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The Royal Ghosts

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  228 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
With emotional precision and narrative subtlety, The Royal Ghosts features characters trying to reconcile their true desires with the forces at work in Nepali society. Against the backdrop of the violent Maoist insurgencies that have claimed thousands of lives, these characters struggle with their duties to their aging parents, an oppressive caste system, and the complexit ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 9th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Jocelyn Kelly
Feb 04, 2008 Jocelyn Kelly rated it really liked it
There are no real ghosts in this collection, but the stories will haunt you. Reading them made me feel like an apparition, invisible eyes watching the characters lives unfold, for good or bad, and not being able to intervene. Every pivotal character in the collection seems to be cursed with a relentless compassion for others, a guilty conscience and a need to help others find their way even if it means losing their own in the process. I’m not sure what all this says about Nepal. I’ve never been ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 11, 2009 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, relationships
Two things intrigued me when I saw this book posted at BookCrossing: the Nepal setting and how much the reader loved the book.

Story one left me regretting my decision to join the ring for this book. What? I thought. But then I got into the way the author writes and I liked it. Each story felt like the author had written an entire novel about the characters and then randomly deleted the first fifty and the last hundred and fifty pages.

Abrupt starts and stops. Unfinished narratives. Events, conve
Feb 15, 2015 Joe rated it it was ok
These stories are well written and the book is easy to read, but fairly depressing. Although the stories are about different people in different situations, it seems that they are all the same depressing story because of the personality deficiencies in the main characters of each story.
Satyam Twanabasu
Jul 26, 2015 Satyam Twanabasu rated it it was amazing
I read this book right after it was released as Samrat is among my favorite writers. It contains many short stories that depicts the then Nepal which was affected by the maoist revolution. The characters, events and places mentioned in this book are very real and very honest. If the devil is in the details, Samrat is the master of the devil. He has left no stone unturned for deep character and story development. At the end of every story, I spend some time to think what would have happened to ea ...more
Dolly Ou
Jan 02, 2008 Dolly Ou rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
I enjoyed reading this book. It consists of many short stories about personal lives and daily situations that any ordinary person would experience. The stories all take place in the middle East, some in Pakistan and India. They seem like ordinary life stories but when I finished the book and read the blurb in the back, I realized the stories concentrated on the Nepali society and how people lived and suffered under this political crisis with the Maoists and cultural transformation.
Samrat Upadh
Eric Mongold
Feb 25, 2015 Eric Mongold rated it liked it
Not bad. Every story in the book in some way or another links back to the Maobadi upheaval in Nepal and are set in Kathmandu. I probably would have rated it higher if I had not read other excellent books dealing with the political and religious troubles in the India, Pakistan, Nepal region. A Fine Balance is still the best of these, if you're wondering.
Mary Vermillion
Nov 04, 2012 Mary Vermillion rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 18, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A page turner. This is a collection of short stories by Smart Upadhaya in Nepalese setting. One of my favorite stories was "Father & Daughter". A light read. At times it makes you wonder if you can be as observant as the writer is.
Oct 12, 2016 Teo rated it liked it
The writing may be a little clumsy at times, but it does capture some interesting and important aspects of Nepali society -the social implications of the caste system, the influence of religion, gender inequality and the perceived role of women in family and society, persisting stigmas...
I enjoyed this book of short stories set in Nepal. The stories provided nice little glimpses into daily Nepali life and culture. I felt like I learned a lot about changing times, relationships, and gender roles in Nepal. I especially enjoyed it since I am working with so many refugees who are ethnically Nepali and have been living in Nepal for many years. I felt like these stories helped me to better understand their culture. The stories were all beautifully written and captivating. The combinat ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
