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The Lowland | [Jhumpa Lahiri]

The Lowland

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (544 )
5 star
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3.9 (476 )
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4.1 (467 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dr. BATON ROUGE, LA, United States 02-17-14
    Dr. BATON ROUGE, LA, United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not the best book this year, but up there"
    What made the experience of listening to The Lowland the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the back and forth nature of the story


    What does Sunil Malhotra bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    pronunciation for sure!


    If you could rename The Lowland, what would you call it?

    wouldn't--the name was perfect for the area.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novotny Klamath Falls OR 02-06-14
    Novotny Klamath Falls OR 02-06-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well-Written ...but"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Dew Athens, OH United States 12-29-13
    Carolyn Dew Athens, OH United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, narration so-so"
    What aspect of Sunil Malhotra’s performance would you have changed?

    He does fine for the most part, but he should consider not making the female characters sound like meek, bewildered idiots.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 12-06-13
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 12-06-13 Member Since 2001

    doggybird

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Still a better short story writer than novelist"

    I love Jhumpa Lahiri's short fiction and think her collections, UNACCUSTOMED EARTH and INTERPRETER OF MALADIES are among the most enjoyable books I've read in recent years. I really looked forward to the publication of this book but was disappointed. I don't think she is as masterful in the novel as she is in the short story. I felt much of this book struggled to extend itself into a novel when it would have been better as a novella. I didn't find the characterization believable or convincing, and I felt the story dragged on long after I felt it should have been over.

    Still, I read most of the book with gusto and eagerly went back to the story each time I had a chance - but having purchased the kindle version I was just as happy to read the book in kindle form as to listen - I didn't look forward to the narration as much as I usually do. It certainly didn't add to the book, and may even have detracted from it. The narrator reads clearly, but doesn't really bring anything engaging to the audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michal L. Jones Shelocta, Pa USA 11-06-13
    Michal L. Jones Shelocta, Pa USA 11-06-13 Member Since 2013

    geomason

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One Man's Influence"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bethann McLaren Toronto, Ontario, Canada 10-27-13
    Bethann McLaren Toronto, Ontario, Canada 10-27-13 Member Since 2008

    Farm girl, voracious reader, lover of wine & whiskey.

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    "Impeccable story, decent narrator"
    Would you listen to The Lowland again? Why?

    Absolutely. I always read or listen to anything Jhumpa Lahiri writes several times over. She's one of the few authors who's writing is close enough to perfect that I'll repeatedly reread her work.


    What about Sunil Malhotra’s performance did you like?

    It was a good narration, with excellent pronunciation and not too much melodrama, which I appreciate. I did find his voice a little bit monotonous at times, and sometimes jerky, but as I got into the story, it grew on me and by the end of the book, I quite liked his voice. I would certainly listen to him again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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