For some participants and companions it is quite a long journey to the grasslands of Xiwuqi, so why not spend it reading up a bit on the area you are about to visit? As it happens, a Chinese novel written by Jiang Rong is set in the vast grasslands around Xilinhot and what’s more… ‘Wolf Totem’ is the 2007 Man Asia Literary Award winner and available in English, too!
The story is in fact semi-autobiographical and is about a young man who leaves Beijing to work in Inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution. The book gives a vivid description of the often tough life and nomadic culture of the ethnic Mongolians and compares it with the farming-oriented lifestyle of the Han. A key theme is the fascinating relationship between the Mongolian people and the packs of wolves that roam the grasslands.
Since its original Chinese release in 2004, several million copies of ‘Wolf Totem’ have been sold in China.
More information on ‘Wolf Totem’ and the author from Jiangsu Province can be found via these two links.