Hearing Birds Fly: A Nomadic Year in Mongolia

Louisa Waugh’s passionately written account of her time in a remote Mongolian village. Frustrated by the increasingly bland character of the capital city of Ulan Bator, she yearned for the real Mongolia and got the chance when she was summoned by the village head to go to Tsengel far away in the west, near the Kazakh border. Her story transports the reader to the glacial cold and the wonders of the Seven Kings as they steadily emerge from the horizon. Through her we sense their trials as well as their joys, rivalries and even hostilities, many of which the author shared or knew about. Waugh’s time in the village was marked by coming to terms with the harshness of climate and also by how she faced up to new feelings towards the treatment of animals, death, solitude and real loneliness, and the constant struggle to censor her reactions as an outsider. Above all, she aims to involve readers with the locals’ lives in such a way that we come to know them and care for their fates.

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