The Guru of Love
By Samrat Upadhyay
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618247271, 304pp.
Publication Date: January 2003
List Price: $23.00*
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Writing of Samrat Upadhyay’s 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). 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.
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 Upadhyay’s emerging status as one of our most exciting new writers.
"There is an international fraternity of artists of the middle-class. What animates these artists' moral vision is above all compassion. The universality of this class and those themes is demonstrated in Samrat Upadhyay's first novel, The Guru of Love".
The New York Times Book Review
"The Guru of Love effectively weaves together the complicated dichotmies of man and mistress, love and lust, tradition and modernity..." USA Today
"Reads like a graceful, page-turning mixture of stirring romance and social commentary." -Entertainment Weekly Entertainment Weekly
"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 Elle