Review on ‘City A of Dreams’ | Hamro Patro

ब्लग - साहित्य / बाल साहित्य

Review on ‘City A of Dreams’

   Manaswi Sapkota - Feb 18 2024

City of Dreams by Pranaya SJB Rana is a carefully written and collected story compiled into one. Originally published in 2015, this book was Pranaya’s gateway to the writing world as a novelist. Previously he had worked as a journalist and columnist for The Nepali Times and The Kathmandu Post. His debut novel brought him fame, with the book accumulating great reviews and positive feedback from the readers community. With 10 enthralling stories City of Dreams has made an impactful effect on Nepali writing community.

The Plot Summaries
In particular, 5 stories turned out to be my extra favourites from this book. The first being “Smoker”. Smoker is a story about a character named Pranaya, who we can assume is the author due to the same name they share. This story, in my opinion, talks about someone with a mental disorder. Pranaya is haggard with workload and pressure all the time, and living abroad he does not have anyone he can truly rely on. Amidst this stressful period he meets a girl named Maya, who he ends up falling in love with. At the end of the story it is clear that the Maya he met was someone he fictionalised. She was never real. This shows how he could have been schizophrenic. It also implies how under pressure, people abroad often crumble and end up with serious spirals of loneliness and even depression.

“Maya”, another one of my favourite stories from this book, delves into the life of Maya, a prostitute during the Maoist era. Maya is the story of a young girl who is consumed by society and poverty. She is helpless as she cannot do anything well enough to earn money besides selling herself, and even the money she gets from it is only enough to feed her, not send it back home.

This story is about Maya’s dreams and aspirations as well. She wanted to study but due to her family’s poor financial condition she had no choice but to quit her education, so till date, she cannot read letters written to her and nor can she write letters to her family. This story is about the sad reality of people living in poverty in rural areas.

“Dashain”, another exciting story is about a young teen. It is almost a coming of age story. In this story, the main character is a young boy, a teen essentially at the age of feeling like not an adult but not a child either. During the auspicious time of Dashain, the main character, a very scrawny kid, decides to try and behead a goat. When the time for the beheading finally comes, he fails to make a clean cut and according to Hindus, a double cut is nothing but bad luck.

Although the story portrays a teen failing to behead a goat, I believe it can be depicted at a deeper level. Often teens feel the need to prove themselves to one another and hence they end up doing stupid things. More often than not these actions lead to terrible consequences. It shows that people are often inclined to change themselves to fit other people’s ideas of them.

“Our Ruins” is a story that I can relate to. It feels as though it is a story that any 10th grader can relate to at a closer level. It depicts a student’s life after SEE and how friendships break apart as people change. We are humans so we are bound to change but the bittersweet feeling of staying where you are while others pass you and you get left behind is always there. I believe “Our Ruins” does the perfect job at depicting this bitter sweetness because in this story, the main character does not despise his friends for moving on rather he just sits behind and bitterly remembers the fond memories he created as a child.

Out of all the stories in “City of Dreams” , I liked “Red Kurta” the most. Red Kurta is about a couple who had a son named Kumar. This couple decides to get a girl from a rural village to work as a maid in their house who is named Sharmila. Sharmila and Kumar, being the same age get close to each other and pretty soon fall for each other. After a couple of years together, Sharmila ends up getting pregnant and she is kicked out of the house because the couple think of her as someone filthy while being blissfully unaware the father was their son. Soon after the son runs away, leaving his parents distraught and sad.

This story depicts how often girls from rural villages are used as child labor in richer and developed cities. It also shows the egoistic nature of a human. The couple, Raja and Rani, though perfect on the surface, always fight. They don’t mind treating Sharmila like a lower class, while totally ignoring their own faults. It also shows how in the Nepali society, people from “lower castes” are often discriminated against.

“City of Dreams” is a very intuitive story collection. It connects chapters with one another through the clever use of settings and timelines. This is a suitable book to read when you want to read intricate and interesting stories. It also offers a vivid exploration of Kathmandu city, delving into its cultural, social, and historical layers. The author’s writing style is also simple yet effective. It makes you want to read the story more and more. I believe this is a book you would revisit when you are in need of a break. There are so many amazing ways the author ends the stories, with most of them being open ended. I also believe the way the author uses Nepali words in the book is a special touch to the stories. I would recommend this book to a lot of people as I really like and believe a lot of other people would too.  

Manaswi Sapkota
Class: 10, Macchapucchre
Deerwalk Sifal School

Liked by
Liked by
0 /600 characters
Hamro Patro - Connecting Nepali Communities
Hamro Patro is one of the first Nepali app to include Nepali Patro, launched in 2010. We started with a Nepali Calendar mobile app to help Nepalese living abroad stay in touch with Nepalese festivals and important dates in Nepali calendar year. Later on, to cater to the people who couldn’t type in Nepali using fonts like Preeti, Ganesh and even Nepali Unicode, we built nepali mobile keyboard called Hamro Nepali keyboard.