When Stick Out Your Tongue was published in Chinese in 1997, a blanket ban was placed on Ma Jian's future work. With its publication in English, readers get a rare glimpse of Tibet through Chinese eyes. In this profound work of fiction, a Chinese writer whose marriage has fallen apart travels to Tibet. As he wanders through the countryside, he witnesses the sky burial of a Tibetan woman who died during childbirth, shares a tent with a nomad who is walking to a sacred mountain to seek forgiveness for sleeping with his daughter, and hears the story of a young female lama who died during a Buddhist initiation rite. In stories both enchanting and horrifying, beautiful and macabre, seductive and perverse, Stick Out Your Tongue offers a startlingly vivid portrait of Tibet.
“Extraordinary . . . Ma Jian has burned through the fog of fantasy that clouds our vision of Tibet: He has shown us how poverty and political repression have deformed its once rich and vibrant culture.” —Francine Prose, People
“These powerful pages . . . are hard to shake from one's memory and remain . . . testimony to the storytelling artistry of Ma Jian.” —The Washington Post
“The people Ma Jian transfigures, the images of a Tibet where the living and the dead seem to mingle with beauty and unease, all this becomes quite a striking souvenir of our own high altitude pilgrimage through these exotic pages.” —NPR's All Things Considered