My Little Pocketbooks: Review: The Lowlands   

Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: The Lowlands


The Lowlands
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Publisher:  Knopf
Release Date:  September 24, 2013
Hardcover:  352 pages
Source: Free from publisher
http://amzn.to/1OwWUPQ

Book Description

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.
Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them. 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 comes 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.
Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland expands the range of one of our most dazzling storytellers, seamlessly interweaving the historical and the personal across generations and geographies. This masterly novel of fate and will, exile and return, is a tour de force and an instant classic.

Review

 This book was a gift from the publisher for Mocha Girls Read book club anniversary.  Now that it's 2 years later I have finally read it.  What an interesting story!
Two brothers,  Sabhash and Udayan grow up in Calcutta doing everything together.  But as with most relationships they begin to grow apart and move in different circles as their teen years come to a close.  When the rising tide of change of the 1960's comes to their university, city and friends their families and their lives are completely altered.  
You know what I loved about this book?  I loved the contrast the author gives the characters lives.  They might be from the same family and share the same culture but the different decisions give them vastly different lives that are ocean apart.   Even though Sabhash is the son who starts out at his mothers side his educational path clearly leads him to make life altering choices that his mother feels is not in the best interest of the family.  
The author wrote an epic novel and moved the story along in a quick timeline.  I was a bit shocked at the pace towards the end.  It kind of seemed to move faster than the rest of the book so that the author can bring everything to an end.  I would have loved to have much more conversation between the characters.  I didn't find it as romantic and over the top good as some others have because there was a lack of intimacy for me.  I am not taking sex - intimacy but a closeness to the characters and between the characters.  I would have liked to have some closeness of the characters or something that felt "real".  I think the quick paced of the book took away from finding about the characters habits and quirks that give the reader an intimate looking into someone's life.  
But it was a good read and I loved having a completely different setting and time period to read about. 

Reviews by Other Bloggers

Recommendations

I recommend this book to older teen and adult readers die to the mention of violence.

Challenges

This book is number 12 in my Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 5 in my Around the World Reading Challenge (Author & Location)
This book is number 14 in my New To Me Author Reading Challenge
This book is number 21 in my Goodreads Reading  Challenge 
This book is the letter L in my Mocha Girl 15 Reading Challenge 

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