Water Touching Stone

Water Touching Stone In Water Touching Stone, The Sequel To The Internationally Acclaimed The Skull Mantra, Shan Tao Yun Is Cloistered In A Remote Tibetan Sanctuary When He Receives Shattering News A Teacher Revered By The Oppressed Has Been Found Slain And, One By One, Her Orphaned Students Have Followed Her To Her Grave, Victims Of A Killer Harboring Unfathomable Motives Abandoning His Mountain Hermitage, Shan Tao Yun, A Former Beijing Police Inspector Who Has Been Exiled To Tibet, Embarks On A Search For Justice Shadowed By Bizarre Tales Of An Unleashed Demon, Shan Braces Himself For Even Darker Imaginings As He Stalks A Killer And Fights To Restore Spiritual Balance To The Ancient And Tenuous Splendor Of Tibet

Edgar Award winning Eliot Pattison has been described as a writer of faraway mysteries, a label which is particularly apt for someone whose travel and interests span a million miles of global trekking, visiting every continent but Antarctica An international lawyer by training, Pattison first combined his deep concerns for the people of Tibet with his interest in fiction writing in The Skull

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  • Paperback
  • 621 pages
  • Water Touching Stone
  • Eliot Pattison
  • 10 October 2018
  • 9780099414865

10 thoughts on “Water Touching Stone

  1. says:

    Ostensibly, this is a mystery novel, and it s a good one It may seem strange, then, for me to suggest that the marvelous and compelling storyline is practically irrelevant, but in some ways it is An even greater power of this book lies in it s characterizations, it s sense of place, and it s vivid, visceral evocation of vanishing and emerging cultures Set in Tibet and Central Asia amid societies being absorbed into the dominant Han Chinese political system, the novel paints such an indelible portrait of life in a cultural maelstrom that the compelling whodunit actually takes a backseat to the experience of being there Pattison spent time in the places about which he writes, and his characters literally think in culturally specific ways, a particularly revealing technique for dealing with Tibetan Buddhists and Chinese bureaucrats alike If you have an interest in China, Tibet, or Central Asian nomads, or just an interest in culture change and politics in general, this book provides a unique window on these subjects that many readers will find completely absorbing If you like mysteries, it will definitely satisfy that craving, as well Note This book is the second in an ever growing series of mysteries featuring Pattison s Inspector Shan All of them are highly recommended You don t have to read the first to enjoy the second, but once you read one, you will probably want to read them all.

  2. says:

    In this, his second novel featuring Inspector Shan, a Han Chinese political exile in Tibet, Pattison moves from southern Tibet, the setting for The Skull Mantra, to the far northwest of China, to the lands of the Kazakh and Uighur Moslem clans The action begins in media res, Pattison immediately creating a situation of grave danger as Shan and his Tibetan companions are sent to solve the murder of a teacher and her pupils Buddhist and Taoist myths and philosophy are central to the narrative, as they are central in the lives of the characters Tension is thick, not only because of the dangers the companions face from others but also because of the suspicions and prejudices among themselves Pattison creates an ambiance of a culture and geography utterly foreign to our own, a way of looking at and experiencing life that contrasts greatly to that of contemporary Western society Pattison has created a gripping story involving contemporary history and ancient cultures, all contributing to make an engrossing mystery in a very foreign context Almost continually I find myself wondering about the accuracy of the history and politics that he portrays I know little about the politics and peoples of Tibet and especially Xinjiang, and it would be easy for me to assume that what Pattison describes is factually accurate It would also be easy for me to erroneously assume such accuracy and for the author to be writing what in effect is a propaganda document, and so I must be alert and aware that such is a possibility and a danger One can enjoy a good story for its own sake, even while suspending judgment about factual veracity.Here are two quotations from the book that I especially liked Maybe humans exist just to keep virtue alive and to pass it on to someone else The great barriers to understanding are material possessions, which only build hunger for , and time, which pushes so many through life, fearful that they will miss something if they slow, as though, if they are quick enough, they can change their destiny There were many characters of importance in this novel, and it was not until the end that I was sure that I was keeping them all straight, and the plot was sufficiently convoluted that it was only in the last couple of chapters that I could discern its details But most of all, I wanted another glimpse of the Tibetan people, their culture and traditions, and this book was a most satisfactory depiction.

