Author: Manjushree Thapa
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 classmateâ€™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 â€˜Tilled Earthâ€™ a young woman goes to Seattle as a student, and finds herself becoming an illegal alien. â€˜Love Marriageâ€™ is an inner narration by a young man whoâ€”defying family pressureâ€”falls in love with a woman of the wrong caste. In â€˜The Buddha in the Earth-Touching Postureâ€™, a retired secretary visits the Buddhaâ€™s birthplace, Lumbini, only to find his deepest insecurities exposed. With their unexpected, inventive forms, these stories reveal the authorâ€™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.