From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
Born just 15 months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. 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 goes 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.
Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.
Long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize
©2013 Jhumpa Lahiri (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Haunting... A novel that crosses generations, oceans, and the chasms within families... Lahiri’s skill is reflected not only in her restrained and lyric prose, but also in her moving forward chronological time while simultaneously unfolding memory, which does not fade in spite of the years. A formidable and beautiful book." (Publishers Weekly)
"An absolute triumph. Lahiri uses a gorgeously rendered Calcutta landscape to profound effect.... As shocking complexities tragedies, and revelations multiply, Lahiri astutely examines the psychological nuances of conviction, guilt, grief, marriage, and parenthood, and delicately but firmly dissects the moral conundrums inherent in violent revolution. Renowned for her exquisite prose and penetrating insights, Lahiri attains new heights of artistry - flawless transparency, immersive intimacy with characters and place - in her spellbinding fourth book and second novel. A magnificent, universal, and indelible work of literature... Lahiri’s standing increases with each book, and this is her most compelling yet." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)
I was glad I listened to the book, for foreign language books have terms I can't pronounce and it makes a difficult read for me.
the back and forth nature of the story
pronunciation for sure!
wouldn't--the name was perfect for the area.
This was well-written and moved along pretty slowly. I kept waiting for the characters to actually take charge of their lives and they really never did. As an addict to thrillers this was a different type of book for me--and really had trouble being 'patient' as the story evolved.
He does fine for the most part, but he should consider not making the female characters sound like meek, bewildered idiots.
I think Lahiri is a spectacular short story writer, but I've been disappointed by her novels, this one most of all. I won't try another novel from her.
A short story collection, perhaps.
The narrator had a tough task--bringing to life a book with so little action and vigor. The book's greatest lack was dialogue: There was almost none of it, and when it did appear, it was trite and uninteresting. Unfortunately, even when he did get some dialogue to read, he tended to drone.
Rohinton Mistry's "A Fine Balance" is one of the finest books I've ever read--a story of India, told through characters that are beautifully rendered and heartbreaking. Lahiri's book needed to follow that lead: The history needed to matter because the characters mattered, and vice versa. In this book, the history felt leaden and burdensome. The story was dull and flabby and predictable; so was the language. And the characters were stereotypes, always doing something you could foresee 100 pages before.
I used this book to help me fall asleep at night. It was that boring.
This book spans 50 years in the lives of three people. The journey these people take through life are the result of one man's actions. Part of the book is set in India and then the US. The events in India in the late 50's early 60's are not taught in the US. It sparked me to do some research into the violent birth of the Indian nation at the end of British rule. The Indian culture was something else I know little about and it made me appreciate some of the customs I see here. The characters and places are brought to life with a gentle soothing narrative and the reader with is subtle Indian accent brings the even more authenticity to the story.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
This is a lovely and intense book about (among other things) the consequences of our actions for those we love . . . the two brothers at the center of the book have profound effects on each others' lives, and, rippling outward, on the lives of their parents, spouses, children. Jhumpa Lahiri does a beautiful job of drawing us into the relationship between the brothers and then into the lives of their families.
The narrator is generally excellent; I gave him four stars rather than five because I felt his women sounded a little insipid, but this is a quibble. I will keep an eye out for more of his narration; it was moving without being overbearing.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Two brothers born 15 months apart, inseparable boys growing up in Naxalbari, a half submerged swamp besotted with refuse and water hyacinths. The beauty and the wasteland feel of the swampy area echos the essence and the life choices of the two brothers. One brother is involved in the underground of the Naxalite movement of West Bengal in the late 1960s. The other brother is headed off to teach college in Rhode Island.
The two brothers share their lives in a unique fashion, more than either expected.
This author has a creative voice and although not exactly the happy ending feel good book so many prefer, overall the book held my interest and was worthwhile.
I listened to this book rather than read it because of the difficult to pronounce words. The reader was excellent. It was the story that I disliked strongly. The characters were flat with no personality. The story line was weak and dull. It was a depressing book with no point. I would not recommend it to anyone.
I believe this book was actually Lahiri's first attempt at a novel. If this is true, then I'm glad her collection of short stories was how she entered the literary world. I just never felt that she got inside any of the characters in this book, and the result was a stilted and often boring story.
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