Quan Barry on her new novel, 'When I'm Gone, Look For Me in the East'

A book cover and photo of a person
Quan Barry is a poet, playwright, novelist and English professor. Her latest book is “When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East.”
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Twins Mun and Chuluun are 23 years old when Quan Barry’s new novel opens, but in almost every other way, their lives are the opposite. Chuluun lives and studies at a Buddhist monastery in the countryside of Mongolia. Mun wears Western clothes and lives in the capital city, where he enjoys technology, tattoos and women.

But the brothers share a constant connection — a sort of mental telepathy that means they share thoughts with the other in a running stream. And each twin wants the other out of his head.

They come together when they are tasked with traveling the country to find a tulku, the reincarnation of a great spiritual leader. So they set off on a road trip, a quest that will take them to vistas both inner and outer, on a journey to find the elusive real.

Barry was inspired to write the book after her own travels to Mongolia, she tells MPR News host Kerri Miller on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas. Listen to the conversation for more about this road novel with a supernatural twist.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or RSS.

Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations. 

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.