When it comes to reading, the Nepali audience is hardly in touch with the gems of books and novels written by native Nepali authors. While all our reading time is consumed by best-selling English novels from around the world, we have yet to open our eyes and minds to the plethora of books and novels written within the nation in our mother language Nepali.
If you are wondering about beginning your journey with Nepali books, listed are a few books or novels that better reflect the perspective of Nepali readers through its connection with our unique culture and tradition.
Karnali Blues by Buddhi Sagar
The debut book of Nepali novelist Buddhi Sagar, Karnali Blues is best known for its ability to leave a long-lasting impact on the readers despite its very simple selection of words and sentences. The story depicts the change in the perspective of a young boy in regards to his father as he passes through the various stages of life. As the young boy matures, he starts to understand the ways of his father who changes from being strict to a loving father. It is the story of the father as seen from the eyes of the young boy. A deeper reflection of father-child relationship, the novel will let the reader see their parents in a new light and for the better.
Lu by Nayan Raj Pandey
The novel named Lu shows the struggles of the people living along the southern plain of Nepal near the Indian border. The fiction has its characters narrate their perspective of the political situation of the terai region which is constantly under the threat of being overruled by the people beyond the border. Although much of the story is fiction and shows a negative view of the situation at the border, much of the book has taken inspiration from real life observation and can make for a very good read for readers interested in political fiction.
Muna Madan by Laxmi Prasad Devkota
Muna Madan has been considered one of the most popular works in the Nepali literature. It is also the most commercially successful book to be published in Nepal. The epic narrates the story of a man who leaves his wife for Lhasa to make money but returns to the death of her, who dies due to the grief of a misunderstanding that the man/ husband had died of illness. The materialistic tendency of the Nepali society and the worthlessness of money in the face of a loved one’s death have been depicted through the story.
Seto Dharti by Amar Neupane
Seto Dharti is a novel that has been recognized with the Madan Puraskar, the biggest literary award in Nepal. The plot depicts the struggles of a child widow named Tara, who was married as well as widowed at an age where she didn’t have the proper understanding of marriage. The story is set in the time of 1850-1950, when child marriage was a common phenomenon. The struggles and boring lifestyle of a child widow due to the rules and traditions of the society have been reflected in the story. It shows the bitter reality of the Nepalese society in that era. Giving us an understanding of how Nepal was and has converted now in regards to child marriage.
Palpasa Café by Narayan Wagle
Another novel on the list with a Madan Puraskar, the novel is set in the era of the Nepalese Civil war. The main character is an artist Drishya who falls in love with Palpasa, a first-generation American Nepali who returns to Nepal after 9/11. The cruelty of the Maoist war and the killings of innocent individuals due to the war have been shown in the novel, reflecting how the death of people close to heart have an effect on the ones left behind for a long time.