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In the Land of No Right Anglesby Daphne Beal
Synopses & Reviews
Alex, a twenty-year-old American student, is spending the year in Nepal, backpacking and photographing. As a favor to Will — her American friend — she uses one of her Himalayan treks to seek out Maya, a young Nepali woman desperate to flee her traditional family to find work in Kathmandu. But helping Maya has unforeseen implications. Soon Alex is embroiled in a strange triangle with Maya and Will, where the lines between friendship, love, and lust grow more tangled every day.
Over the course of the next eight years, Alex returns to Nepal: first to visit and to photograph, then in an attempt to help the troubled Maya. Moving between Kathmandu, New York, and the grim houses of prostitution along Falkland Road in Bombay, Alex begins to understand the pitfalls of trying to be both adventurer and savior in an unfamiliar world.
In the Land of No Right Angles introduces the fiction of Daphne Beal, whose evocations of life in Nepal, and of the universal conflicts inherent to love and friendship, mark the arrival of a stunningly talented, intuitive writer.
"It starts with a standard conceit: 'What I saw on my semester abroad.' Alex Larson, a 'wholesome-bordering-on-nerdy' Des Moines girl, interested in photography and what lies beyond her upstate New York college, spends a year in Nepal. While she's on a trekking trip, as a favor to Will, a charismatic American expat 13 years her senior, Alex contacts his friend Maya. The two young women meet, and under the cover of night Alex delivers Maya from traditional village life to the relative metropolis of Kathmandu, and Will's bachelor pad. The triumvirate bond over elaborate meals, pilgrimages and drugs; just before the house of postcards begins to topple, Alex reluctantly returns to college. She comes back four years later to find Nepal changed, and Maya has fallen in with a questionable crowd, disappearing for days at a time. On Falkland Road, Bombay's red-light district, Alex, armed with a camera and her wits, must confront the seedy underbelly of her fantasyland to find her friend. Equal parts coming-of-age quest and travelogue, this debut novel dazzles most with its deft descriptions, which transform an unimaginably foreign land into terra cognita." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An unpredictable journey of the spirit and the flesh.... [An] enchanting, at times perilous, tale of love, magic, and illusion." Elle
"Beal... won us over. When naive Alex makes a 'karmic connection' with magnetic Maya, there’s nothing pseudo about it.... Would you drop everything — your job, apartment — for a friend? Meditate on that." Lauren Iannotti, Marie Claire
"Instantly suspenseful....Beal's intimate knowledge of Nepal...shines from these pages, making her a frank and humane tour guide into an underworld she makes fully her own." Jennifer Egan
"A meditation on what it means to be a traveler not only of the world, but of one's own ever-changing, inner topography. Beal artfully balances clarity and chaos, and explores how even the thinnest line of human connection... can alter a person for good.... A subtly resonant masterpiece." Heidi Julavits
"Haunting, spare, fascinating.... A sharp, keenly observed meditation on friendship, on desire." Alison Smith
About the Author
Daphne Beal's writing has appeared in Vogue, McSweeney's, Open City, and The London Review of Books. She was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and educated at Brown and New York University, where she was a New York Times fellow. Her work has been anthologized in State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers, and The KGB Reader. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she now lives in New York City with her husband, Sean Wilsey, and their two children.
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