Xinjiang-based Novel: Excerpt from Patigül’s “One Hundred Year Bloodline”
Da’nanpo was home to Han, Kazakh, Uyghur and Hui families, and we grew up speaking a range of languages. Our mother’s Gansu dialect seemed to come to us mixed in with her breast milk and, from the time we could walk, we eavesdropped on our father chatting in Uyghur with the neighbors. It was one of our favorite pastimes. We learned who had died, whose baby was being named, whose daughter was getting married, which household was slaughtering a sheep to make polo, a Central Asian pilaf traditionally eaten by hand. We followed behind our father whenever he stepped out for süt chay or mutton, like a pack of little dogs trailing behind their leader, hoping for a go at a bone.