Clueless in Kathmandu

When the English language was planted in South Asia, who knew it would bloom with such fecundity? From the riots of Salman Rushdie to the florid sagas of Vikram Seth and the humid prose of Arundhati Roy, much of the best subcontinental writing has embraced a hothouse style, the kind of Victorian grandness long forgotten by the English themselves. When the empire wrote back, it was never at a loss for words.

Enter Samrat Upadhyay, Kathmandu-born but U.S.-educated, here to trim the verbal overgrowth. Upadhyay, whose first book was a well-regarded collection of short stories called Arresting God...

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