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The Lowland (Vintage Contemporaries)by Jhumpa Lahiri
In The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri tells the story of two brothers who share everything as children but begin to pull apart as they grow older. Their childhood is set against a 1960s poverty rebellion known as the Naxalite movement in Calcutta, India. However, the focus here is not politics but rather family, love, duty, truth, honor, and happiness. Quiet, heart-wrenching, and beautiful, The Lowland asks the impossible-to-answer question, What will you do for what you believe? Lahiri's storytelling is masterful and her prose is gorgeous.
Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book • A Time Top Fiction Book • An NPR "Great Read" • A Chicago Tribune Best Book • A USA Today Best Book • A People magazine Top 10 Book • A Barnes and Noble Best New Book • A Good Reads Best Book • A Kirkus Best Fiction Book • A Slate Favorite Book • A Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction Book • A People Top 10 Book • An Apple Top 10 Book
National Book Award Finalist and shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. 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 goes 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.
Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.
“Compelling...beautiful. A family saga that finds its roots in a 1967 Calcutta rebellion [but] extends its reach to present-day Rhode Island. The long-awaited follow-up to her ravishing first novel, The Namesake, justifies its lengthy gestation. The story develops like a rip in a piece of fabric that keeps tearing: a gripping meditation on absence, alienation and loss....Exquisitely written and deeply moving.” Time Out New York
The Lowland spans decades but never feels rushed or spread thin. Lahiri entrances us with her strong, incantatory storyteller’s voice and vibrant images....The novel shimmers. A heartbreaking story of repressed emotions and the essential loneliness of the human condition.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Lyrical...buoyantly ambitious in both story and form. [A] rich landscape...surprising language and plotting....The memory of Udayan—his fierce politics and his terrible death—has corrosive aftereffects. The Lowland is a novel about the rashness of youth, as well as hesitation and regret.” Maureen Corrigan, National Public Radio, Fresh Air
"Mesmerizing, devastating.” Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book World
“Lahiri is an elegant stylist, effortlessly placing the perfect words in the perfect order time and again so we’re transported seamlessly into another place. In The Lowland, it’s the 1960s, and violent revolution has come to Calcutta and America, with reverberations to be felt by generations to come. Every family story is somehow a war story; Lahiri has a talent for coolly illustrating this truth.” Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
The Lowland gains tremendous power as it goes on. Language takes on the role of time itself. The Lowland feels less like a story being told than a tide slowly going out, gradually, inevitably revealing the shape of what was there all along.” Lev Grossman, Time
"What counts in The Lowland isn’t the fate of society but the individual life and the chance or pursuit of individual happiness; Turgenev among others would recognize the problem she defines. The prose...provides something like a continuous present, pointillist and monumental at once, as though carved....Uncompromising and yet clear — carries a note of accessible distinction.” Michael Gorra, The New York Review of Books
About the Author
Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of three previous works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake and, most recently, Unaccustomed Earth. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.
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