The Gurkha’s Daughter
If you’re looking for a period piece about colonial soldiers in the subcontinent, you’ll be disappointed in The Gurkha’s Daughter. But if you want to learn about the Nepalese through contemporary slices of their lives, then this book is an interesting, though sometimes uneven, read.
Prajwal Parajuly's literary debut reveals that some things, such as trying relatives and lost loves, are universal.
Of the eight stories, the last one, The Immigrants, stands out. It's an emotive story of a status-seeking executive and a maid trying to survive in New York.
You must be a fan of the short story genre to appreciate The Gurkha's Daughter, otherwise some of the slices of life may seem thin.
The first story, The Cleft, deliberately leaves us hanging over the fate of Kaali, a harelipped maid in Kathmandu who saves her rupees and plots her escape from a servant's life.
In a recent interview, Parajuly, the son of an Indian father and a Nepalese mother, spoke of the challenge of writing in short form: "Having to resolve stories in a satisfactory ending in six or seven thousand words is far more difficult than writing ninety-five thousand words of a novel where you can go on and on and on in describing a blade of grass for three pages and not think about it."