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Posts Tagged ‘Jhumpa Lahiri

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, Knopf, 2013, 352 pp. (read as e-book)

ImageJhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake was one of the best, most memorable books I had read in a long time. I couldn’t wait for the chance to read her next novel, and The Lowland did not disappoint.

The novel follows the life of Subhash Mitra. It starts when he was a boy, growing up with his brother Udayan. Udayan is always the more adventurous, risk-taking brother. He goads Subhash into break rules, especially impatient with the strictures of class, caste and colonialism. As they grow up, they both seek out careers in science. Subhash moves to the United States for graduate school, just as Udayan becomes involved in a 1960’s radical movement whose suppression ends in tragedy. Subhash spends the rest of his life trying to make up for his brother’s loss, taking care of things in his brother’s place. Every relationship that belonged to his brother then belongs to him–their parents, Udayan’s girlfriend and more. The Lowland unfolds the story of Subhash and his relationships across the decades of his life.

I hesitate to say more because I don’t want to give the story away. It’s beautifully written prose, an intricately woven story, fascinating characters and compelling narrative. The first section, when Subhash and Udayan were boys, felt a little bit slow, but it’s worth reading on until they grow up. I’m already looking forward to Lahiri’s next book, and hope she has a long and fruitful career ahead.


About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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