Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eliot Pattison talks about Tibet

Eliot Pattison has set five crime novels in Tibet, a place unfortunately much in the news these days. The novels are much concerned with Chinese repression of Tibet and Tibetans, so it's no surprise that the BBC has sought him out for comment.

"I think we're at a very historic moment," Pattison says in an interview on the program The World. Though he does not mention the Beijing Olympics, he does say China increased its repression a year ago. He says the new campaign has included the destruction of religious statues, acts he compares to the Taliban's destruction of the colossal sixth-century Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001.

You can hear the complete interview here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks for this brilliantly topical post Peter.
All those people who think that the Beijing Olympics will be a factor in improving human rights in China have forgotten the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

March 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know what the thoughts were among Olympic officials in 1936, except that Avery Brundage of the U.S., whose construction company later received contracts from Nazi Germany, was against a boycott.

I have read no one who voices the thought that the Beijing Olympics will improve human rights. One hopes that sponsors who decry talk of a boycott would be too ashamned to utter such mendacity. Instead, sponsors insist that the Olympics are no place for politics. At least the pleas that boycotts hurt only the athletes has a ring of truth.

As a compromise, I like the suggestion that countries boycott the opening ceremonies.

March 20, 2008  
Blogger Simona Carini said...

Thank you so much Peter for this. I heard part of the interview and got interested, but did not quite catch the author's name.

On a different topic: the latest Montalbano novel was just published by Sellerio. It is called "Il campo del vasaio" (the potter's field).
I hope I'll be forgiven if I moved the caponata idea to the next edition of Novel Food: I would very much like to make it with fresh ingredients. I will, however, talk about a mystery, so stay tuned.

March 20, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've read two of Pattison's novels in his Tibet series: the first, The Skull Mantra, and the fifth, Prayer of the Dragon. Both are well worth reading, and you might be especially interested in knowing that his protagonist and hero, Inspector Shan Tao Yun, is Han Chinese -- an interesting choice for novels largely about oppression of Tibetans by Han Chinese.

Since you read Italian, you will always be a book or two ahead of me when it comes to Camilleri recipes. You will be finishing your contorno while I am still deciding on a primo.

March 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read the first four of Eliot Pattison's Tibet novels, think they are terrific, and would recommend that anyone who's interested give one a try. He's a very humane, warm writer, and Shao Tao Yun is a well-drawn and interesting protagonist.

I've been complaining recently about novel or exotic location hiding flat plots or flatter characters, but culture and landscape in Pattison's Tibet is woven into the story, and shapes all of the characters and much of what they do.

March 26, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd add righteous indignation to Pattison's qualities as a writer. He's angry about what the Chinese government and official and unofficial miners have done in Tibet, and it shows.

I read one of your comments about exotic locations hiding flat stories, and I agree that Pattison does not fall into that tired category. His stories partake so strongly of Tibetan culture and environment that one could not imagine them taking place anywhere else. I notice that he opens at least two of the novels with stark descriptions of the physical environment, a fine way of a grounding a novel firmly in its setting.

March 26, 2008  

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