Larhiri beautiful prose is layered with an earthy sense of place and symbolic imagery:
"The flooded plain was thick with water hyacinth. The floating weed grew aggressively. Its leaves caused the surface to appear solid. Green in contrast to the blue of the sky. Simple huts stood here and there along the periphery. The poor waded in to forage for what was edible. In autumn egrets arrived, their white feathers darkened from the city's soot, waiting motionless for their prey."After tragedy strikes in Calcutta, Subhash makes a personal sacrifice to bring his brother's wife to the USA. Young Gauri arrives pregnant in a sari to Rhode Island in winter. She only feels at home when she audits a Philosophy class. The saga unfolds over decades as we follow the family through shifting points of view.
"His favorite moments were when he was alone, or felt alone. Lying in bed in the morning, watching sunlight flickering like a restless bird on the wall."
|Jhumpa Lahiri portrait by Elena Seibert|
"Opening the door, he saw that the tide was in. The sky was bright, the ocean calm; no sign, apart from all the seaweed that had washed like empty nests up on the sand, of the storm there had been."As much as I love Lahiri's novels, I prefer her short stories. Her character-driven narratives work best in a tighter story arc. The Interpreter of Maladies (1999), her Pulitzer Prize winning debut, was my favorite collection. However, my Indian American friends swear by The Namesake (2004). It doesn't matter where you start; if you read one of Lahiri's books, you'll want to read them all. The Lowland will be released on September 24th, 2013.
Reviewer's Disclosure: this book was reviewed for Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I received a free ARC but was not otherwise compensated.