‘Rana is a bold writer, willing to push against the boundaries of what we might have come to expect of South Asian writers.’
“Rana is remarkable at capturing a “tiny”
moment, allowing it to worm its way inside a character’s psyche, and then letting it explode at the end, with monumental irreversible consequences.’
-THE KATHMANDU POST
City of Dreams is set in the multifaceted, fast-changing Nepali capital, Kathmandu. Through a series of deftly woven short stories, it exposes the interactions of city-dwellers with this teeming, schizophrenic metropolis, caught in the tussle between tradition and modernity.
In the title story, a Kathmandu native wanders the streets of his hometown and encounters a deep secret. In ‘The Presence of God’, a couple bickers about faith and ambivalence, only to be confronted with an event so inexplicable that it changes the very foundations of their argument. In ‘Dashain’, a young man’s attempt to leap into adulthood goes horribly awry. And in ‘The Smoker’-the only story set outside Kathmandu, in New York City–a writer begins his quest to craft the perfect narrative; yet, even here, the Nepali city is a shadowy presence.
As Kathmandu becomes the protagonist of the collection, what we see emerge is not just the skeletal outline of the metropolis or a cartographer’s map, but a capital of stories. City of Dreams is one of the most startling literary debuts in recent times.