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Himalayan Dhaba

Craig Joseph Danner

ISBN 10: 052594690X / ISBN 13: 9780525946908
Published by E. P. Dutton, New York, 2002
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Author's first novel. Signed by the author on the title page. Winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award. Review copy. Bookseller Inventory # 004919

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Himalayan Dhaba

Publisher: E. P. Dutton, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Printing

About this title

Synopsis:

When Mary, a doctor still grieving over her husband, finds an abandoned mission hospital in the Indian Himalayas, she stops to care for a dying baby girl and becomes involved with a British traveler and his kidnapper and an abused young Indian woman.

Review:

In Craig Joseph Danner's engaging and compassionate debut novel, Himalayan Dhaba, an American seeking direction in her life reluctantly accepts the position of town doctor to a remote Himalayan village. Reeling from the death of her husband, Mary Davis travels to the north Indian village where he once volunteered. She has agreed to assist his mentor, Dr. Vargeela, in his practice, but upon her arrival, Mary finds the doctor absent for an undetermined time and his outdated, overwhelmed hospital dependent upon her skills to remain open. Emotionally fragile and underqualified, Mary struggles with her sense of obligation to the town and her mounting self-doubt, exhaustion, and depression. She soon meets some of the town's colorful assemblage of tourists, locals, and expatriates: Amod, a lonely villager and waiter who falls in love with Mary; Ravi, a handsome Canadian visiting nearby family; Phillip, the spoiled son of an English ambassador, who enters the hospital with a broken back, the result of a mugging; and Antone, an aging drug dealer and heroin addict who kidnaps Phillip and plans to offer him for ransom. Throughout, Danner explores the ways these characters' lives are altered and united by seemingly random events and the commonalities of experience that transcend language and cultural differences.

Danner, who based the book on his own experience as a doctor in the Himalayas, has created an emotionally mature and highly detailed novel, offering personal insight into Dr. Mary's search for identity and community. The novel has a strong sense of vibrancy and authenticity, conveying a comprehensive view of the beauty and severity of life in the Himalayas, such as the "beggars with their pleading palms and exudative skin disease" and the mountains with "shoulders hunched like mourners gathered round a grave, all dressed in black." Harsh in its honesty but ultimately life-affirming, Himalayan Dhaba reflects the hard-earned wisdom gained from a difficult but worthwhile experience. --Ross Doll

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