Off the Plateau

Lowell Cook reviews Old Demons, New Deities

The world of Tibetan literature just got a little bigger. A collection of twenty-one contemporary Tibetan short stories edited by Tenzin Dickie, wonderfully titled Old Demons, New Deities, was published by OR Books in December. The collection brings together some of the best fiction from the Tibetan world, featuring authors from both inside and outside Tibet. For many readers, Tibet means “Free Tibet” bumper stickers and Shangrila fantasies, but these stories evoke a different vision. They offer us windows into the lived experiences of ordinary Tibetans today, capturing the joys and sorrows of modern Tibet as it grapples with both the old demons of tradition and the new deities of modernity.