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Summary

Longlisted – Baileys Women’s Prize 2014

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 15 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.

Long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize

©2013 Jhumpa Lahiri (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Haunting... A novel that crosses generations, oceans, and the chasms within families... Lahiri’s skill is reflected not only in her restrained and lyric prose, but also in her moving forward chronological time while simultaneously unfolding memory, which does not fade in spite of the years. A formidable and beautiful book." (Publishers Weekly)
"An absolute triumph. Lahiri uses a gorgeously rendered Calcutta landscape to profound effect.... As shocking complexities tragedies, and revelations multiply, Lahiri astutely examines the psychological nuances of conviction, guilt, grief, marriage, and parenthood, and delicately but firmly dissects the moral conundrums inherent in violent revolution. Renowned for her exquisite prose and penetrating insights, Lahiri attains new heights of artistry - flawless transparency, immersive intimacy with characters and place - in her spellbinding fourth book and second novel. A magnificent, universal, and indelible work of literature... Lahiri’s standing increases with each book, and this is her most compelling yet." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it

I nearly didn't buy this because of the negative reviews and because listening to the brief sample the narrator did sound a bit flat. I'm so glad I did though as after a short time listening I was mesmerised. The narrator's style just takes a little time to get used to but is actually very appropriate and effective once you settle into it.
I loved this story and will definitely read more by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

High quality writing, low emotions

The writing was excellent, but I would really like to ask the author if she could please just let some of her characters have a few moments of happiness, just once! All the major and minor characters seem to move between states of loneliness, grief and guilt with barely a glimpse of joy in between. It makes it difficult to enjoy the story, despite the quality narration by Sunil Malhotra.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • mr
  • 09-06-17

starts off slow but give it time.....

diverse and moving the story expands and unfolds as it introduces new characters and new perspectives.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Flat and depressing

Any additional comments?

I should start by saying that i listened to the audiobook version of this book and add that i don't normally listen to this genre; i bought this in a half-price sale.I have to say that i found this book quite tedious, as well as depressing. The story and characters were quite flat and much of it was done in 3rd person, which detracted from the story in my opinion.It picked-up a bit towards the end and there was opportunity for the interest level to go up, but the author simply skipped the plot with a few throw-away lines.I have never stopped listening to a book part-way through, as there is always the hope that thinga will improve later-on. I came quite close with this one though.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting story, irritatingly read.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I enjoyed the story and found the cultural backdrop fascinating. I did not like the American narrator and hoped rather for a more Indian or English voice. I found his pronunciation difficult at times to follow and irritating too.

What did you like best about this story?

The history of recent times in India was fascinating set against the traditions that were in such as state of flux.

Would you be willing to try another one of Sunil Malhotra’s performances?

No

Any additional comments?

The characters were on the whole rather unsympathetic, an d so it is difficult to love a book where you find it hard to care what happens to the main characters.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A big disappointment

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Maybe would appeal to people who have not read any literature set in India

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I think I am going to give up on this book

What didn’t you like about Sunil Malhotra’s performance?

Very wooden and mechanical

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

I cannot understand why this book was nominated for a Booker

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Ninell
  • Ninell
  • 27-07-17

Highlyrecommended

Rich, multi-dimensional, sensitive - this is an excellent story of the tragedy that is life. It will stay with me.