Thursday, December 12, 2013

Prajwal Parajuly's "The Gurkha's Daughter"

Prajwal Parajuly's debut book "The Gurkha's Daughter", a collection of eight stories about characters with Nepali setting and culture, failed to impress me in both content and form. I was very surprised with my aloofness while reading the book because I couldn't at all connect to the characters in most of the stories even if I share similar culture to theirs.  I somehow enjoyed reading "No Land Is Her Land" and "The Immigrants" as they flow along nicely and the characters are warm people that I cared while reading. It dawned on me later that most of the characters are cold and brooding and that is the reason I disliked them. The most disgusting was the spit-drinking competition between two girls in "The Gurkha's Daughter", a hell of an act making no sense at all. I found the language employed in the narration to be bland and lacking aesthetics. There are mistakes in the usage of Nepali terms (I can't remember the specifics now). However, to cut the slack for a debut book, I found it commendable that the diasporic characters have affinity to the root culture. The dynamics of religion (those Christian missionaries sparring with one Hindu character in a story), culture and upbringing (struggle of the generations for traditional and modern values) have been presented in a pleasing manner. 

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