Living On the Brink

On the empty balcony above the hushed courtyard outside his deserted restaurant in Kathmandu, Gautam Rana sets down a heavy scrapbook on a cocktail table and slides open its leather fastener. Inside, newspaper clippings written by society columnists, restaurant critics and travel writers from across the world document how, six years ago, Rana opened the most chic and elegant collection of boutiques, bars and bistros Asia had ever seen, in the restored outbuildings of his family's former palace. There is praise from British historians, a rave review from Bombay's most acerbic social commentator, write-ups in international leisure magazines and hundreds of...

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