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In the Land of No Right Angles Paperback – August 12, 2008

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. It starts with a standard conceit: What I saw on my semester abroad. Alex Larson, a wholesome-bordering-on-nerdy Des Moines girl, interested in photography and what lies beyond her upstate New York college, spends a year in Nepal. While she's on a trekking trip, as a favor to Will, a charismatic American expat 13 years her senior, Alex contacts his friend Maya. The two young women meet, and under the cover of night Alex delivers Maya from traditional village life to the relative metropolis of Kathmandu, and Will's bachelor pad. The triumvirate bond over elaborate meals, pilgrimages and drugs; just before the house of postcards begins to topple, Alex reluctantly returns to college. She comes back four years later to find Nepal changed, and Maya has fallen in with a questionable crowd, disappearing for days at a time. On Falkland Road, Bombay's red-light district, Alex, armed with a camera and her wits, must confront the seedy underbelly of her fantasyland to find her friend. Equal parts coming-of-age quest and travelogue, this debut novel dazzles most with its deft descriptions, which transform an unimaginably foreign land into terra cognita. (Aug.)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—While spending a year in Nepal, Alex, an American college student, meets Maya, who is from the hill country. She helps Maya leave her home and begin a new life in Kathmandu, and both young women feel that there is something strong that binds them together. Alex makes two more trips to Nepal over the next eight years. She learns that Maya has gone to Bombay, where she has entered the sex trade, and Alex follows her there, hoping that their bond will allow her to find Maya and somehow help her. This is a story about a relationship that cuts across cultures, but also about a culture that severs relationships. With complex and intriguing characters and beautifully drawn settings, this compelling novel has much to offer American teen girls ready to look at the larger world.—Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307388069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307388063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,547,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Johnson on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I found none of the characters in this book to be developed into anything beyond trite cliches. This leads to a second major problem - the ridiculous and unrealistic "relationships" among the characters. We're asked to believe that deep bonds exist between the narrator and Maya, Will, Nick, and Nepal. None are even remotely convincing. Love the setting, but this reads like a puffed-up undergraduate short story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Etana on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the Land of No Right Angles is the story of three friends, two Americans and one Nepali girl named Maya, who meet one summer and are never really able to let go of one-another. The story takes place primarily in Nepal during the narrator's three visits to the country, wherein she is witness to the numerous downturns in Maya's life. As a setting, Nepal is spectacularly described, and is the most fleshed out character in the whole novel. Beal's description of both the beauty and the disgusting of the area makes the place stand out against the boring descriptions of the two other settings - Bombay and New York City. The geography of Nepal is portrayed as a spiritual existence, and can make even the least adventurous of us want to run away and find ourselves there. And this is exactly what Beal's main character, Alex, is trying to do. She is trying to find herself there, in the way that many college students hope to when participating in study abroad programs. This is by far Beal's best attribute in the novel - her ability to describe a place and have it work as a character while heightening the motivations for her own narrators.

However, Beal's weakness arrives when the reader notices that the only descriptive part of this book is of Nepal. The characters function as white blobs on a lush background. It is not until the third act that we even realize what color hair the narrator has...not that this is the most important of descriptions, but it is an example of how little we know about these people. More often then not, the characters do not appear to change physically or mentally from the first day we meet them - which is quite startling when considering that this book takes place over eight years of time.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Lindemann on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Though she starts off strong with beautiful descriptions, Beal's character-driven travelogue peters about in the first hundred pages. The reader is left turning page after page hoping that something of interest will happen--and while much is hinted at, and promised, while revelations seem constantly to be just another few paragraphs away, nothing is ever delivered. Every time you suspect a soul-baring conversation is about to take place, one of the three ultimately unlikable characters shrugs and says "I'll tell you later."

No, no they won't.
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