The title of the book says that it is a tale of love and war. I think it lies. It is so much more than that. It is a tale of determination and perseverance, it is a tale of sacrifice and betrayal and it is a tale, well told, of a bond between people that only strengthens with each hardship and challenge. White Crane, Lend me your wings is a literary masterpiece from the magical land of mountains and valleys.
Somewhere in the picturesque mountains of Tibet lies Nyarong, a place not usually and easily accessible to outsiders. Khampa tribe of Nyarong had always lived in symphony with the ecosystem and protected their honour and culture vehemently. When an American couple, John and Mary, find their way in the Nyarong valley as Christian missionaries, their acceptance is neither immediate nor unanimous. But they find a place in some of the hearts because of the help they bring in terms of medicines and education. The couple bears a son who is raised more as Tibetan than American.
However, the peace and harmony of Tibet are uprooted when the Chinese liberation Army sets foot in the valley in 1950s and forces it out of isolation. The Chinese army destroys monasteries and forces the lamas to work. It questions the cultural beliefs of the community and introduces new ways of life. Tribal feuds take a back seat as the people of Tibet come together to fight the brutalities of the invasion. In spite of their small numbers and incompetent weaponry, the Khampas fight back.
There are various layers of emotions and drama running throughout the story. Bonding, betrayal, friendship, revenge, love and lust appear everywhere in numerous beautiful ways. There are heart-wrenching incidents that make your heart cringe but you are equally in awe of the beauty of those words.
What was picked up impulsively after coming across it on a social media page turned out to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Undoubtedly, a 5-starer for me!!