on 23 September 2009
This book deserves to be better known than it is.
It is ultimately about change and how it affects our lives. In a wider sense, how Darwin's theory was changing views on science, religion and the natural world and in a more personal way, how one priest was changed and forced to re-examine his beliefs about faith and love by his travels and experiences in China and Mongolia. In particualr his feelings for a woman he meets and falls in love with during his stay.
It is very atmospheric, really evoking a sense of the places and events described and awakened my interest in a place and time I knew little about before reading this book. You can't read it and not be left wishing to see these places yourself.
Parts of this book have stayed with me long after I finished the last page.
on 26 May 2009
The book is a well written account of Joseph's travels through China and Mongolia to collect fossils, plant and bird specimens to take back to England. During his travels Joseph's faith in himself as a priest, and in God are tested by Mendo, a Buddist monk travelling with him and by his Naamuunaa, a woman he meets during his travels. Not a fast paced book, but a thoroughly enjoyable, touching read that may get you to reflect on what lenghts you would go to to achieve your goals.
on 9 January 2011
I read this as part of a Book Group, and not only did I enjoy the book but I also thought it one of the most interesting and well-written of those that we have read as a group. The story is compelling for a number of reasons: in particular it is surprising that Joseph can stay true to his own faith despite the obvious conflicts with his human desires, his understanding of evolution and the alternative beliefs of those he meets on his travels.