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The Guru of Love

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  405 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
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 wh ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 16th 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 734)
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Lizzy Williams
Through page 84: I have learned a lot of interesting facts about Nepal through this book already. One I found really interesting is how obsessed people are with their social standing. If you are upper class you show it, and if you are lower class you do what you can to hide it. The main character, Ramchandra, is conflicted by the affair he is having with one of his students. It is taking a toll on his life and his teaching as well. Everytime he is with his wife he can't stop thinking about Malat ...more
Jun 06, 2008 Milan/zzz rated it liked it
Shelves: asia
he Guru of Love is the first Nepalese novel I have read and it was an interesting experience indeed. It was even more interesting because I was constantly picturing my friend Shanti on the streets and temples of Kathmandu. Namely she sent me this novel straight from the top of the world :)

This was an easy read. Description of local religious customs, arranged marriages, matching between the castes (and consequences if the match fails) … were very interesting. It was a glimpse into another world,
Anup Joshi
Feb 06, 2016 Anup Joshi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samrat Upadhyay has mastered over realism. He portrays Kathmandu and livelihood of people in very beautiful way. I came to read this book after I read all of his published books till 2015. I would love to caress this writer's works more. His words are hypnotizing, the way he develops any plot is mesmerizing.
'The Guru of Love' is the story of a Nepalese woman, Goma who is stubborn but is enduring. She can sacrifice everything for her Husband, her parents, her children and her family. Her husband
Kenzom La
Jan 22, 2016 Kenzom La rated it liked it
Very lucid and short. I received the book as a gift from my genial Nepalese friend in college. Not to mention, the book was my first novel by a Nepalese author in English. I enjoyed the setting of the novel, most of which I am familiar with because I was born and brought up there. Although I have long known the Nepalese culture and their ideals, the novel helped me look it from a different perspective. The way the characters are drawn together by Upadhyay and the timeliness of strings of events ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nora
Upadhyay has constructed an incredibly emotionally complex novel about the love between husband and wife, and the impact changes in this relationship have on the whole family. He is a master of illustrating for the reader the interconnectedness of not just family, but also larger political events as they relate to the individual. Throughout the book he ties in the political struggles of the monarchy vs. democracy in Nepal, bringing to climax of those events simultaneously with the climax of pers ...more
Apr 16, 2010 Meaghan rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. The premise is intriguing: rather than break up the family, a Nepalese man's wife invites his mistress to come and stay in their apartment. All the characters were fully drawn and their actions understandable, and I could feel sympathy for each one. Most impressively, the author is able to seamlessly integrate the culture and conflict of Nepal in the nineties into the story. That's a difficult task and many writers can't manage it and their books wind up sounding more like ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
With very limited knowledge of the customs and cultures of Nepal I was more interested in that side of the book then the story. The story was also pretty interesting with a few weird twist, but a lot of it was pretty predictable. The writing was simple and easy to read. A good book, but not something I would pass on to a friend unless they were interesting in Nepal.
Mar 30, 2008 Paul rated it liked it
A novel about Kathmandu by an IU creative writing prof from Kathmandu. The book cuts across class lines, and takes place before the Cultural Revolution. Gentle. Nuanced. The characters are generally rounded. If one wants to experience this culture, then this is a good entre. Not a life changing read by any means, and there are some moments of lack of motivation.
Fré Van Oers
Nov 23, 2010 Fré Van Oers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fré by: Bibek Luitel
Very readable, but little style, weak storyline, weak story.

One of my impressions on Nepali novel writers is that they don't really know what they want: write a novel or write about the (political) evolutions in their country. (Even if they don't live there anymore as is the case with Samrat Upadhyay)

Jun 16, 2014 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially anyone who's been to Nepal.
The Guru of Love is a moving story of a Kathmandu math teacher, Ramchandra, who is married to Goma; they have two children. He earns a low wage so moonlights as a tutor so he can save enough money to eventually build a house; however, it seems saving money is an impossible challenge in Nepal. His in-laws are quite wealthy, and are always offering to help out Goma and Ramchandra, but Ramchandra is too proud to accept their offers to lend him money. They are always critical of him, so this is a co ...more
Dec 27, 2014 Kristin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place in modern day Kathmandu and is written by a Nepali author, so I figured it would be worth reading. I liked following the characters around the city, but if you've never visited Kathmandu, I don't think this book would give you a good idea of what it's like. The author's description of the setting throughout the book was not very thorough. Though the plot did keep me interested, overall, I thought the characters acted very strangely, and the author did a poor job of developi ...more
Jan 15, 2009 Aley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must if you've been to Nepal - and just a great novel if you have not.
Apr 01, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nepal
Have read other books by this author, one of the few Nepali fiction writers writing in English. Story of an underpaid teacher, married father of two children, who becomes infatuated with a student. The story is rather unbelievable but loved the setting in Katmandu and the general ambiance of the family and relationships between family members. A Nepali friend, in discussing the author and the book, says Upadhyay is writing for the American audience and that none of the story has any real meaning ...more
Jul 28, 2009 Endah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seusai menamatkan novel ini, saya sempat tertegun. Benarkah ada cinta demikian mulia, seperti cinta yang dimiliki Goma, di dunia ini? Cinta yang memaafkan. Cinta dengan segala kebesaran jiwa.

