3 Nepali Novels for Beginners
Nepali literature has served us for centuries. From the poems and short stories of twentieth-century Nepal to the modern novels and writings of the present day, Nepali literature has seen it all and experienced big changes. Similarly, the trend of reading books is just as old. Only the ways have changed today.
Amidst the best-sellers of the world, our own unique and marvellous writings often get lost. Young readers today do not focus on reading Nepali literature as much as any other. Part of the problem is the upbringing and the avoidance of the Nepali language in schools. Part is the complexity of the Nepali language and the lack of resources that simplify it. It is pretty hard to read and write pure Nepali. If you read a book and can’t get past the third page without words like Sthirchitta and Bhratrihatya, you lose the motivation to continue. But that’s the thing. We must continue despite hard words and complex grammar. There are so many meaningful books with excellent word-play, plot and direction.
If you are a beginner and want to get into reading Nepali literature, here are three books to get you in. These books are easy to read, not bulky and have great plots and lessons.
- Summer Love – Subin Bhattarai
Probably the cult classic of modern Nepali literature. If you have read 100 Nepali books, it is one of them, if you have read only one Nepali book, this is it. And if you haven’t yet, this is your sign to read it. This bestseller was Subin Bhattarai’s second book and first novel.
Summer love is an unusual love story of a Newari girl Saya and a Brahmin boy Atit, college students at the Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES) at Tribhuvan University. Atit, who ranked the lowest on the entrance list, falls in love with Saya, the topper. He is intrigued by her and as his quest to find more about her succeeds, they both begin a secret intimate relationship. But as their college life ends, Atit has to go to Dhangadhi and Saya to Norway. As time passes, Atit starts to look for Saya and goes to Norway. There he meets a friend of his and this book is Atit telling him the story as it happened.
The name “Summer Love” signifies the content of the whole love story; short-lived but impactful. The whole book is from Atit’s perspective, which makes it easy to read. And the plot is relatable to young and young-adult Nepali people, so it is hard to put down.
- Jeevan Kaada Ki Phool – Jhamak Kumari Ghimire
Next up on the list, is the Nepali best seller of all time. Jeevan Kada Ki Phool is Jhamak Ghimire’s autobiography/memoir as a differently able person who can neither move her limbs nor speak. She was awarded the Madan Puraskar – the most popular award given to a writer for his or her contribution to Nepalese Literature.
Often cited as the Helen Keller of Nepal, Jhamak Ghimire was born on 1 January 1980 in Dhankuta, Nepal with cerebral palsy. This is a permanent disorder which weakens bodily functions and senses. As a result, she cannot move her limbs or talk. Because of this, she was treated horribly by villagers, relatives and even her own family. She spent her childhood playing in mud and dirt, abandoned by her parents, who thought it better that she died. She wasn’t sent to school, so she taught herself how to read and write. She learned words by listening to other people speak and writing by observing her father help her sister with school work. She would scribble on the ground with a stick or coal using her left foot. In 15 years of writing and practising, she has written several articles and even sent some to local newspapers. She alone produced 11 books in those 15 years.
The book describes how society turned on her, judged her and how neglected she felt all her life. She includes some disturbing events that will pain you and then motivate you. There are so many things to be grateful more; being able to move, speak and communicate are incredible gifts that we should cherish. This book will teach you that.
- Karnali Blues – Buddhi Sagar
Karnali Blues is the story of the struggles of a lower-middle-class father in the Far Western region of Nepal from the eyes of his son. The novel begins with the birth of Brisha Bahadur, the narrator of the novel. The book is divided into eleven parts, each section being one day. During those eleven days, Brisha Bahadur visits his sick father and is taking care of him. The novel is part present and part flashback. He reminisces about the past with his father and how his perception of him changes throughout time.
There is no bigger plot here, really. The narrator shares his experience his growing up in the Karnali region. A child in absolute awe of his father. In the present-day narrative, the father lies paralyzed in a hospital. The writing is simple and poetic, heavy with imagery, wit and humour. If you want to understand the struggles of an average poor father, this book does an exceptional job at that. How hard it is to build a family and establish a good life. How far parents are willing to go for their children. And how we begin to appreciate them for it when it might be a little too late.
Get these books from Books Mandala.