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.