Land Where I Flee: Book summary and reviews of Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly

Land Where I Flee

by Prajwal Parajuly

Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2015
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, Prajwal Parajuly has established himself as a distinctive voice in literature about the South Asian diaspora. Now in his debut novel, Land Where I Flee about returning home, Parajuly demonstrates that he is, as Manil Suri noted, "a master capturing, with wit and humor, the day-to-day interactions between his characters."

To commemorate Chitralekha Nepauney's Chaurasi - her landmark eighty-fourth birthday - three of Chitralekha's grandchildren are travelling to Gangtok, Sikkim, to pay their respects. Agastaya is flying in from New York. Although a successful oncologist, he is dreading his family's inquisition into why he is not married, and terrified that the reason for his bachelordom will be discovered.

Joining him are his sisters Manasa and Bhagwati, travelling from London and Colorado respectively. One the Oxford-educated achiever; the other the disgraced eloper - one moneyed but miserable; the other ostracized but optimistic.

All three harbor the same dual objective: to emerge from the celebrations with their formidable grandmother's blessing and their nerves intact: a goal that will become increasingly impossible thanks to a mischievous maid and a fourth, uninvited guest.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Parajuly's deft portrayal of his characters' relationships - both with each other and with their old and new homes - is original and convincing." - The Spectator (UK)

"[Parajuly] writes finely crafted prose in which local expressions and ideas constantly jump and weave." - New Statesman (UK)

"Parajuly focuses on the characters, their relationships, frustrations and longings while skillfully interweaving the narrative strands of this family saga into the history, politics and cultural divides of the Nepalese diaspora." - The Oxford Times (UK)

"Excellent ... spiky humour and deft handling of voice ... Parajuly describes this awkward family get-together with great narrative economy and a keen sense of comic timing. He also manages to work in some sharp commentary on Gangtok society." - The Independent (UK)

"Parajuly does justice to this collection of disparate individuals, as he cross-cuts between points of view, keeping the narrative moving through an artful release of information. He deftly makes them negotiate identities: those from the past, those in the present and those that are emerging." - The Sunday Guardian (India)

"Family reunion is an old writer's recipe but Parajuly successfully provides some fresh zing here. Concocting a pleasantly unsentimental plot peppered with zany characters, he draws a blend of humor and surprising sensitivity." - Asian Review of Books (Hong Kong)

"In clean, precise prose, Mr Parajuly's story unfolds through its finely rendered characters. Tension holds the strands of plot in place, building to a thoroughly satisfying climax. The result is an eminently admirable novel." - The Irish Examiner

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Reader Reviews

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Em

A stunning novel about an awkward family reunion
Land Where I Flee is the kind of book that makes you want to become a writer. The author describes the simplest of things with such clear, brilliant writing that he makes writing look easy…as thought carving gleaming sentences is effortless. There's also this eunuch character who is so well-sketched that I can feel her breathing down my neck as I write this. The other characters are equally well crafted. Read this book. It will blow your mind.

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Prajwal Parajuly, the son of an Indian father and a Nepalese mother, divides his time between New York and Oxford, England, but disappears to Gangtok, his hometown in the Indian Himalayas, at every opportunity. Parts of his first collection of stories, The Gurkha's Daughter, were written while he was a writer-in-residence at Truman State University, in Kirksville, Missouri.

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