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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Author reads from novel about Tibet

September 30, 2010

By Jeanne Peterson
Special to The Union (Nevada)
September 27, 2010

Peterson will read from "Falling to Heaven," her
novel about Tibet, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30,
at Summer Thymes Café, 421 Colfax Ave., Grass
Valley. She's hosted by Sierra Friends of Tibet.

In 1996, I began working as a psychologist with
survivors of torture and Communist re-education from various parts of Asia.

These were people who couldn't sleep more than a
few hours a night, or who had panic attacks at
the sight of a police officer, because it reminded them of their torturers.

Four years later, I sat down and began writing,
and what emerged was the story of two American
Quakers who trek over the Himalayas into Tibet in
the 1950s, just as the Chinese communists are invading.

That novel, "Falling to Heaven," has been
published in the United States, Canada, the
United Kingdom, Germany, and soon, in Spanish.

In the story, trekkers Emma and Gerald quickly
form warm bonds with Dorje, a Tibetan neighbor.
The Communists suspect Gerald of teaching
Tibetans capitalist ideas, and so the Communists
abduct both him and a member of Dorje's family,
throwing them into prison for “re-education.”
Dorje and his family, along with Emma, flee Tibet to go into exile.

It is my hope that "Falling to Heaven" would help
readers experience the Tibetan struggle on a personal level.

I will be reading from the book at 7 p.m. Sept.
30 at Summer Thyme's Café in Grass Valley, hosted
by Sierra Friends of Tibet. The group was founded
by Joseph Guida, who also hosts two radio
programs on the subject — the Tibetan Radio Hour
on KVMR and Tibet World Service, with offering live streaming.

Summer Thymes Café is at 421 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley; (530) 273-2904.

* Jeanne M. Peterson is a psychologist in San
Diego, where she also facilitates a writers' group.
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