The diversity of characters, however, is well-developed. Even though Hari and Siva’s disconnect makes us wonder if their two stories had to be told in the same narrative, the counterpoint between a simple Tharu villager to a Maoist rebel, corrupt Nepali politicians and Arabian lawyers keeps the story taut.
The women are especially strong: Hari’s soft-spoken wife Jamuna, his intelligent and hard-working daughter Subhadra, or the politically progressive and astute Anjeli, Greta Rana’s women demonstrate strength as well as wisdom.
Hari Prasad’s trajectory does depart from the general experience of most Nepali migrant workers — especially with the twist in the climax that gives Hostage a distinct fictional flavour. To readers familiar with the contemporary exodus of young Nepalis, Hostage reinforces familiar tales of injustice that drive them away and is a one-sit read that could be a modern English version of Lil Bahadur Chhetri’s Nepali classic, Basain.