cover image

Sky Train: Tibetan Women on the Edge of History

Canyon Sam

October 2009. 288 pp., 14x21 cm, 340 g
30 illustrations, foreword by the 14th Dalai Lama
THB 695
ISBN 978-974-9511-83-1
For sale in Southeast Asia only

Canyon Sam presents her book to the Dalai Lama

In her lyrical narrative of a journey to Tibet on China’s new “Sky Train,” Canyon Sam glimpses the past through the eyes of Tibetan women—a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, a child bride. Gracefully connecting the women’s poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, she finds wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet’s irreversible changes.

What others are saying

“Years ago following her ancestral roots to China, but finding instead Tibet as a spiritual home, Canyon Sam made a miracle of a journey. Now in Sky Train she guides the reader on a life-changing adventure back to Tibet after more than twenty years and an epoch of cataclysmic change to produce a miracle of a book.” — Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

“Through the experiences of older Tibetan women, Canyon Sam offers a captivating journey spanning half a century and several countries. Sky Train conveys women’s lessons of community-building, generosity, faith, and determination. It’s a beautiful, moving, riveting book.” — Valerie Matsumoto, UCLA

“A book that is sure to illuminate a Tibet so many of us have been longing to know.” — Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

“This book about the Dharma of connection, of companioning, of compassion, has strengthened my own devotion.” — Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life

“It is Canyon Sam’s love for Tibet—its culture and its people—that makes this book so special. An important work … poignant and inspiring.” — Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

About the author

Canyon Sam is a San Francisco writer, performance artist, and Tibet activist. Her one-woman show The Dissident was critically acclaimed in the Village Voice and the Boston Globe. This is her first book.


  • Contemplates modern Tibetan history from the perspective of women
  • Draws on years of groundbreaking research and is at once memoir, history, and travel narrative
  • Observes changes in Tibet wrought by the controversial new railroad that links Beijing to Lhasa
  • Reveals the unexplored stories of Tibetan women’s resistance, courage, and spiritual resilience through fifty years of Chinese occupation

Book Reviews

  • Video Review by Manote Tripathi (The Nation Multimedia, 23 January 2010)

Related files

Related links


Tibet | India | women's studies | Buddhism | oral history | politics | spiritual faith | cultural identity