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The Guru of Love: A Novel Paperback – February 5, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This novel is notable not for the boring love triangle but for its descriptions of Kathmandu and the many Hindu holidays and festivals that the family celebrates. The reader is transported to a city where an extramarital seduction in a temple means having monkeys wander in on the scene to watch Ramchandra and Malati consumate their desire for one another. There are also a number of descriptions of Hindu religious practices which include animal sacrifices, prayers to goddesses, and funeral services. Most interesting are the descriptions of modern Kathmandu as Ramchandra tries to adjust to his life in an overcrowded city that is on the brink of a political revolution.
You won't walk away from this novel having learned ancient Nepali love techniques like the title implies, but you will have been transported to another culture and it may leave you feeling so intrigued you find yourself planning a vacation to this region of the world. Overall, this is a very quick read and I believe that many people will enjoy this novel if they look deeper than the basic plotline.
While this is certainly familiar literary terrain, Samrat Upadahyay's debut novel is distinctive for its Kathmandu setting, social milieu, and religious elements. Featuring prose that is emotionally reserved and stylistically brusque, the book excels at portraying a middle-class protagonist, including his guilt whenever he spends money on frivolous luxuries, his remorse when he cheats on his wife, and the drudgery of his workaday world.
The same can't be said for the rest of the characters, who sometimes border on cardboard cutouts. There are the nasty in-laws, who regard Ramchandra as an inferior match for their daughter. There is his mistress, Maliti, whose motives are shallow and whose passions seem capricious. And there is Ramchandra's wife, Goma, a compassionate, suffering saint who overcomes her initial anger over the affair and resorts to a surprising solution to accommodate her husband's mistress.
Although Goma is certainly likeable (what saint isn't?), the author presents absolutely nothing in Goma's character or background that would make this aspect of the story even remotely believable. Much of this subplot struck me as fanciful, because its representation resembled a midlife fantasy instead of a midlife crisis. True--married men everywhere have affairs and their wives accept them back, but how many wives are so bizarrely tolerant of their husband's transgressions?
The novel is also strewn with passages relating the social and political upheaval in Nepal.Read more ›
The protagonist Mr. Ramchandra, his family, social and financial situation is all familiar to readers who have lived in South Asia. His picturization of those aspects is really very commendable. All the characters look very human except his wife - Goma. The rationale behind her peculiar action of accepting husband's mistress in her own house has not been explained well. Under the guise of identity crisis so many peculiar things seem to happen that the reader gets confused. Depiction of Sanu's growth and Mr. Sharma's inevitable downfall are very convincing, so is Bandana Miss. To me, Mr. Sharma looks more human than protagonist Ramachandra.
On the inside page I read something like there is a 'rich sense of connection between spirituality and sensuality.' I disagree. There is absolutely no depiction of spirituality in the novel. What is described is religious rituals in which animals are sacrificed which can hardly be called spirituality. I could not find a single paragraph showing Ramachandra was in a tug of war between spiritual conscience and pull of sensuality. Malati's shifty character does not provoke sympathy in spite of her suffering so much in life - which I take is a drawback of the plot. It also is not clear why Ramachandra continued to get attracted to her.
In spite of some drawbacks I can highly recommend this novel, which is a page turner. It makes a very interesting read. Mr. Upadhyay does seem to have a mastery over words.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a nuanced novel that captures the complexity of adult lives (from parenting to politics) with complex Kathmandu as context. Goma turns out to be the guru of love, I'd say. Read morePublished on August 6, 2013 by J. Brandenberger
The Guru of Love chronicles an affair between a math teacher, Ramchandra, and one of the students, Malati he tutors. But it does much more. Read morePublished on June 11, 2013 by U. Katawal
I really enjoyed this. The premise is intriguing: rather than break up the family, a Nepalese man's wife invites his mistress to come and stay in their apartment. Read morePublished on August 26, 2012 by Meaghan
I think the real "guru" of love is Goma (wife of the main actor), not Ramchandra (the main actor) as suggested by his daughter in the story. Read morePublished on July 25, 2007 by Stephanie CHEUNG
I love this book. The author gives us a very intimate look at an old story. Set in Nepal, we realize that all people are the same no matter where they live or what their... Read morePublished on May 19, 2007 by Tell Me A Story
Reading this book after Kite Runner was sure easy. There are no tragic deaths or complicated plots.
This book focuses on the life of a math teacher in Kathmandu. Read more
If Truman Capote's classic novel Breakfast at Tiffany's is a glittering crystal palace furnished with ornate, regal, gilded Victorian furniture and bright oriental carpets, Samrat... Read morePublished on September 11, 2004 by Yesh Prabhu, author of The Beech Tree
I had heard some big comments about this book. I think thats because readers were expecting to read more interesting novel by The Auther. Read morePublished on March 13, 2004 by Krishna Bhurtel
I read a lot of South Asian literature and this book just does not stand out. It was a quick enough read and the character development was good. Read morePublished on November 3, 2003 by DNA