Books

While the Gods Were Sleeping:
A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal

Coming from Seal Press, Autumn 2014

by

Elizabeth Enslin

While the Gods Were Sleeping: a Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal is the story of an American anthropologist and feminist who becomes pregnant abroad in 1987, perseveres through prejudice and self-doubt to try a home birth in her husband’s Nepali village and discovers allies among local rebels fighting for change. Against the backdrop of increasing political turmoil, she discovers what it means for women, including herself, to claim their place and power when they’re neither here nor there —  when they’re stuck in-between cultures, causes, places, social roles, families, duties, political parties.

An ethnographic memoir, While the Gods Were Sleeping weaves a personal quest for belonging with insights into the history, culture and politics of a much romanticized, but little understood, corner of the world. Because it builds on twenty five years of family relationships and on anthropological research, While the Gods Were Sleeping achieves a depth unusual for foreigner accounts of Nepal. It is not a feel good story about an American fixing “Third World” problems. It’s a cautionary tale, a plea for humility and honesty, a case for celebrating unsung local heroes (especially women) and small moments of hope that sliver through grand narratives of progress.

Elizabeth Enslin with Aama, 2007
Elizabeth Enslin with Aama, 2007