A travelogue of Nepal is by its very nature an intriguing piece because Nepal is such an exotic locale with such a wealth of material to write about--its scenery, wildlife, people, and customs. But Barbara Scot's account of her Nepalese adventure shines above the ordinary travel yarn. She has a flair for description, understands the language, and shows a genuine respect for Nepalese culture that infuses every scene and anecdote. More than just a travel-jaunt memoir, The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes
is a feminist's view of the women of Nepal. Whether trekking in the Himalayas or exploring Katmandu, Scot watches and contemplates the Nepalese treatment of little girls, mothers, and old women, and her observations offer both a perceptive work of cultural anthropology and a riveting travel tale. Her prose features lurching buses jam-packed with humanity; morning fog lifting from terraced fields; the stale-sweet smell of too many bodies; naked, shivering children gathered at the village tap, lathered and scrubbed by industrious elders; and women bent to the task of scouring black soot from pots with handfuls of sandy mud. Scot's eye is attuned to the smallest details. She thoughtfully ponders the large questions, and she wields her pen with finesse, creating a travel book that transcends the genre with a rare sensitivity and skill. --Stephanie Gold
From Publishers Weekly
A sudden mid-life crisis in 1990 prompted high school social studies teacher Scot to leave Portland, Ore., for a stint teaching English in Nepal. The brief entries in this diary interweave her experience of Nepalese society, including the inferior status of Nepali women, with memories of what she describes as "a male-dominated childhood with no men," her father having left home when she was an infant. Although occasionally the analogies Scot draws are forced or disjointed, a sincere and generous tone strengthens the writing, and sometimes her observations are uncommonly just, as when she notes how her difficulties with the Nepali language have brought greater understanding of her son's struggle with dyslexia. Stories of culture shock are less revealing, such as the stilted dinner party at which Scot's roommate served spaghetti for their native neighbors. The most amusing anecdotes come out of Scot's attempts to assist a Nepali man in studying for the standardized Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which involves listening comprehension of passages on topics like ordering the house dressing in a restaurant and the uses of Muzak. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.