Mad Country (Paperback)
Samrat Upadhyay’s new collection vibrates at the edges of intersecting cultures. Journalists in Kathmandu are targeted by the government. A Nepali man studying in America drops out of school and finds himself a part of the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. A white American woman moves to Nepal and changes her name. A Nepali man falls in love with a mysterious foreign black woman. A rich kid is caught up in his own fantasies of poverty and bank robbery. In the title story, a powerful woman, the owner of a construction company, becomes a political prisoner, and in stark and unflinching prose we see both her world and her mind radically remade.
Through the course of the stories in this collection, Upadhyay builds new modes of seeing our interconnected contemporary world. A collection of formal inventiveness, heartbreak and hope, it reaffirms Upadhyay’s position as one or our most important chroniclers of globalization and exile.
About the Author
Samrat Upadhyay was born and raised in Nepal. He is author of The City Son, which was shortlisted for a PEN Open Book Award; Arresting God in Kathmandu, winner of the Whiting Award; The Royal Ghost; The Guru of Love, a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; and Buddha’s Orphans. He has written for The New York Times and has appeared on BBC Radio and National Public Radio. Upadhyay teaches in the creative writing program at Indiana University.
A Finalist for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary Prize
Praise for Mad Country
"Brilliant, daring, memorable... Upadhyay illuminates the unquestioned pressures on us all to remain as we are, a key element in a book about societal constructs, emotional exigencies and identity. Original and thought-provoking."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Upadhyay gives desperation a razorlike edge, with a side of wry. This barbed comedy of manners takes on elements of dream and myth as it moves toward its scorching denouement."
"In Mad Country, American readers can uncover a wealth of knowledge and experience."
—World Literature Today
"Mad Country skillfully illuminates the attempt by the psyche to re-create itself in the face of trauma."
"Nepali author [Samrat Upadhyay] explores universal themes of envy, racism, political power, and disappointment in love with subtle and persuasive power. Brilliant but accessible gems of short fiction."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"These smart and compelling stories by Upadhyay present poignant meditations on personal identity and nationality. Upadhyay’s characters traverse global intersections, moving through collisions between cultures, and violent political revolts both external and internal. This is a timely and remarkable collection."
— Publishers Weekly
"Whiting Award–winning Upadhyay presents a collection of short stories set mostly in Nepal, a land of temples and unrest, and meandering through the real and the surreal while capturing the stories of individuals caught in moments of intense social turbulence. Upadhyay is a deft portraitist, and his characters, lost souls more often than not, are likely to stay with readers long after the book is finished."
Praise for Samrat Upadhyay
"Subtle and spiritually complex . . . Mr. Upadhyay's stories bring us into contact with a world that is somehow both far away and very familiar."
—The New York Times
"[Upadhyay's] stories have been burnished until they glow with visual and emotional precision."
—Washington Post Book World
"[Upadhyay's] characters linger. They are captured with such concise, illuminating precision that one begins to feel that they just might be real."
—The Christian Science Monitor