A number one bestseller in India and a shortlisted nomination for the Dylan Thomas Prize, The Gurkha's Daughter is a distinctive debut from a rising star in South Asian literature. This collection of stories captures the textures and sounds of the Nepalese diaspora through eight intimate, nuanced portraits, taking us from the hillside city of Darjeeling, India to a tucked away Nepalese restaurant in New York City.
The daily struggles of Parajuly's characters reveal histories of war, colonial occupation, religious division, systemized oppression, and dispossession in the diverse geographical intersection of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and China. In a cruel remark by a wealthy doctor to her tenant shopkeeper, we hear the persistent injustice of the caste system; in the contentious relationship between a wealthy widow and her sister-in-law, we glimpse the restricted lives and submissive social roles of Nepalese women; and in a daughter's relationship with her father, we find a dissonance between modernity and tradition that has echoed through the generations in unexpected ways.
Across different ethnicities, religions, and other social distinctions, the characters in these share a universal yearning, not just for survival but for a better life; one with love, dignity, and community. In The Gurkha's Daughter, Parajuly reveals the small acts of bravery--the sustaining, driving hope--that bind together the human experience.
About the Author
Prajwal Parajuly, the son of an Indian father and a Nepalese mother, divides his time between New York and Oxford, England, but disappears to Gangtok, his hometown in the Indian Himalayas, at every opportunity. Parts of The Gurkha's Daughter were written while he was a writer-in-residence at Truman State University, in Kirksville, Missouri.
Praise for The Gurkha's Daughter…
"Parajuly's debutant collection demands attention for the brilliant clarity of his writing and his mastery of characterization . . . Parajuly's brilliant work here promises that more fine fiction will follow. This title belongs in any library with a short-fiction readership in addition to those that serve a South Asian audience."—Ellen Loughran, Booklist
"[The Gurkha's Daughter] insightfully explores a diverse array of relationships among people in Nepal and throughout the Nepalese diaspora . . . Parajuly's main strength is in recognizing and revealing the connections, as well as divisions, between people in vastly different walks of life."—Publishers Weekly
"Involving"—Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities Times
"Eight beautifully written characters in neat stories that riff on displacement, perhaps but with wit and charm.... photo-real tales of modern movement."—Monocle magazine
"The next big thing in South Asian fiction."—Anna McNamee, BBC World Service's The Strand
"Equally moving stories, the author takes us effortlessly inside the lives of the families in this remote ancient kingdom and its diaspora."—Christena Appleyard, Daily Mail
Praise for Prajwal Parajuly: "A master at capturing, with great wit and humor, the day-to-day interactions between his characters."—Manil Suri
"[Parajuly] is inventive and fresh, and it's great to be reading fiction from and about a country that holds such an intrigue."—Time Out Bejing
Praise for The Gurkha's Daughter: "Crisp, inventive and insightful... What gives Parajuly's characters warmth is an energy born of division or dispossession: a desire to be loved, to be better off, or to be elsewhere."—John Garth, The Guardian
"[An] accomplished debut... Though its recurring themes--the conflict between tradition and modernity; the squirming of the individual under the community's oppressive gaze--may be familiar, Parajuly's wry humour and deft handling of voice point to a distinctive talent."—David Evans, Financial Times
"Hope for a better life is the theme in ... the Indian and UK bestseller about the Nepalese diaspora, war, oppression, and occupation."—The Boston Globe
"I could blame Prajwal Parajuly for the burn I got on the beach in Santa Monica on Independence Day. It was because of him that I sat in the blazing midday sun for hours, oblivious to my scorching extremities, devouring his debut, The Gurkha's Daughter, from start to finish . . . But I won't hold it against him, for the pleasure of these short stories - about the Nepalese diaspora - trumps the peril of having singed my skin. Parajuly has achieved what many writers only dream of doing: Drawing characters in realistic, artful scenarios that encapsulate the beauty and pain and complexity of life. No wonder his book has become a bestseller in the UK. His talent matches the hype. Each story left me longing for more . . . Parajuly has given us a lovely gift, food for thought, and delectable, too."—Lisa Napoli, Aerogram
"Prajwal has a deceptively light touch that's biting but never bitter. To use a cliché from the region it's like perfectly brewed Darjeeling tea - steeped in just enough flavor of his mountains but without being overwhelmed by their majesty."—KALW 91.7
"Each of the eight short stories in this book gives a glimpse into the lives of various Nepali people ... Parajuly exposes the complicated struggles of the Nepali people, such as embracing modern life while still keeping tradition."—Metro
"Parajuly's stories are windows into a world of the Nepalese and Indian caste system and the prejudice and superstition that haunts it."—The Kansas City Star
"(Mr. Parajuly is) making waves in the literary world."— The Atlantic
"Powerful . . . a remarkable collection, cohesive, original, and vividly rendered."—The Irish Examiner
"Nepalese literature is not particularly well represented on the international stage, which makes the interest surrounding young Indian writer Prajwal Parajuly all the more encouraging. His first collection of short stories focuses on Nepal and the Nepalese diaspora. Parajuly has a nice ear for dialogue, is as adept with the notion of home as he is the immigrant experience and has a light touch with some of the horrors of the culture."
"The language is so easy, the conversation so telling, the colours so vivid and the smells so intense it's as if the author has cut through a rich cake to exhibit the many different layers."—The Tribune (UK)
"Parajuly, with his keen eye for social satire, comes across as the witty cousin who can do wicked-funny caricatures of the conservative, unpopular relatives."—India Currents