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9789387324329 | PaperBack
232 pp | 2018


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Coming Home to Mazu
Roger R. Hale
This tells the story of six months in the life of a 29-year-old woman from Taiwan, Gao Mei Lin, who returns home from India after having travelled alone, most importantly pursuing her interest in Buddhism. During the next six months of Gao Mei Lin’s life, leading up and ending with her 30th birthday party in her home town of Hualien, she wrestles with two major themes.

The first theme has to do with Mei Lin’s religious or spiritual transformation from “pure” Buddhism to her gradual embrace of a local deity Mazu. Mei Lin’s gradual shift toward devotion of Mazu hints at a larger nativist movement afoot in Taiwan—a desire of its population to redefine and celebrate what it means to be Taiwanese.

The second theme has to do with Gao Mei Lin’s existential question of her future—about whether to find a marriage partner or whether to remain independent. Three young men are attracted to Mei Lin and suggest to the reader questions not only about Gao Mei Lin’s future, but for the future of Taiwan more generally.

However, that said, this story is a simple one, about a charming young Taiwanese woman and her three suitors. In addition to her anxiety about the future, Gao Mei Lin is a testament to the courteous, creative and enterprising people of the island. Gao Mei Lin’s character is as strikingly interesting and magnificent as is the natural beauty of the island.

Roger R. Hale:

Roger R. Hale became interested in India while studying Philosophy and music at Wesleyan University, in Connecticut, USA. His teacher at the time, Tanjavur Ranganathan, encouraged him to continue studying mrdangam in South India. He later pursued Tamil, Hindi, and Indian History at U.C. Berkeley, where he received a M.A. in 1985.

Roger and his wife, Elizabeth Chien-Hale, have since spent their lives together in Northern California, Taiwan and China. Together, they are engaged in thinking and writing about the intersection between Chinese and Indian cultures. This book comes after Mr. Hale has spent the last five years mainly living and working in Taiwan, the birth place of his wife. This book, Coming Home to Mazu, as well as New Watering Holes (KW Publishers: 2017) expand on the lives of characters introduced in the book they cowrote, Three Chinese Travellers to India (KW Publishers: 2016).

Contents

Acknowledgements
1. Return from India
2. Reconnecting in Taipei City
3. Train Ride: Thoughts about Mazu and Guanshiyinpusa
4. Home at Last: Hualien
5. Kabuto Sakai and Reflections about the Past
6. Soldier Gao
7. Terry Lin
8. Mary Zhang and Oliver Joseph
9. Hiking in Taroko Gorge
10. Mei Lin turns 30
Bibliography



 
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