Im Land der zornigen Winde - Amelie Schenk, Galsan Tschinag
This book is the result of the Swiss ethnologist Amélie Schenk interviewing the Tuvan novelist-poet Galsan Tschinag (a couple of his poems are here and here). It is presented as if talking in real time, only Galsan's side of the conversation, though actually written after the fact. The two of them certainly put quite a bit of enthusiasm into writing this book. For the most part, the subject matter is of a general ethnographic sort: Galsan reports Tuvan ideas about the land, human nature, the body, family, love, spirits, the relationship between nomads and their herd animals, etc. He talks about everything in spiritual terms. He does include some illustrative stories from his family and talk a bit about his own experiences.

In the 1960s, the Russian government sent Galsan and a handful of other Mongolians to the university in Leipzig (East Germany). For him this was the start of an ambiguous love affair with German/Western culture, which he sharply criticizes, and above all a love for the German language ("die klingende Sprache, die mir, dem von Deutschen Landen um Tausende von Kilometern getrennten Ausländer, ständig fehlt"). He mostly writes in German, living part of the time in Mongolia. His passionate sense of purpose in writing comes through in this interview. He is dedicated to trying, against all odds, to help the threatened Tuvan culture survive, and encourage its people both politically and culturally; and to hopefully get the powerful West to actually hear and understand Tuva, rather than just steamroller over it. He also sometimes sees himself as a missionary bringing the power of nomadic, shamanic thinking to the spiritually hollow West.

I had a little trouble adjusting to the style at first, but I eventually found it quite attractive; indeed, Galsan's paragraphs can be highly eloquent.