The Lowland

The Lowland - Jhumpa Lahiri

From Goodreads: 

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.

I was first introduced to Jhumpa Lahiri's writing one afternoon when I was awaiting my best friend to visit. I had a few spare hours, so decided to use the time to begin reading The Namesake. I became so engrossed with the novel, I was actually kind of disappointed when my friend finally arrived. 


Up until The Lowland, my biggest disappointment with Lahiri was that I had read all her work that I had found readily available. When I heard of the imminent arrival of The Lowland, I was extremely excited but thanks to low funds, I was forced to wait to buy it until I had a gift card to buy it with.


I hate to admit this, but I'm glad that I held off on buying it, and didn't actually spend my own money on it. It was good, but compared to Lahiri's previous novel and two collections of short stories...The Lowland was hardly comparable. It was a good story. Sad and hopeful sure...but the writing just did not contain the magic it once did. Jhumpa Lahiri taught me the very power that a strategically placed word can have...yet, this book did not make me pause and want to reread passages over and over again as I had been known to do with Lahiri's previous work. 


I liked the book. I liked it enough to hold on to it, but not enough that I'm going to feel compelled to force other people in my life to read it as I did The Namesake....which reminds me, I really need to replace my copy of The Namesake