Nepali novels are works of Nepali literature written in the Nepali language, mostly by Nepalese writers, who are often also the authors of literary criticism and other literary works in Nepali. The first modern work in Nepali appeared in Kathmandu on August 16, 1861, titled Basant Bahar.
There are many Nepali novels available, but these ten are considered to be the best. There are newer novels on the market too, so this list will likely change in the future. For now, though, these are the 10 still that we suggest you all to read.
10 Best Nepali Novels To Read
Here’s what you need to know about each of them if you’re interested in reading them or doing research for school. They’re listed in no particular order because they’re all fantastic works of literature that deserve recognition from anyone who reads them!
1. Muna Madan
If you want to explore Nepali literature, you can’t skip reading this book. Muna Madan is a episodic love poem written by the greatest Nepali literature figure Laxami Prasad Devkota. It was published in 1936. Muna Madan follows the story of Madan, a man from Kathmandu Valley who leaves his newly married wife Muna for Lhasan in Tibet to earn his fortune despite the protests of his wife. Saying anything more about the synopsis of this masterpiece book by Laxami Prasad Devkota will ruin your experience while reading it. In 2002, a movie on the same name was also made which was the Nepal’s official entry to 2004 Academy Awards.
2. Shirishko Phool
Shirishko Phool was published in 1964 and was written by Bishnu Kumari Waisa, best known by her pen name Parijat. It was her first and the most successful novel. This novel is about a middle aged Gurkha veteran Suyog Bir Singh and a strong young woman Sakambari. The story begins when Suyog meets Sakambari and her two sisters-Mujura and Sanu. Suyog is a lonely middle-aged man and sees the three sisters with eyes of lust. He views Mujura as the quintessential woman with all the feminine virtues and the most logical choice for a wife. For her very first novel, Parijat also won Madan Purushkar in 1965. The novel was later translated into English by Sondra Zeidenstein with the help of Tankavilash Bharya in 1972. In 2012, A Nepali language feature film of the same name by Japanese director Toshiaki Ito was also made.
3. Karnali Blues
This is one of the best selling Nepali novels of all time. Karnali Blues is written by Buddhi Sagar and was published by FinePrint publications in 2010. This book is about the story of a young boy who travels through different phases of his life with his parents. The story’s main focus is on the protagonist’s father. The novel depicts the father-son relationship in a family from Far-western region of Nepal. The novels begins with birth of Brisha Bahadur, the narrator of the novel. Brisha Bahadur narrates his father struggles. The novel is divided into eleven days. Brisha Bahadur is taking care of his father who is sick in those eleven days and he reminisces his past with his father. It is also translated into English language by Michael Hutt.
4. Jiwan Kada Ki Phool
Jiwan Kada Ki Phool, translated in English as “A Flower In The Midst Of Thorns” is not only a book to read, but as a whole a source of inspiration to take. It is a Madan Purushkar winner book written by Jhamak Kumari Ghimire about her own life and all the difficulties she faced. After its publication in 2010, it was printed seven times within its two years that makes it one of the most selling Nepali books of all time.
5. Seto Dharti
Published in 2012, Seto Dharti is a Madan Purushkar winning Nepali novel written by Amar Neupane. The story is based on the life of a girl named Tara. She is a simple girl living in her village spending her time playing with other children of same village. While the story goes on, she gets married at the age of seven, the very age at which she does not even understand the meaning of marriage. The story in the novel is of the time period 1850-1950, when child marriage used to be very common in Nepalese society.
6. Palpasa Cafe
Palpasa Cafe has been a record-seller book in Nepal with a record sale of more than 25,000 copies in the first year of its publication in 2005. It is one of the best Nepali novel written by author and journalist Narayan Wagle. The novel tells the story of an artist Drishya during the time of Nepalese Civil War. It is a love story of Drishya and the first generation American Nepali, Palpasa, who has returned to the land of her parents after 9/11. It is often called an anti-war novel, and describes the effects of the civil war on the Nepali countryside that Drishya travels to. Originally written in Nepali language, it was later translated into English and Korean language too. Palpase Cafe is officially the first Nepali novel to be made available on Amazon Kindle.
7. Pagal Basti
Pagal Basti is another one of the best Nepali novels written in Nepali literature. Written by Saru Bhakta, it was published by the oldest publication house in Nepal-Sajha Publication. The story of this Madan Purushkar winning novel starts with narrator’s journey to Ghandruk. Martha, the protagonist, is a teacher in Prithivi Narayan Campus. In her journey along with some other writers, she talks about Pashchimanchal Campus, a popular engineering college. The book is written in a simple language. However, the prose can be difficult to understand. Though if you want to explore Nepali literature, you should read this book.
8. Seto Bagh
Often considered as the best Nepali novel of all time, Seto Bagh is a must-read masterpiece written in Nepali literature. Seto Bagh is a historical biographical fiction that revolves around the life of Jagat Jung Rana, the eldest son of Jung Bahadur Rana. The novel set around the time of Jung Bahadur’s fall from power is, in the core, the story of love between Jagat Jung and the princess, the daughter of King Surendra Bikram Shah. Beyond love, however, this is a story of the struggle for power. As such massacre, bloodshed and betrayal are commonplace. This masterpiece by Diamond Sumsher takes you back in time.
Krishna Dharabasi is one of those who has given a great contribution in Nepali literature, and Radha is the best out of his all contributions. Published in 2005, Radha is an adaptation of the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharat. In this novel, Krishna Dharabasi has modified the characters of Krishna and Radha, giving greater prominence to the character of Radha. Inspired by Jacques Derrida’s Theory of Deconstruction, Dharabasi has completely changed the characters of Radha and Krishna, making Radha brave, bold, dignified and revolutionary.
Considered as an experimental book in Nepali literature, Alikhit(translated as Unwritten in English) is a Nepali novel written by Dhrub Chandra Gautam, and was published in 1983 A.D. The same year of its publication, it won Madan Purushkar-Nepal’s highest award in the field of literature. After its publication, it gained a special place due to the narrative and artistic practicality established. The book is set in a fictional town named Birahinpur on the southern part of Nepal. The village is not marked on any map. When some archaeologists visit the town to excavate for an earlier civilization, the whole town vanishes overnight The novel explores the existing exploitation in Madhesh, deprived people’s lives, neglect of the state, fear, illiteracy and the remoteness of marginal life in an effective manner. On the one hand, the novel has a regional tone of communication, on the other hand, it has a combination of fundamental effects including anomalies, myths, self-imagination, humor and satire.