Falling to Heaven
By Jeanne Peterson
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9780312533922, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
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FALLING TO HEAVEN is the story of two American Quakers who trek into Tibet in 1954. In this work of historical fiction, Emma and Gerald Kittredge leave their secure Quaker community and travel to the Tibetan city of Shigatse where they soon find companionship with their neighbors, Dorje and Rinchen, and their small family. But the arrival of Maoist soldiers into their quiet life shatters everything. Gerald is captured by the soldiers, leaving a pregnant Emma facing an agonizing decision: flee Tibet or stay and risk imprisonment herself. Dorje and Rinchen are her only allies, but their lives are also thrown into turmoil when their son abandons the sanctuary of his monastery to fight in the resistance. Told in three distinct voices rich in their respective spiritual traditions, FALLING TO HEAVEN is ultimately a novel about faith: losing it and rediscovering it in places you’d never expect. FALLING TO HEAVEN conjures a panoramic tale that unfolds the mysteries of an ancient and peaceful way of life.
JEANNE M. PETERSON is a clinical psychologist who worked for years with survivors of torture and communist reeducation from all over Asia. In her free time she facilitates an advanced writing group for San Diego Writers Ink, where she lives with her two sons.
"In this desperate tale of expatriates caught up in the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Jeanne Peterson captures the bitterness while keeping in touch with a more spiritual melancholy and a pulse of hope. One’s senses are flooded with tastes, smells and sounds that bring a very distant world and time to life."
Jonathan Falla, author of Blue Poppies