Sumeet Bal
February 14, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

”My personal problems are my country’s problems. My history is this forsaken country’s history.” In Samrat Upadhyay’s minimally embellished debut novel, The Guru of Love, the story of a married Nepali math tutor in love with his student, is poignantly linked to the unstable political climate of Nepal, a country torn between tradition and modernism. Touching on such themes as infidelity, class snobbery, teenage rebellion, and in-law warfare, ”Guru of Love” may sound like a modern-day soap opera, but it reads like a graceful, page-turning mixture of stirring romance and social commentary.

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