When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East: A Novel (Hardcover)
From the acclaimed author of We Ride Upon Sticks comes a luminous novel that moves across a windswept Mongolia, as estranged twin brothers make a journey of duty, conflict, and renewed understanding.
Tasked with finding the reincarnation of a great lama—a spiritual teacher who may have been born anywhere in the vast Mongolian landscape—the young monk Chuluun sets out with his identical twin, Mun, who has rejected the monastic life they once shared. Their relationship will be tested on this journey through their homeland as each possesses the ability to hear the other’s thoughts.
Proving once again that she is a writer of immense range and imagination, Quan Barry carries us across a terrain as unforgiving as it is beautiful and culturally varied, from the western Altai mountains to the eerie starkness of the Gobi Desert to the ancient capital of Chinggis Khaan. As their country stretches before them, questions of faith—along with more earthly matters of love and brotherhood—haunt the twins.
Are our lives our own, or do we belong to something larger? When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East is a stunningly far-flung examination of our individual struggle to retain our convictions and discover meaning in a fast-changing world, as well as a meditation on accepting what simply is.
About the Author
Born in Saigon and raised in Massachusetts, QUAN BARRY is the author of the novels She Weeps Each Time You’re Born and We Ride Upon Sticks (winner of the 2020 ALA Alex Award), and four books of poetry, including Water Puppets (winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and a PEN Open Book finalist). Barry’s first play, The Mytilenean Debate, premiers in the spring of 2022. She is the Lorraine Hansberry Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
“An imaginative tour de force . . . Evincing the same dazzling talents that won high critical praise for We Ride upon Sticks, Barry vastly expands readers’ horizons, both geographical and metaphysical . . . Readers’ most transformative experience comes by reflecting—through Chulun’s thoughts, strangely tangled with Mun’s—on the Four Noble Buddhist Truths and the Eight-Fold Path. . .Though the narrative focuses on Mongolian Buddhism, readers learn how Buddhists everywhere have suffered as Chinese communists have persecuted the faith rooted in Tibet.” —Bryce Christensen, Booklist (starred review)