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The Guru of Loveby Samrat Upadhyay
Synopses & Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, The Guru of Love is the engrossing story of a fevered love triangle set in contemporary Nepal. Ramchandra, a quiet math teacher, reluctantly enters into an adulterous relationship, and soon his double lives disastrously converge. When Goma, his wife by arranged marriage, learns of his affair, she demands that his mistress move into their small quarters. Unable to dissuade her, Ramchandra finds his desires and fears living side by side. Goma proves to be far shrewder than she seems, entering into a surprising alliance with his mistress. And Ramchandra finds himself trapped — both in his house and in his city, Kathmandu, a crowded place where secrets are impossible to keep and family matters dictate. Ultimately, his only escape is to let go of someone he loves. Absorbing, sexy, and psychologically acute, The Guru of Love radiates compassion and rare insight.
"A triumph, a ravishingly seductive novel....Upadhyay keeps things simple and...subtle, illuminating the shadow corners of his characters' psyches, as well as the complex social and political realities of life in Nepal, with equal grace." Elle
"Upadhyay's debut novel...is stunning in its simplicity and emotional resonance. The language captivates the reader with its singular, intimate weave of English and Nepali. One experiences this book as Ramchandra experiences his life: not at a reflective distance but swept away by it." Publishers Weekly
"[An] utterly absorbing first novel....Upadhyay's lucent and tender storytelling gently unveils the strange interplay between self and family, the private and the political, and most mysteriously, the erotic and the spiritual." Donna Seaman, Booklist
"[Upadhyay] excels at depicting the thousand small cuts that afflict a middle-class married man having an affair....At points the novel is excessively terse; when three words would have sufficed, Upadhyay uses two. In spite of that it is gripping, because you like the characters so much, and wish them well." Suketu Mehta, The New York Times Book Review
Workaday first novel from Nepalese-American Upadhyay, about a harried schoolteacher and a single mother who fall into a doomed love affair....Obvious and rather dull, of interest only for its exotic setting." Kirkus Reviews
Writing of Samrat Upadhyays debut story collection, critics raved: like a Buddhist Chekhov . . . speak[s] to common truths . . . startlingly good” (San Francisco Chronicle) and subtle and spiritually complex” (New York Times). Upadhyays first novel showcases his finest writing and his signature themes. The Guru of Love is a moving and important story — important for what it illuminates about the human need to love as well as lust, and for the light it shines on the political situation in Nepal and elsewhere.
Ramchandra is a math teacher earning a low wage and living in a small apartment with his wife and two children. Moonlighting as a tutor, he engages in an illicit affair with one of his tutees, Malati, a beautiful, impoverished young woman who is also a new mother. She provides for him what his wife, who comes from a privileged background, does not: desire, mystery, and a simpler life. Complicating matters are various political concerns and a small city bursting with the conflicts of modernization, a static government, and a changing population. Just as the city must contain its growing needs, so must Ramchandra learn to accommodate both tradition and his very modern desires.
Absolutely absorbing yet deceptively simple, this novel cements Upadhyays emerging status as one of our most exciting new writers.
Upadhyay's first novel showcases his finest writing and his signature themes. "The Guru of Love" is a moving and important story--important for what it illuminates about the human need to love as well as lust, and for the light it shines on the political situation in Nepal and elsewhere.
About the Author
Samrat Upadhyay was born and raised in Kathmandu and came to the United States at age twenty-one. His work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Best of the Fiction Workshops, and his first book, a collection of stories entitled Arresting God in Kathmandu, was published by Mariner Books in August 2001 and won a Whiting Award. He now lives with his wife near Cleveland, where he teaches and writes at Baldwin-Wallace College.
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