Wedged deep in the Himalaya between India and China, the secretive kingdom of Bhutan guards its independence while around it, Sikkim and Tibet have been swallowed by the giants and Nepal is rife with unrest. Bhutan markets itself as the last Shangri-La, but a closer look reveals the turbulence that accompanies its efforts to join the Western world.
Murray Gunn and his French wife came to love and better understand Bhutan while living there for two years — but risked their marriage in the process. A travel memoir of discovery and change.
“Blending adventure, memoirs and travel-writing, the author leads on a meaningful journey of discovery. Will Gunn find a shred of happiness in Bhutan? Will his marriage survive? Will anyone die along the entirely-too-narrow mountain roads? ... Like The Heart of the Buddha two years ago, Dragon Bones helps to make Bhutan better known to English readers. In the process, the place loses none of its allure.“ — Cairns Media Magazine
About the author
Murray Gunn grew up with a stream of international visitors passing through his house with an international homestay organisation. This engendered an interest in languages and cultures and for understanding why people of different cultures act the way they do. He first lived overseas in 1990 at the age of 18 when he participated in a student exchange program. The experience of living with a Japanese family and attending a Japanese school increased his passion for culture.
After completing a Bachelor degree in Engineering, Murray joined an international company and was transferred back to Japan, then on to Belgium. During this time he developed an interest in writing and his emails relating cultural experiences were passed beyond his circle. He began blogging his experiences when he moved to Bhutan and these entries became the basis for Dragon Bones. Four articles, three of them extracts from Dragon Bones, have been published in Tashi Delek, the in-flight magazine for Druk Air, the Royal Bhutanese airline.
Since returning to Australia, Murray has become reinvolved in AFS, the largest student exchange organisation in the world and the only one to be recognised by the United Nations. He has held the position of State Chair of the NSW Committee for AFS and regularly participates in camps for exchange students. He is also an active member of the Australia Bhutan Friendship Association. In 2009, Murray began a Masters of Applied Anthropology to further his skills in researching cultures. Although he has no professional or academic background in anthropology, he was accepted into the course on the strength of his writing and depth of understanding as evidenced in Dragon Bones.
One People, Many Cultures