This book speaks to the fact that we all have choices to make in our lives, and sometimes the decision-making process seems so unique when really it's much more universal than we imagined. Sometimes the decisions we ultimately make will haunt us forever. I was interested in each story yet uneasy reading about such intensely personal moments because they are not easy circumstances to see oneself in or to know how to react within. The Nepalese aspect presented itself in the societal customs permea ...more
Mar 04, 2010 Katherine rated it liked it
Recommends it for: short stories fans
Shelves: south-asia-reads
It was great to read a book of collected short stories - I don't read as much of those as I would love to... but every time I do it's a pleasure to read. Interesting to read short stories based in Nepal - sounded familiar to short stories that I've read based in India. Stories were quite different from each other and all of them grabbed my attention. I'm waiting to have my book club discussion with my colleagues to see what they got out of it. The central theme was struggle and lack of freedom I ...more
Dec 05, 2008 Katie rated it liked it
Recommended to Katie by: Becky
Shelves: asia, male-author
I enjoyed reading these stories. Some of the stories I would definitely give 4 stars to. i kept trying to related these stories to my experience in nepal, but it was difficult. everything in nepal always seemed so chaotic to me, but i guess that had a lot to do with language barriers and cultural differences. it was interesting to read these stories and get a different perspective on nepali culture.
Dec 05, 2008 heidi rated it it was ok
i don't know...maybe samrat upadhyay just isn't my style. i'll try again, though. this book was an easy read, several short stories. it was just too easy to read, i think. it felt unconvincing, except for the final story, probably because it mostly centered around the royal massacre--an actual event. still, the stories do cast some light on the traditions of Nepal.
Sep 01, 2014 Ava rated it it was ok
I didn't feel so drawn to petty every day dramas that this book is about. It seems to me that because I'm reading Genghis Khan, the little problems were too little and the stories too short to capture my mind and make me feel connected to those stories.
Aug 21, 2015 Dani rated it really liked it
A enjoyable book of short stories centered in Nepal. Characters were interesting and many of the stories surrounded how the people there were coming to terms with long standing customs that are in direct conflict with societal changes. Stories were of perfect length to finish at on sitting. Would definitely read Samrat Upadhyay again.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
When I picked up The Royal Ghosts I thought it was a novel and not a collection of short stories. It was probably mentioned in the book description but I guess I didn't pay enough attention. I've never liked short stories and even though I did enjoy Samrat Upadhyay's writing style, this book just wasn't for me.
Jul 09, 2012 Greta rated it liked it
Not a terribly haunting collection of short stories about the people of Nepal, but sometimes reality isn't all that interesting. I am thankful I am not a woman born in a village or city of Nepal. Life is hard enough without having no freedom, respect or rights.
Alessandra Simmons
Jun 09, 2010 Alessandra Simmons rated it it was amazing
Read it. A collection beautiful short stories that all take place in Nepal. Really made me appreciate the genre of short stories as well as gave a feel for Nepal. Stories are told from all sorts of perspectives. A great read.
Dec 14, 2008 Jocelyn is currently reading it
Upadhyay is the first Nepali-born writer to be published in English, and he is a terrific writer. He sheds light on day-to-day life in Nepal for people who exist under sometimes terrifying conditions.
Dec 13, 2007 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: recently-read
I really enjoyed these stories, set in Nepal. Lots of good character development, numerous poignant moments. I hope to read more by Samrat Upadhyay.
Oct 24, 2012 Emi rated it liked it
I bought this book out of curiosity when I took Upadhyay's class at IU - glad I finally got around to reading it!
Jul 16, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
I thought the stories got better as the book progressed. Some deep issues of family and love.
May 04, 2008 Cherie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A More stories about Nepal; often marriage and love problems against the Maoist insurgency.
Nov 27, 2012 Joan rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, a lovely collection for those missing Nepal or familiar with India.
Jun 16, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
An interesting collection of Nepali short stories.
Dec 06, 2012 Abhinav rated it liked it
Much better than Arresting God in Kathmandu".
Aug 03, 2011 Biz rated it liked it
Definitely thought provoking
Rhythm Rohit
Rhythm Rohit rated it did not like it
Oct 19, 2016
Denjing Tamang
Denjing Tamang marked it as to-read
Oct 12, 2016
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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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