In a circular valley beneath the looming peaks of the Himalaya lies Kathmandu, Nepal. It’s a city of shimmering prayer flags, sacred cows, lavish festivals, and violent political turbulence—and a world that journalist Jeff Greenwald has come to call home.
Snake Lake unfolds during 1990’s dramatic “people power” uprising against Nepal’s long–entrenched monarchy. The story follows Greenwald as he wins the friendship of a high lama who reveals the pillars of Tibetan Buddhism; embarks on a passionate romance with a spunky but curiously unlucky news photographer; and discovers what democracy means to rural Nepali citizens—all while covering the revolution for a major American newspaper. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Greenwald’s brilliant but troubled younger brother descends into a deepening depression. The author is forced to choose between witnessing Nepal’s long–overdue revolution and reconnecting with an alienated brother in desperate need of help.
Snake Lake is primarily a memoir (though the roles of several characters have been recast). Focused on the life–changing events that unfolded during one calamitous spring, the book weaves a vivid tapestry of Buddhism, revolution, and the often serpentine paths to personal liberation.