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Beyond the House of the Lama traces Crane's adventures as a writer, wanderer, and anarchic but still failing student of Zen. It begins in 1996 at the edge of the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia, where he and his teacher and friend, Zen Master Tsung Tsai, are forced by a sandstorm to end their quest to find the lost temple at Two Wolf Mountain. It continues with a harrowing, near disastrous attempt to deliver a ratty, 58 foot ferrous cement sailboat to Granada. Setting sail from Key Largo into the heart of hurricane season, with a crew of eccentrics and outlaws, led by the infamous Captain Bananas. They run with a disintegrating sailboat into the perfect squall. The tale ends in the winter of 2003, when after weeks of desert travel, Crane and his companions–––the nomad Jumaand and the young, beautiful Mongol girl Oka, his bed mate and bodyguard–––stand beneath the remote cliffs of Delgaz Khaan in Outer Mongolia's South Gobi. Here, Crane, after burying his long dead father, sets out on a new quest, looking to find what the nomads call Windhorse, "the beginning of the wind," but finds what every nomad knows, that every road is more a direction than a destination.
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George Crane is the author of the internationally acclaimed Bones of the Master. He is an occasional poet and translator of Chinese poems. With Tsung Tsai, Crane translated A Thousand Pieces of Snow. His writings has been published in eleven languages. He lives mostly on the road.From Publishers Weekly:
In the southwestern reaches of the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia, near the Wolf Mountains, beyond the House of the False Lama, lies a lost temple, one of the few that escaped the mass destruction by the Communist Chinese. Readers of Bones of the Master (2000), Crane's book about his earlier travels in the area with the Zen monk Tsung Tsai, might reasonably expect a second quasi-mystical nomadic quest, especially as that's the setup for this new book. But it doesn't happens. Instead, Crane, an aging hippie-poet whose zeitgeist is unrepentantly lodged in the countercultural 1970s, uses the excuse of a failing marriage to leave home (Woodstock, N.Y., where else?) to spend a couple of years on the road—solo. First, he signs on to help deliver a boat from Key Largo to Grenada. Next, he's off to Paris to reminisce about past adventures, past loves, old friends. Late in 2003, he does get to Inner Mongolia, and it hardly matters that no temple is found. There's definitely a select audience for this kind of personal travel book, peppered with poetry and somewhat wacky though amiable reveries.
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