese polices. In this coming of age story EAT THE BUDDHA will follow Dongtuk, a 17-year old Tibetan boy who needs to decide if he will follow a friend into flaming martyrdom, redeeming himself for his cowardice in the past.
Barbara Demick is the author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize in the U.K., and Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Demick is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a contributor to The New Yorker, and was recently a press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.