In recent past , I have not read a book with greater patience than the Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest, the Lowland. Its an achievement to write a fast paced thriller, its a greater achievement to write a book which makes readers to slow down, think about the events, analysis the chapter before moving on, replay each scene and dialogue in the mind and so on. This is exactly what Jhumpa did to me with this book. I took my time to observe what happening to Subhash, Udayan, Bela and Gauri (the characters of the book)
Subhash and Udayan were blood brothers, they grew up together, read together and spend most of times together. The era was 1960s, the era of the great Naxalbari struggle of that time which united many young of that time in West Bengal. However, the movement separated the brothers. Udayan was attracted towards the movement, wanted to be part of revolution whereas Subhash couldn’t connect with it . Subhash moves to States to complete his studies, hence separating with his brother, both ideologically and geographically.
The book takes turn when Udayan looses his life in the movement and Subhash weds his brother’s widow. Jhumpa’s narration in the book is crude, making sense of hollowness of the characters, sometimes giving space to strange relationships between different characters. She stays in her comfort zone of Bengauli characters living in America, however, giving strong sense to the backgrounds as well.
Udayan’s and Subhash’s relationship were not only interesting relationship in the book, also the relationship between Gauri (Udayan’s Wife) and Udayan , Gauri and Subhash, Bela and Subhash were also very intense.
There is no surprise when people say that Jhumpa is one the most gifted contemporary author. She joined the club with Kiran Desai and Arundhati Roy who have captured India’s Maoist movements in their award winning Books. The Lowland was also shortlisted for Bookers’ prize for 2013, again no surprises there.
I highly recommend this book, I have rated it 5 stars on goodread
And also, a very happy Diwali to all.
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