  3. says:

    At our bookstore, this is shelved under crime, and yet I find myself hesitating to call it crime fiction Yes, there is a murder there are several murders, actually and there is crime, and there is a detective, but this was unlike any other piece of crime fiction I ever read.Although it s the second in a series of novels about detective Shan, this book was the first I read completely I started reading the first book a while ago and even though I liked it, I didn t finish it and returned it But by that time I had already borrowed the second book from someone else and since it was sitting here I figured I might as well read it.And I m really, really glad I did.Shan Tao Yan, a former Chinese bureaucrat who ended up being sent to a Himalayan labor camp is helping two of his Tibetan friends discover the truth about the disappearance of a teacher in the Xinjiang region The disappearance turns out to be a murder, and it seems that after the teacher, the students are in danger, too But why was the teacher killed, and why are the students being hunted It s a very slow paced book, and it does take a while to get going and by that I mean far than the usual 20 to 50 pages But that didn t make it any less compelling for me Shan and his traveling companions captured my attention right away and I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible During Shan s quest for truth, we also get an impression for what it s like to be living under Chinese rule for the different people living in the region, and many of the things that are described in this book are horrifying, to say the least And we get an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and its traditions.What I loved best about this book is the quiet beauty of Pattison s writing It s very calm and beautiful and, because of its calm, all the powerful It s difficult to describe, but his writing moved me than anything I have read in a while The crime plot as such is well done and, once it does get going, the book is hard to put down There are a lot of seemingly unconnected crimes and leads in the beginning, and I found myself asking where it would all lead, until it suddenly all came together and made sense But the book would only be half as good if it weren t for the many minor characters we meet on Shan s journey each with their own backstory, sometimes told only in one sentence It s a very sad book, at times, but there are also moments of hope in between, which make the sadness bearable It s really a very beautiful book, and one I am really glad to have read And I ve already ordered the one before and the one after that.

  4. says:

    One of the most amazing series of books I have ever read.Don t let the fact it is a detective series dissuade you from reading them.This series gets to the heart of all that is has been going on in Tibet.History hidden behind the label of a detective series, these books speak of Tibet, it s struggle againstthe invasion of China, how the Chinese tried to wipe out Buddhism, it s monks, and a way of life that has existed for thousands of years This series will make your soul cry, make your spirit soar, and believe in the power of faith in a people whose courage rose above all the horrors that surrounded them I strongly suggest this series to anyone who is interested in Tibet and the story of it s people.

  5. says:

    I have really been enjoying the inspector Shan series but it is so depressing what is happening to Tibet as so well outlined in this book on a very personal level.The books are like meditations in themselves and as a normally fast reader I find that I have to really take my time to get through the journey of the book The experience of the journey seems to be central to the book than the solving of the mystery

  6. says:

    A beautifully and skillfully written book that weaves Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and a story of mystery and adventure Complex and compelling, this is the second book in which the exiled Han investigator, Shan Tao Yun has to confront his fears and memories while searching for a rabid killer in the lock down culture of Chinese controlled Tibet.Here is one insightful sample The one word I would never use for Tibetans, she said, with a strangely distant tone, is harmlessEveryone else we can talk with, we can negotiate with, we can educate, we can teach the wisdom of becoming something elseBut Tibetans just stay Tibetans At least as good as The Skull Mantra, it offers insights into modern China and its determination to dominate the ethnic cultures it has engulfed, even as it, too, is changing.

