From the list on Kathmandu, Nepal.
Who am I?
Having spent two years living in Kathmandu over a half-dozen visits, I have had the wonderful opportunity to encounter, learn about, and be baffled by the many local cultures that intersect in Nepal’s capital and largest city. With a PhD in Religious Studies and expertise in the Sanskrit language of classical India, I turned to Nepal to examine religious life on the ground. Living in Kathmandu during the second People’s Movement of 2006 – and like everybody else then, under a “shoot to kill” curfew for three weeks – left an indelible mark on me and my scholarship on this magnificent place.
Michael's book list on Kathmandu, Nepal
Why did Michael love this book?
Samrat Upadhyay’s English-language novels and short stories often read like anthropological work on Nepal’s middle class.
The Royal Ghosts fictionalizes the sluggish economy in and urban migration to contemporary Kathmandu, the decade-long civil war that ended along with the collapse of the Hindu monarchy in 2006, and the political tensions that defined Nepal in the first decade of the current millennium. His attention to the previous king’s grasp at power using political propaganda in the form of monumental billboards in 1990 (in “Supreme Pronouncements”) reflects my own interest in similar rhetoric fifteen years later.
I also like the use of the popular religious imagery when in “Chintamani’s Women”, the main character pauses briefly at the picture of the elephant-headed Ganesh on his kitchen wall as he offers a quick prayer for his deceased mother and sick father (RG 130).