Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Journey to the Heart of the Himalayas

Pegasus. Oct. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781643135687. $27.95. TRAV
Television host Kirkby (The Dolphin’s Tooth; Sand Dance) shares his vivid account of the journey he and his family took to stay at a Buddhist monastery high in the Himalayas as an effort to unplug and reconnect as a family. For them the journey was as important as the stay. They canoed away from their mountain home; took a cargo ship across to Korea; boarded a high-speed rail to China; and finally backpacked across the Himalayas at an altitude of around 14,000 feet, hoisting their sons and following mountain guides into the ever-higher peaks. The journey with their two young boys, one on the autism spectrum, and a camera crew from the Travel Channel sounds daunting at best. However, the trip bonds their family in the unique quality time it affords. Kirkby adeptly balances local history, culture, and travelog with personal family experiences. His decision to include his son’s perspective shows the raw beauty of their interactions.
VERDICT A breathtaking journey, both geographical and internal, Kirkby’s blending of travelog of an already fascinatingly remote locale and personal family experience is unique and luminous. Will appeal to a wide range of readers.

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