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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri


Like Fahrenheit 451 I have read this book to get a break of the whole lot of books I have been receiving for reviewing. This is a new development in me. I stopped accepting new books for reviewing and started to read a random (non-tbr) book for every 3 tbr books I read. Well, Ray Bradbury's magic did this to me.

Why Lowland?
  • Well, I have heard so many good things about Jhumpa Lahiri from Srinivas, the other author of this blog.
  • Because it was a gift from a friend.
  • Because it was Shortlisted for Man Booker this year.
  • Because I was hoping that this book wins Booker this year, which would make Jhumpa Lahiri the first person to win both Pulitzer Prize and Man Booker Prize.
  • Most importantly, because it was hardbound!!!

Plot( 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.

Our review:
The edition of Lowland, I am holding has one of the best cover designs. There is no glossy cover over the dust cover. It is kind of a print where if it is creased for more times the print wears off. It gives the feel of a hand-painted cover. In fact, the whole dust-cover when I open it seems like a hand-painting!

Every time I notice print wearing off of the dust-cover, my heart skipped a beat. For the fear of the same, I kept the dust-cover away while reading the book.

And then the feeling of reading a hardbound. Nothing can beat that feeling. If you haven't read any hardbound till now, I strongly recommend you to go get one and you will surely thank me after savoring the experience.

The one best impact the book had on me by creating a strange tinge of curiosity for Communism. As I was reading the book, I underlined various books about Communism and Communist activities around the globe mentioned in the book. I plan to read them some day. I came to know how the term 'Naxalite' came into existence, how the term 'Maoist' came into existence. And my mind was totally blown. I had to read about Communism!!

About the narration, Jhumpa had her way with the words. The best aspect of her story-telling is her small paragraphs. Most of her paragraphs are no longer than five lines, which was really encouraging for me during some boring part of the novel.

I have read various types of story-telling, but it is the first-time I have read something which narrated to such precision. Not a character was left out. And whom you think to be the main characters of the story, whose story you expect to be told, not only their story is told, but also the other side-character are elaborated, too. Simply superb.

About the story, I can't describe. Yeah, I am ashamed to say so, but seriously, limited words aren't enough to describe the story. If I try, I would say, it is about Love. Communism. Betrayal. Sacrifice. Brotherhood. Parental love... and the list goes on and on with no end in sight. In simple words, this story is a potpourri of all the emotions, nameable.

The only negative aspect of the story is that it becomes slagging when it comes to middle part of the story. I fell behind there and once I reached the later half of the story, I read it entirely in a day!

Final Verdict:
Strong character. Vivid portrayal of emotions. Awesome narration. A pleasant, noteworthy read. Now I know the reason why this book got shortlisted for the Man Booker...



Title: The Lowland

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Tagline: A Novel

ISBN (edition I've read): 9788184003864


Read between: 23-11-2013 to 30-11-2013

Publishers: Random House

Pages: 340

MRP: ₹ 499

The best deal of this book can be found here: 

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