Archive for the ‘Urban fiction’ Category

The Royal Enigma

October 2, 2014

Nepal is an enigma to outsiders but a new novel opens a stunning window into the country and its society.

It is a story of the life of Nawin spanning many decades, with him shifting between Nepal and India often; and jobs, in search of a stability. Because the life around him he discovers to be exploitative and violent. The wide spread corruption and political violence was particularly unsettling.

He withdraws almost from it, unable to fit in. To find a solace in very occasional meeting with one of his colourful friends. Nawin violently spits out his venomous feelings to Dilip, his journalist friend, who is finally making a living out of his profession, whenever they meet. Dilip has grown wiser than Nawin, in his middle age, to make the best of the things as they exist. Nawin feels betrayed by Dilip.

It brings the conflict between them, which was not there earlier. Nawin almost abuses Dilip with his talks, whenever they meet, more recently. But it does not make him feel any good later.

Among all this Nawin also feels remorseful, for his inability to look after his very old step-mother and her son with mental invalidity. His second way of finding a solace, apart from abusing Dilip, is in visiting his step mother and her son once in a while. For the emotional pressure of living with them once again makes him run away to his banal life in the city.

This shifting of place or life between different people has defined Nawin’s world. Every time things look more complicated than before, whenever he returns to them. There is nothing much else of importance than his own circumstances for him. It is a solace that the world around too is in no lesser turmoil. The Maoist war and political assassinations do not perturb Nawin. He knows it is a logical outcome of the things as they are. They could have been different but they are not.

The Nepalese life is described authentically both in urban and rural parts. Particularly when the Maoist war was engulfing it, in the aftermath of the royal massacre. This novel is an interesting native voice.