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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

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  • Suzanna
    5/5/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An interesting story, irritatingly read."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I enjoyed the story and found the cultural backdrop fascinating. I did not like the American narrator and hoped rather for a more Indian or English voice. I found his pronunciation difficult at times to follow and irritating too.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The history of recent times in India was fascinating set against the traditions that were in such as state of flux.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sunil Malhotra’s performances?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The characters were on the whole rather unsympathetic, an d so it is difficult to love a book where you find it hard to care what happens to the main characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Brighton, United Kingdom
    6/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A big disappointment"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe would appeal to people who have not read any literature set in India


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I think I am going to give up on this book


    What didn’t you like about Sunil Malhotra’s performance?

    Very wooden and mechanical


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    I cannot understand why this book was nominated for a Booker

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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