  7. says:

    Mystery set in Tibet it is an homage to a profound beautiful culture and an anchor to our own restless urbanity.

  8. says:

    A murderer is preying on a group of orphans and their teacher as disappeared In response a disgraced former Chinese investigator and his Tibetan mentors sally forth As they seek to prevent further deaths they come across the resistance, kazakhs and uighers seeking to maintain their culture and the han chinese settling in their lands the book is than a crime thriller, it is equal part an exploration of tibetan culture and a travelogue It is on this third dimension that the book worked best for me as the author is great at conjuring up what life is like there As a crime thriller i found it managed to be both obvious and confusing in parts As an exploration of tibetan culture it is very interesting and very educational.I found the book to be very didactic and one sided the tibetans are all wise saints and almost all chinese are predators there is a point of view that the tibetan monks practiced a restrictive theocracy that deeply hurt the people of tibet but it gets no play here.

  9. says:

    Another Inspector Shan mystery that provides about the destruction of native cultures by the Chinese central government Perhaps some idealization of the noble savage in examining the vanishing ways of life in Tajikistan and similar areas, but informative and moving nonetheless.

  10. says:

    While I was reading this book, the news broke of the 101st self immolation of a Tibetan in Nepal since 2009 The self immolaters are protesting the Chinese occupation of their homeland It was a sad reminder that, even though these books are fiction, they are based on very real events namely, the sixty year long effort by China to subjugate Tibet and obliterate its culture and religion.Of course, for the traditional Tibetan, culture and religion are very much the same thing Evidently, that is what the Chinese state finds so offensive.But, as this book makes clear, it is not just the Tibetans whose culture is under attack by the Chinese government The other ethnic minorities in the western China borderlands suffer from the same efforts at repression The Kazakhs, the Uighurs, and the Tadjiks, as well as the Tibetans have a sad history of interaction with the giant to their east And all of these peoples play a part in the story told in this second book in the Inspector Shan series, Water Touching Stone.The story briefly is that an honored teacher has been murdered The lamas in the secret gompa where the fugitive Inspector Shan has been staying since his release from the gulag divine that it is necessary for Shan and two of their number to travel to the remote northern regions of the Tibetan plateau, where the teacher was murdered, to restore the spiritual balance which has been upset by her violent death They are accompanied by one of the purbas, resistance fighters against the Chinese.This motley crew of outcasts heads into the wilds of Tibet They soon discover to their horror that it is not only the teacher who was killed Some of her students all boys have been killed, too, and it is feared that the others are targeted The herdsmen in the area attribute the deaths to a demon Shan isn t so sure He believes the serial killer is all too human and that the motive for the killings may be found in the Tibetan struggle against cultural annihilation Along the way, we meet secret Buddhists, some proud remnants of Muslim clans, vengeful Chinese officials, American anthropologists who are in the country illegally, soldiers, smugglers, and people who are just trying to survive It is a heady cultural mix The book is at its strongest in its exploration of the customs and daily lives of all these diverse groups and of how they coexist in a hostile land It was on that level that I most enjoyed the tale.But the book is classified as a mystery and that, frankly, didn t work so well for me The story was all over the landscape literally and it didn t hold together very coherently for me Now, maybe that s because the book is telling a story of a very non literal society which exists on a spiritual than a physical plane Perhaps my western brain just isn t geared to absorb it, but I found the things that I look for in mysteries the character development, the plotting to be weak Moreover, there was SUCH foreshadowing One character in particular and I don t want to give anything away here was constantly looking forward to a certain happy event So much time was spent in building the event up that I, the jaded reader, felt, Uh, oh, this isn t going to end well It didn t.Eliot Pattison is obviously very sympathetic to the cause of the Tibetans and to the other cultural and ethnic minorities of that troubled region of the world and he writes movingly of them Perhaps the best way to enjoy these books is as anthropological or sociological instruments and to not worry so much about the obviousness of the mysteries.

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