Reading guide for Himalayan Dhaba by Craig Danner

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Himalayan Dhaba

by Craig Danner

Himalayan Dhaba by Craig Danner X
Himalayan Dhaba by Craig Danner
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2002, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2003, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Introduction

Mary, a newly widowed American doctor, travels to a remote hospital high in the Indian Himalayas to work with a colleague of her late husband. She arrives to find this other doctor missing, the hospital abandoned, and herself the only medical provider within a hundred miles.

Caught between shattering loneliness and harrowing self-doubt, she struggles to overcome daunting medical and cultural obstacles in a yearlong odyssey of healing and redemption that connects her with a cast of unexpected characters.

There is Amod, the waiter in the local dhaba, who secretly adores and watches out for the doctor. Phillip is a young and lonely British traveler who lands in the doctor's care before he is kidnapped deep into the snowbound Himalayan interior. Antone is the aging kidnapper whose every plan goes sour. And finally there is Meena--abandoned by her family to serve the abusive men of an isolated road crew--who finds the courage to guide herself and young Phillip to their salvation. As the lives of these characters intersect with her own, Mary learns not only to heal others, but also to heal herself.

Himalayan Dhaba leads the reader through the mountains of India and across the rugged terrain of the human heart on a journey that will long be remembered.


Discussion Questions
  1. Some would suggest it is difficult for male authors to give an authentic voice to female characters. Are the characters of Mary and Meena successfully drawn?
  2. Does gender play an important role in Mary's journey in this novel? How would the story have been different if Mary had been a man? If Phillip had been a woman?

  3. Descent and redemption are major themes of Himalayan Dhaba. How do the main characters' paths differ? What does redemption look like to Mary, Amod, Meena, and Phillip?

  4. At the end of the novel, Phillip stands with his hand out to Mary, announcing his recovery. How do you imagine his long winter with the holy baba has changed Phillip?

  5. Ravens appear throughout the novel. What, if anything, do they symbolize?

  6. What was your impression of the physical setting of Himalayan Dhaba? Do you imagine this is a beautiful or an ugly place? Would you like to visit this area?

  7. Communication--and miscommunication--is another major theme of this novel. How is it that these characters could so dramatically affect each others' lives, even when they could barely communicate with each other verbally?

  8. The author leaves the reader to imagine his or her ending to Antone's story. What do you think happens to him next?

  9. Violence shapes the lives of both Meena and Manu, yet both of them respond to it with more violence. Are their responses justifiable? Did you see alternative solutions for either of them?

  10. Physical hunger is a recurrent theme in this novel. What does food mean to Amod? To Mary? To Meena? What is food to people of the West that it is not to the indigenous people of this novel and vice-versa?

  11. Discuss the ways in which religion and faith are addressed in Himalayan Dhaba. Some characters are motivated by Christianity, others by Hinduism. Are their characters in the novel to whom spirituality seems absent?

  12. Much is devoted in Himalayan Dhaba to birth, but beyond that, little is seen of parents and children interacting with each other. What do we know of Mary's parents from the novel? Do you think their influence, or lack thereof, in the novel played any part in the decision she has made at the novel's end?
Free Book Club Report

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Plume. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Treeborne
    Treeborne
    by Caleb Johnson
    The Treeborne family has lived on The Seven – the local sobriquet for a seven-acre stretch of ...
  • Book Jacket
    Grace
    by Paul Lynch
    Harrowing. Gorgeous. Epic. Grace, Paul Lynch's coming of age novel about a young woman, is set ...
  • Book Jacket: The Perfectionists
    The Perfectionists
    by Simon Winchester
    We seek precision in our lives every day. We want to drive from home to work and work to home safely...
  • Book Jacket: Beauty in the Broken Places
    Beauty in the Broken Places
    by Allison Pataki
    Ernest Hemingway wrote that we are "strong at the broken places," and Allison Pataki found that to ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Tabor
    by Cherise Wolas

    Wolas's gorgeously rendered sophomore novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Clock Dance
    by Anne Tyler

    A delightful novel of one woman's transformative journey, from the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win A Place for Us

A Place For Us

A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H, W H A Problem

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.