Goma, anak gadis dari Tuan Pandey, seorang kaya raya di Kathmandu, memilih menikahi Ramchandra, lelaki miskin yang bekerja sebagai guru matematika di sebuah sekolah kampung yang (juga) miskin daripada harus menikah dengan seorang dokter pilihan orang tuanya. Ia mengancam tidak akan menikah selamanya jika or
Shashesh Silwal
Jul 02, 2014 Shashesh Silwal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nepali
3.5 Stars

Well it's an average kind of book. You neither end up being effusive about the book or censure the book and have a pan reviews of the book. I was indifferent myself upon finishing the book.

But I must felicitate the author for his attempt, being NRN in USA he has made a good attempt and I admire that.
Aug 22, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is not a particularly original story, yet another story of an older man who has an affair with a younger woman--but thanks to its writing and in part its unusual setting in Nepal, it worked for me. The main character is great, a teacher who can never quite live up to expectations and seems to stumble into the decisions he makes. He tutors a poor girl so she can pass his exams and one thing lead to another; at one point in the novel his wife invites him and this down-on-her luck waif into th ...more
Oct 03, 2014 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, although it was difficult to like the characters. Not because of the mistakes they made, but how they handled those mistakes.
Not quite what i expected from the book synopsis, much better than what i imagined. Reminds me of the saying 'don't let the green grass fool you'. Despite the 'main' character being a man, a man who has an affair, this book has a strange feminist overtone. Goma is a very... strong-willed, capable woman as a result of the affair. Or maybe she always had it in her, and it just needed a catalyst.

A big plus was, this book much like A Fine Balance, was also a bit of a history lesson. Nepali {Nepales
Mar 29, 2015 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had to give this book up 3/4 of the way through, but a strong reminder of why I don't read novels written by men.
May 14, 2015 Ileana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the book because of the way that life in Kathmandu is shown .
I admire the patience and wisdom of Goma, to confront and overcome her husband's affair with a student.
Mar 13, 2008 Joanna rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008-read
The text is deceptively simple. So much so that I almost stopped reading after the first 50 pages or so. But then the descriptions grabbed me and I became immersed in the foreign setting and characters. The book traces the story of a marriage tested by the husband's infidelity. Though the specific reactions of the characters did not fit my own expectations for what people would do in the same situation, the emotional power was real.
Jul 16, 2014 Robbin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny, warm tale about a husband/father who spends the rest of his life making amends for a terrible "mistake."
Jun 02, 2014 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is not very good, but I'm learning a lot about Nepal, I think?
Aug 05, 2008 Sopnia rated it really liked it
I would definitely recommend this. I really liked all the imagery of Nepal and this was a fast-paced read! (Boy did I feel sorry for Goma, though).I've heard some beautiful Nepali lullabies and love songs and these were running through my head as I read the book.
Apr 24, 2012 Yak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man in Kathmandu is torn between his wife and kids, and a student he's tutoring -- so his wife insists the girl, Malati. comes to live with them. Pretty good story, pretty good evocation of life in modern Nepal, but doesn't have the sweep of Mistry,
Dec 27, 2008 Becky rated it liked it
This book was just okay. It was just an interesting story of a love triangle. If it weren't for the fact that it was set it Nepal amidst political struggle, I don't know how interested I would have been. But it was still good and a quick read.
Aug 02, 2012 Phyllis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because of the detailed description of life in modern Nepal. The character development of the protagonists was quite complete. An umusual handling of a common problem in human nature made this an interesting and quick read.
Mrsdanielle Todd-castagnola
This book was mediocre at best. It could have been better if the main character was more endearing and the plot more substantial. Sadly, I was bored while reading this book and couldn't wait for it to end.
The author deals with a complex web of emotions, and does justice to the plot. This is not a regular love-triangle, the poverty-ridden characters and the Kathmandu backdrop sets this novel apart.
Feb 23, 2012 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable read. The characters are well-developed and I found myself relating to them. The plot was not what I expected. It's not entirely believable, but interesting twists.
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SAMRAT UPADHYAY is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, which earned him a Whiting Award, and The Guru of Love, which was a New York Times Notable Book, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year, a finalist for the Kiriyama Prize, and a Book Sense 76 pick. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and teaches creative writing and literature at Indiana University. His eight-year-old daughter Sha ...more
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