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The Circle of Karma Paperback – December 28, 2005

7 customer reviews

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Paperback, December 28, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...immensely readable" -Business India

"An unforgettable tale of a simple women’s pilgrimage and journey to self-realization" —Hindu

About the Author

Kunzang Choden is one of Bhutan’s foremost writers. In her early fifties, she has written a number of short stories and has also published collections of folk tales from Bhutan. This is her first novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Global (December 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8186706798
  • ISBN-13: 978-8186706794
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Previous reviews being very brief, here's more detail. This 2005 novel, the first in English by a Bhutanese woman, tells over forty years the story of Tsomo. At fifteen, in the remote region of Kurtai, she soon falls in love with another woman's husband. This leads soon to pregnancy, but the results spur her not to a happy marriage, but family strife. She flees to work to pound stones to pave the first roads across the kingdom, putting this section somewhere about ten years after the Chinese suppression of Tibet. Years aren't mentioned; the novel unfolds in an indirect narration by Tsomo, who finds unhappiness often, and exiles herself to India.

It limits the range of her thoughts. Choden chooses a stolid, often nearly static, representation of her reflections. "She thought of her chipped enamel cup and decided to buy a nice white cup. Why should she drink out of a chipped cup. Mother would have been appalled. She believed chipped utensils brought bad fortune. Tsomo did not need any more bad fortune." (115)

Such a choice, while adding verisimilitude, slows its pace. Not much happens for long stretches, as it may in anyone's real life, but readers may find this stolid expression of a traditional woman's mentality a welcome alternative to the romanticized mindset applied to Bhutan (more often than India's) natives. After Tsomo leaves for the capital, Thimphu, to labor on the road south to India, she tells her similarly suffering friend: "Our stories are so similar and yet so different. Everything happened because we are women. You loved a man and suffered. I hated the man and suffered." (109)

Bad fortune follows her, but she realizes that she is complicit in perpetuating suffering, the circle of karma.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Wiser on August 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading a number of books set in Bhutan (both fiction and non-fiction) in preparation for a trip there in a few months. So far this is my favorite. It is the first one I read that was written by a Bhutanese. Although many aspects of the life of the main character are very sad, I found the account riveting and ultimately uplifting. One reads and hears so much about Bhutan as a utopic place which of course can't be true. So I found it enlightening and education to read a book written by someone who is from there. I'm going to buy copies of this book for friends.
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By D. E. Adamson on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a very good depiction of life for a woman in Bhutan. I found it very interesting for that reason. Having spent time in Nepal, and observing the life of women there, I found the facts very believable.
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By RawWit on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel was wonderful from both a story-telling and Buddhist perspective.
I wish she would write more just like it!
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