Beyond the Sky and the Earth

BOOK: Beyond the Sky and the Earth
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"Zeppa’s telling of her clumsy attempts to adapt rings with sincerity and inspires sincerity.... {Her} lucid descriptions of the craggy terrain and hones respect for the daily struggles of the natives bring the tiny land to life in a way that is reverent but real. A lively tale.”

Publishers Weekly
 
 
“Delightful ... her enthusiasm for Bhutan and its people is infectious and her descriptions of her encounters with Bhutanese culture are often funny and always enlightening.”

Kirkus Reviews
 
 
“In
Beyond the Sky and the Earth,
{Zeppa} gracefully and movingly tells how she came to love the towering land, its changeable climate, the day-long walks.... Zeppa’s surroundings and the tremendous change in her life are indeed breathtaking. Her book may offer the last, best long look at today’s Hermit Kingdom.”

The Toronto Star
 
 
“With empathy, intelligence and self-mocking wit, Zeppa chronicles her passage from sheltered First World child to clearer-eyed citizen of a wider world. Anyone who has similarly slipped the traces of Western culture, even temporarily, will appreciate her keen insight into that experience.”

Toronto Globe and Mail
 
 
“Zeppa writes seamlessly about the country she comes to love.”
—USAToday
 
 
“A beautiful account of Zeppa’s gradual transition from a preoccupied Canadian, questioning the direction of her life by immersing herself in an alien environment, to a woman reinvigorated by the warmth of the Bhutanese culture.”

The Independent
(London)
“This nonfictional account of {Zeppa’s} ten years in Bhutan goes deeper and further than much travel writing. It is also made readably entertaining by the frequently humorous clash between Zeppa’s privileged Western point of view and expectations and the intricate otherness of what she finds. Here is both a lyrical homage to the beauty of Bhutan and a clear-eyed account of some of its harsher realities.”

The Bookseller
 
 
“Beyond the Sky and the Earth
is part-travelogue, part-diary, part-love story. Zeppa’s powers of description are such that Bhutan becomes familiar and desirable. How the author departs one culture and is dropped into another is a great read. {She} is a wonderful writer and storyteller and she has a great tale to tell. An unusually compelling memoir.”

The Toronto Sun
 
 
“Zeppa ... recounts her entry into the distant land known as the last Shangri-La on earth with grace and self-deprecating humor.... Zeppa’s depictions of life ... teem with exquisite physical details.”

Quill & Quire
 
 
“Zeppa is a wonderful traveling companion through a place that challenges many of our western assumptions about the good life.”

Indigo Books
 
 
“Zeppa’s description of the terrain is breathtaking; her description of adaptation, growth, and transformation is both comforting and inspirational. This is a story as much about personal triumph as about travel, and about people as well as place.”

Booklist
 
 
“Rich in detail, humor and adventure.”

Maclean’s
(Toronto)
 
 
“Beyond the Sky and the Earth
is truly a work of art. Zeppa knows how to spice up what is essentially an inner journey with drama and comedy and romance. Visually beautiful ... this is a book that will keep you reading right to the end.”

Winnipeg Free Press
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
The map on pages 306—07 is based on a map of Bhutan appearing in
Bhutan: Mountain Fortress of the
Gods
, ed. by Christian Schicklgruber and Francoise Pommaret, © 1997.
 
Copyright © 1999 by Jamie Zeppa
Title page photograph by Andy Hoets
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. RIVERHEAD is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
PRINTING HISTORY
First Riverhead trade paperback edition: May 2000
eISBN : 978-1-101-17420-3
 
 
Zeppa, Jamie.
Beyond the sky and the earth: a journey into Bhutan / by Jamie Zeppa.
p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-17420-3
1. Bhutan—Description and travel. 1. Title.
DS494.5.z-50631 CIP
954.98—dc21
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

for my grand father
Patrick Raymond Zeppa
and my grandmother
Florence Alice Zeppa
Acknowledgments
M
any people have helped me write this book. I would like to thank Nancy Strickland, who gave me a room of my own as well as her generous and unfailing friendship; and my other WUSC-Bhutan friends, Mark LaPrairie, Grant and Dorothy Bruce, Anne Currie, Barb Rutten, Cam Kilgour, and Catherine McAdam, for their friendship in Bhutan and beyond. Many thanks to my agent, Anne McDermid, for her tireless commitment to this project over many months and many miles. I am very grateful to my excellent editors for all their work in shaping this book: Julie Grau at Riverhead in New York, Mari Evans at Macmillan U.K., and, especially, Jill Lambert, who was there from the beginning. I am also indebted to the many others who read various drafts, made invaluable suggestions, and kept me writing, especially Tshewang, Sheree Fitch, Karma S., Shirley-Dale Easley, Ruth Liddington, and Lesley Grant of Doubleday Canada. My writing companions in Thimphu, the women of WAGS, were a great source of strength, as was my mother, Judy Luzzi. Thanks also to my father, Jim Zeppa, and Minor Miracles, for providing space and time to work during the revision process. I would like to thank Sonam Wangmo for her story of the oracle in her father’s temple at Sakteng; Jigme Drukpa, who provided the information on Bhutanese music and musical instruments throughout the book; and Chris Butters, whose insights into Bhutanese architecture are incorporated on p. 166. Thank you to Susan Terrill, my dearest friend, who submitted the essay that won the award that started the process that became this book. I am also grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for its generous financial assistance. Finally, I thank all my former students from Bhutan, wherever you are now, for being my very best teachers. Tashi Delek.
You must leave your home and go forth from your country.
The children of Buddha all practice this way.

The Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices
Arrival
Teachers will find
themselves in
isolated settlements
in an isolated
country. Living
conditions may vary
from basic
to spartan.
The demands on
their personal
resources and
professional abilities
will be high.
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