Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Review: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri




“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.” The blurb at the back of the novel reads. The Lowland is this and much more- A story of two brothers, separated by fate. One of them, Udayan, is drawn into the Naxalite movement of 1960s while the other, Subhash, leaves for the U.S for research. Their growing up years in Calcutta’s Tollygunge and then how each face their individual destiny is this story, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.

This is Jhumpa Lahiri’s 4th novel. Her previous works of fiction, ‘Interpreter of Maladies’, ’The Namesake’, and ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ all deal with migrant Indians in the U.S. Most of her stories shift between these two countries.

The Lowland speaks about fate, will and exile; A man’s struggle to prove his love; the love for one’s family which is the bed-rock on which a man stands. The ties of blood that link us across continents. It is an intimate tale that revolves around its four main characters and their points of view.

The story will leave you crying at some places and smiling at others. The typical middle-class aspirations of Indians, the enthusiasm for adventures when you are young,  the relation between individuals within the family, all so well described by the author that you feel you are a part of their lives and you belong to that era and land. The book explores human relationships and at the same time the individual’s struggle to establish an identity for himself. This is Jhumpa Lahiri at her best. Pick up this book today and I promise you, you will be swept off by its drama, tragedy and suspense, and you can’t put it down till the last page is read.

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