Reviewer Namta Gupta:
Namta is a senior journalist based in New Delhi, India and has been
covering news in all its form for past 5 years. An MA in English and
Human Rights she is an avid reader and loves every piece of fiction
and non-fiction that she can lay her hands on.
Author: Elizabeth Enslin
Publisher: Seal Press
ISBN: 1580055443 (ISBN13: 9781580055444)
‘Babies are like mangoes, when ripe they fall. It is very hard to not chuckle when such dialogues come and delight a reader, and certainly it gives a refreshing twist to an otherwise serious narrative as well. Unfortunately, these are far and few in this book and the narrative being linear does not allow a reader to completely immerse himself in to the life of the writer; there is always a constant disconnect that one feels while reading this work and the woes of the narrator does never make you empathize with her.
Then as the book had promised that it is set against the backdrop of political turmoil, hence some tension is expected to build up but again all we find is a lackluster narration which is, to be honest, a bad thing because Nepal is a country that is extremely vibrant politically and also culturally. Somewhere it seems that the writer did not allow her writing to explore her connection with the country with the zest and she held herself back from indulging in it. The high points of the book remain the ones in which the writer is coming to terms with how a menstruating girl is treated in a conservative society, her coming out and shutting up people speaking about her son and then also breaking down. The incidents like these strike you hard and have been presented with extreme sensitivity but somehow, again, it does not hook one for a longer period. Barring these glitches, the book is a good read and the language used is rich. The characterization of everyone is good except the husband’s who seems interesting only when he explains about ‘tantra.’ I would say that his character is the weakest link of the story. The book has a slow build-up and never glides to the next level. In short, it is best to say that it remains lukewarm at most times while, mildly interesting at others.
The book could probably have been much better if certain paragraphs were removed and the book was made more compact because all these passages do not add to either the drama or the beauty of the text. The book is good for a one time read and would mostly cater to those who do not have much knowledge about the culture of Nepal. However, the book also did not try to capture the beautiful landscape of Nepal, which could have made it more riveting.