Posts Tagged ‘Lowlands’

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

October 12, 2013


I picked-up Jhumpa Lahiri’s new novel, The Lowland, after reading an excerpt of the book published in the New Yorker under the title “Brotherly Love.” “Brotherly Love” was good, and The Lowland is even better. The plot follows two brothers from their childhood, when they were nearly inseparable, through into their adult years, which turn out as different as two peoples’ lives can be. The book is set in both Calcutta and the United States. It addresses question of political and familial loyalties, the challenges of immigrating (and of staying behind), and the difficulty of finding love.

For me, the weakest parts of the book were those concerning the Naxalite Movement. It’s a fascinating moment in Indian history, but Lahiri hardly does it justice, and it’s also hard to see why it’s necessary narratively to continue returning to this movement. Where Lahiri shines is in her heart-breaking explorations of relationships, particularly those that fall apart.