Saturday, 17 May 2014

Book Review- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri


Author: Jhumpa Lahiri               
Genre: Literary Fiction

Goodreads Blurb: Two brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel--set in both India and America--that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them. It is the 1960s, and Udayan--charismatic and impulsive--finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty: he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother's political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family's home, he comes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind--including those seared in the heart of his brother's wife.

Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland expands the range of one of our most dazzling storytellers, seamlessly interweaving the historical and the personal across generations and geographies. This masterly novel of fate and will, exile and return, is a tour de force and an instant classic.

My Views: This book has been on my 'To Be Read List' ever since its release. Being a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri's writing style, it is no wonder that I fell in love with the simple yet poetic language used by her. While the language used blown me away like always, it is the plot that has left me craving for more this time. I admire the way Lahiri looked at the Naxalite movement and didn't go more into the political details of the movement. It is a powerful story, but I think characters don't come across as powerfully as they should have.

This is a complex story which deals with two lives Gauri and Subhash joined by a common thread Udayan. The story deals with the aftereffects of a tragedy that strikes on Subhash and Gauri with the death of Udayan and how their lives change post that. It deals with how the relationship of Gauri and Subhash progressed from strangers to a couple and parents and again to strangers.

What I like most is the sibling relationship between Udayan and Subhash and also relationship if Subhash and Bela his daughter. But I don't know why I couldn't relate to the character of Gauri. Okay, she is a victim of tragedy and it can somehow justify her relation with Subhash  but that doesn't justify the way she takes her relationship with Bela. For me Gauri comes out as a rude, emotionless and selfish person who just can't get over with her fears.

Overall it is nice read a bit sad though, and to be frank, I am slightly disappointed with the end. I'd recommend this book for its depth and language.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Isolation offered its own form of companionship” 
  • “And yet he had loved her. A Bookish girl heedless of her beauty, unconscious of her effect. She'd been prepared to live her life alone but from the moment he'd known her he'd needed her.” 
  • “With children the clock is reset. We forget what came before.”

My Ratings: 3.75 out of 5



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