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  • Falling to Heaven

    Tibet, 1954. The man called Dorje leans against the inside of his front door, his heart knocking against the wood. The Chinese soldier’s parting words still echo in Dorje’s ears.

    “We know you are half-Chinese. We have come to bring communism to Tibetans, and you will help us.”

    In the days following this visit, Dorje encounters another hazard. Two American Quakers, Emma and Gerald Kittredge, have traversed the Himalayas on foot and settled in the house next door. Steeped in the tradition of Quaker pacifism, they long to live in a society which has embraced nonviolence for centuries. Dorje knows it’s dangerous to befriend these two westerners whom the Chinese call “foreign devils.” But they are irresistibly exotic to him – with blue eyes so clear he wonders if he can see right through them. So he befriends them first with a kettle of barley beer, then with his heart, and then with his entire family.

    The Chinese respond swiftly, abducting both Gerald and a member of Dorje’s family. Dorje and Emma then face an agonizing decision: whether to flee Tibet or stay and risk capture themselves.

    Through the tapestry of these characters, the novel illuminates the journey of Tibet itself, wrenched from its Buddhist heritage and thrust into the twentieth century by a godless Chairman Mao. Told in three distinct voices rich in their respective spiritual traditions, FALLING TO HEAVEN is ultimately a novel about faith: losing it and rediscovering it in places you’d never expect.

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