Startlingly original and closely observed stories that capture the dynamism and diversity of Nepali society in a time of great flux
In Tilled Earth several compressed, poetic and deeply evocative micro-stories offer fleeting glimpses of small, private dramas of people caught midlife: an elderly woodworker loses his way in a modern Kathmandu neighbourhood; a homesick expatriate nurses a hangover; a clerk at the Ministry of Home Affairs learns to play Solitaire on the computer; a young man is drawn to politics against his better judgement; a child steals her classmate's book . . .
The longer stories in the collection, too, span a wide course, taking subjects from rural and urban Nepal as well as from the Nepali diaspora abroad. In 'Tilled Earth' a young woman goes to Seattle as a student, and finds herself becoming an illegal alien. 'Love Marriage' is an inner narration by a young man who-defying family pressure-falls in love with a woman of the wrong caste. In 'The Buddha in the Earth-Touching Posture', a retired secretary visits the Buddha's birthplace, Lumbini, only to find his deepest insecurities exposed.
With their unexpected, inventive forms, these stories reveal the author's deep love of language and commitment to craft. Manjushree Thapa pushes the styles of her stories to match the distinctiveness of their content, emerging confidently as a skilled innovator and formalist.