It is not easy to classify Tsering Wangmo Dhompa’s debut book, A Home in Tibet, into any genre. How should we read her book, as a memoir or a travelogue? Perhaps, it is both and in this sense, is evocative of Colin Thubron’s To A Mountain in Tibet. Both writers’ journey to Tibet was set off by the death of their mothers, leaving the two writers bereft and spurring them to recount their contrasting experiences in two different but compelling stories with the same motif of death, memory and life.
In Thubron’s case, his mother died in a hospital ward, perhaps of natural causes. But this sets him off into meditation and on a journey to Mount Kailash, the Precious Mountain, in western Tibet. As Thubron explains, “You cannot walk out your grief, I know, or absolve yourself of your survival, or bring anyone back… Then you go on a journey (it’s my profession, after all), walking to a place beyond your own history, to the sound of the river flowing the other way. In the end you come to rest at a mountain that is holy to others.” [Source]