“My choice of literature has never been constant. At every stage of life, I seem to like different kinds of books. Sometimes the books I read even reflect my mood and emotions,” says Subin Bhattarai, author of Summer Love. “But I do have a set of favorite books. I have read them multiple times and recommend everyone I meet to read them as well,” he adds.
This week we caught up with Bhattarai to find out which are the top five books on his bookshelf.
Emphasizing the need to read and promote Nepali literature, he gave us the following list.
Gham Ka Pailaharu by Dhurba Chandra Gautam
In this book, the author gives a detailed description of a town in the Tarai region of Nepal. The name of the town has not been mentioned in the novel but, after reading the book, the reader often gets an idea about the place. This creative book also has an extremely interesting story to share where the author gives a detailed description of lifestyle, cultures, and traditions of that town.
The story takes us back to the time when there was an operating railway line in Nepal. “It is a well written book where you will be able to visualize his writing,” says Bhattarai. “While reading book, you will almost feel like you are watching a movie,” he adds.
Anuradha by Bijaya Malla
This is a powerful book written by Bijaya Malla where he portrays a woman revolting against oppression. He also writes about how years of struggle makes her mentally ill. According to Bhattarai, this book also has a tragic love story where Anuradha’s lover tries to hide their relationship from his family, friends, and relatives because of her mental state.
This wonderfully written novel is filled with psychoanalysis, symbolism and also gives a message of freedom and hope. “It is a unique love story where Anuradha may be a symbol of tragedy and insanity yet her determination and clear vision about life symbolizes hope,” says Bhattarai. “After reading this novel you will be compelled to see everything in life from a different perspective,” he adds.
Radha by Krishna Dharabasi
The author was awarded the prestigious Madan Puraskar for this work. “It can be said that this novel is an adaptation of Mahabharata from Radha’s perspective. The author also tries to show Krishna, who is worshipped in the Hindu religion as a normal human being who went through lots of ups and downs in his life,” says Bhattarai. The character of Radha in this novel is revolutionary and brave unlike the usual representation of Radha in most Hindu scripts.
It can also be said that character of Radha represents the situation of Nepal during the time of its publication, i.e. the Nepalis Civil War. In this book, Dharabasi also emphasizes on the fact that reality exists beyond the physical world and immediate senses.
Sarpa Dansha by Tarini Prasad Koirala
“This is a very unique novel that beautifully depicts child psychology,” says Bhattarai adding that the desires and needs of a child that are described here are often ignored by many. A child character in this book has a habit of putting his hand inside a snake hole despite knowing that it might be dangerous. “There are very few novels that talk about child psychology and Sarpa Dansha does a marvelous job,” says Bhattarai.
“But the tragic ending of this novel is heart wrenching. That is one of the reasons why I love this story,” he says.
Narendra Dai by B.P Koirala
“For me B.P Koirala is one of the finest authors of Nepal,” says Bhattarai. This novel is based on a story of a love triangle between a character Narendra, his wife and his love named Munaria. “It is also interesting to know how B.P Koirala, a preeminent statesman, had a multidimensional personality. This book has love, loathing, jealousy, fear, anger, and pity,” says Bhattarai. The book features Nepalis women as protagonists and the author makes you really understand their experiences and feel their pain through his writing style.
“The story is brilliant in its depictions of compassionate and unconditional love of a woman. It would not be wrong to say that Koirala is the master of Nepali literature,” concludes Bhattarai.