Set in the picturesque town of Chari Patan, pulmonologist Arne Drews' Himalaya Gold tells a captivating story about inspector Sanjit, the case of three missing people, and the issues surrounding the distribution of yarsagumba. A thrilling and intriguing read, this book is definitely worth your time.
At the very start of the story, we are immediately thrown into the problem—the disappearance of two boys. From there, the story moves at a steady pace, slowly revealing that the vanishing of the youths is just the tip of the iceberg. Using simple language, Drews addresses problems faced by the farmers in the rural regions in Gorkha; the lack of aid after the 2015 earthquake, and the absence of a sustainable health care system, just to name a few.
Even though he tackles such serious issues, it is easy to understand. Moreover, the imagery used is rich and beautiful. The way Drews describes the Daraudi River, how it meanders lazily in a great arc, is enchanting. It must also be noted that there is a satisfying balance of narration to dialogue ratio. The narration part is fantastic. However, I was especially excited about imagining each dialogue in Nepali, wondering how it would sound. But, the one issue with this book is the translation; it has not been done completely right. Himalayan Gold was initially written in German. One particular translation that felt odd was using the word 'pastry' to describe momos. Another is 'Kali Don' being explained as black lord. That, too, raised my eyebrows.
In addition, it is evident that the targeted audience is not Nepali people. The way Drews pauses to explain certain ideas- concepts that Nepali people would not need explaining to, is what makes it clear. But these issues don't outweigh the compelling story. It is captivating and new; there is a sense of anticipation growing with each word, from start to finish. The fresh perspective on the recurring problems in Nepal is something to be appreciated. In just 116 pages, Arne Drews takes us on a fascinating journey with Himalaya Gold. It is a book that must be given a chance. I cannot wait to read more about inspector Sanjit and his experiences.