Tuesday 29 October 2013

The Lowland

Finished October 17
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

This novel tells the story of Subhash and Udayan Mitra, brothers born 15 months apart who were almost inseparable until the started university. The Mitra family lived in the Tollygunge neighbourhood in the outskirts of Calcutta, and the boys observed the activity of the local golf club in an interested way, as outsiders that couldn't hope to participate in the club's activities. Udayan took the feeling of being an outsider to heart and wanted to help those whe he felt were oppressed free themselves. At university they attended different schools, Subhash studying chemical engineering and Udayan studying physics. Udayan became involved in the Naxalite movement in the late 1960s and engaged in activities that acted against the government. . Subhash worried about this but tried to distance himself from this activity and went on to graduate studies in Rhode Island. Udayan's choices affect both brothers' lives in massive ways, and Subhash feels the need to take on his brother's responsibilities when Udayan is unable to fulfill them. Subhash's marriage is one he takes on in good faith, and he proves to be an excellent father to Bela. But his wife is not as committed to the marriage and makes her own choices and sets different priorities that lead to an estrangement and different paths.
This is a story of family, of responsibilities, of regrets, but also of unexpected love. This is a book I couldn't put down and thoroughly enjoyed.

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