Thursday, December 19, 2013

Book Review: The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri is another dazzling book by this Pulitzer Prize winning author. Her prose is musical, her characters are rich, and she puts the reader in the middle of place - whether it's Calcutta, India or a seaside town in Rhode Island. You can smell the air and feel the heat or cold.

cover blurb: "Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. The Lowland is a tale of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga with a story steeped in history that spans generations and geography with seamless authenticity. "

Inseparable brothers, Subhash and Udayan, are opposites with different futures. Subhash is quiet and scholarly, ultimately making his way to a new life in America. Udayan is brash and impulsive and participates in a rebellion to erradicate poverty in India. Unfortunately the family is shattered by Udayan's choices. Subhash must pick up the pieces, make choices, and try to raise a daughter.

Lahiri weaves Indian customs within new world expectations. She's excellent at depicting internal conflict, and outward strife. Her characters are intelligent and display heartfelt emotion. Her writing is sublime, and when you finish The Lowland it is with a sigh of regret at leaving these peoples' lives, and yet knowing they are going to survive and succeed.

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