From Publishers Weekly
Nepali writer Upadhyay's stories (following last year's novel The Guru of Love
) are set in the urban environment of modern-day Katmandu, where people's lives advance, or not, in the shadow of the country's turmoil. The title story takes place in June 2001, on the day Nepali Crown Prince Dipendra murdered his entire family before killing himself; its focus, however, is a rough-around-the-edges taxi driver coming to terms with his brother's homosexuality and his own intense loneliness. In "A Refugee," Pitamber offers to take Kabita and her daughter into his home and family after Maoist rebels killed her husband; his kindness backfires when he generous act alienates him from his son, wife and even another family he was trying to help. Other stories further illuminate the domestic side of Nepali life: in "The Wedding Hero," a wealthy bachelor decides to spend his money hosting a large wedding for two poor servants; his well-intentioned meddling doesn't lead to a happy ending for anyone, including the lower-class couple. Upadhyay's not-so-simple stories are lucid and often luminous. (Feb.)
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Upadhyay, author of a previous stellar short story collection and the novel The Guru of Love
(2003), continues to draw on the cultural lushness of Kathmandu and grapple with Nepal's bloody political turmoil in stories of breathtaking lucidity. A master at depicting strained relationships, Upadhyay is especially adept at revealing how the conflicts of the greater world--in this case, the violence of Maoist rebels--invade the personal realm. A family's equilibrium is threatened when they give shelter to a young widow whose husband was murdered by the rebels. An unstable young man talks about joining the Maobadi after his father leaves his mother for another woman. An activist falls in love, but his arrest and a disastrous demonstration make romance impossible. And in the title story, one brother finally faces the truth about another on the very day Nepal is rocked by the murders of its royal family. Alluringly matter-of-fact, mesmerizingly supple, and tenderly humorous, Upadhyay's stories at once intimately depict today's Kathmandu and embrace the entire human experience. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved