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Under the Holy Lake: A Memoir of Eastern Bhutan Paperback – Jun 4 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Alberta Press; Trade PB edition (June 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888644922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888644923
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,875,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"As a young teacher in the late 1980s, Ontarian Ken Haigh taught for two years in a remote Himalayan village in eastern Bhutan. This is an evocative memoir of that time and that place, redolent of the region's Buddhist legacy, its mountain trails and its timeless way of life." The Globe and Mail, August 9, 2008

"His adventures of teaching for two years in Bhutan have been my bed time reading for the past while. An amazing story, beautifully written." http://heathersexcellentadventure.blogspot.com/

"In 1987, with a degree in English Literature under his belt, Ken went, under the auspices of WUSC (World University of Canada), to teach in a remote Bhutanese valley, at a school that had originally been established by Canadian Jesuits. Ill-prepared and initially ill-at-ease, he arrived in a corner of the earth that was virtually untouched by the modern world. It was a landscape of lush valleys overshadowed by the oldest and highest mountains on earth, in a country rich in legend, magic and superstition, with a vibrant traditional culture in which every aspect of daily life was permeated by Buddhism; a country of mountain villages and friendly people, with gorgeous temples that were living places of worship, not tourist attractions.With eloquence, wit, and self-effacing humour, Ken traces the stages of his culture shock: the honeymoon period, in which everything was new and fascinating: the period of conflict in which a longing for Tim Hortons set in; the critical period, in which everything that was apparently wrong with the place grated on his nerves. Finally came a time of acceptance and transition into recovery and cultural adaptation. He relates how he learned to deal with lack of telephones, the constant haggling, the rats, the wild dogs, the leeches, the hundred-mile treks, the near death experiences on terrifying mountain roads, the frustration of language barriers, the monotonous diet, the sickness. Yet, despite the great discomforts, Haigh's book is a love story, the story of how a young Canadian teacher became captivated by the magic and the mystique of a strange land and its people....Ken Haigh's book is a 'must read' for any young person contemplating volunteer service overseas, and it's a first-class read for the armchair traveller. You can feel the mountains, hear the sounds, taste the food, see the colours and breathe the air of Bhutan, the only country on the planet where 'Gross National Happiness' is officially deemed more important than 'Gross National Product'." Patricia Grant, The Blue Mountains Courier-Herald, September 17, 2008

"Haigh's sensitive and penetrating account of two years' teaching in Bhutan shatters many Himalayan Shangri-la myths in projecting the many-faceted and tougher realities. Haigh's dedicated work there will evoke admiration." Peter Skinner, Outstanding University Press Books, Foreword Magazine, January/February 2009

"In Under the Holy lake: A Memoir of Eastern Bhutan, writer Ken Haigh revisits his time spent as a young school teacher in the remote Himalayan village of Kahling, Bhutan, and draws the reader into a place where the hurried pace of Western life gives way to simpler, gentler modes of living." Edmonton Journal, Christmas Gift Guide, November 19, 2008

"I put it aside for a few weeks, asking, 'Do we really need another memoir of a North American's brief stay in Bhutan?' Sorry about that, but we do. ... In 1987 and '89, he taught in the Khaling Valley in Eastern Bhutan. And now, 20 years later, Haigh has written a winner about his experience." – Andrew Armitage, Owen Sound Sun Times, January 16, 2009

"This is a beautifully written love letter to a country, simple and untouched, where Haigh spent two formative and hugely informative years. Haigh's experiences are those of every traveller eager to experience a new society and culture. He has to learn the mysteries of the local body language, the subtleties of everyday commerce, the wonders of the local customs (did you know archery is the national sport in Bhutan?), the importance of clans and families and mriad other miutiae. Haigh's ability to recall and describe this detail makes the book so fascinating. ... An example of these wonderful tales is Haigh's attempt to wear the local costume, a single piece of cloth known as a gho. He doesn't put it on right so the students strip it off and show him how, when worn correctly, it can make him look 'very handsome and vey dangerous.'" Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald, March 14-15, 2009

"Ken Haigh's memoir of teaching high school in Bhutan has been published by University of Alberta Press. Ken spent two years teaching in Bhutan and his book, Under the Holy Lake, is an engaging and informative tale of his adventures during a unique time in the country's history. After teaching in Bhutan, China and the Canadian Arctic, Ken earned his Masters of Library & Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Shortly thereafter he moved to The Blue Mountains and worked as CEO until 2002 when he resigned to become a full time father and writer. Ken has since returned to work part-time at the Blue Mountains Public Library and he continues to write and actively parent his three school-aged children. Ken's book has been enthusiastically received by the Georgian Bay Communities." Hoopla, Spring 2009

"[Haigh's] book is knowledgeable, thoughtful, humane and stylish." Diplomat and International Canada, Spring 2009

"Ken Haigh's memoir of teaching high school in Bhutan has been published by University of Alberta Press. Ken spent two years teaching in Bhutan and his book, Under the Holy Lake, is an engaging and informative tale of his adventures during a unique time in the country's history. Ken's book has been enthusiastically received by the Georgian Bay Communities." Hoopla, Spring 2009

From the Back Cover

I told myself: remember this moment, this perfect moment. The time may come when you will have need of it. I gazed around at the surrounding hills and drank it all in. —Ken Haigh A child’s face, a forgotten scent, or a distinctive flavour stirs memory and inspires longing for those transformative experiences in one’s life. Ken Haigh brings us tantalizingly close to his own vision of longing for a time, a place, and a people when he revisits his two-year sojourn as a young schoolteacher in the remote Himalayan village of Khaling, Bhutan. Ken’s memoir will leave you yearning for ancient Buddhist temples, winding mountain trails, and a simpler way of life; it will enchant the vicarious traveller in each of us. Ken Haigh is a graduate of Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario, where he studied English literature, education, and library science. In 1987–1989, he taught for two years in Khaling Valley in Eastern Bhutan. Ken has also taught in China and in the Canadian Arctic. Ken lives in Clarksburg, Ontario.

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August 1, 2013
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
Em Perdue
5.0 out of 5 starsLoved this book and wished the author had stayed much longer
June 15, 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsWonderful book
February 17, 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
S. J. Matley
5.0 out of 5 starsUnder the Holy Lake
May 31, 2009 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
One person found this helpful.
John L Murphy
5.0 out of 5 starsStraightforward account of teaching in the late 1980s
December 31, 2012 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One person found this helpful.
Meaghan
4.0 out of 5 starsBhutan as it was 25 years ago
January 14, 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One person found this helpful.