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The Weight of Heaven
Thrity Umrigar
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The Weight of Heaven

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,088 ratings  ·  398 reviews
A novel about an American couple's experience in India
Paperback, 365 pages
Published 2009 by HarperCollins
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I was first introduced to Thrity Umrigar through her novel, The Space Between Us. It was one of those novels that made the author an instant favorite of mine. I knew I had to read every book she wrote. I haven't quite managed that, but it's still something I'm working on. I followed The Space Between Us up with Bombay Time and now The Weight of Heaven.

What I love most about Thrity Umrigar is her gift for drawing out the emotions of her characters. The reader gets to know them through and through
Will Byrnes
Frank and Ellie Benton have suffered what no parents should, the loss of their 7-year-old son, Benny. When Frank is offered a chance to manage a factory in Girbaud, India, the couple leap at the opportunity to get away from the constant reminders of their loss. But Frank transfers his love for his son onto Ramesh, the engaging, bright child of the people who take care of their house. His inability to truly get past the death of his own child and his desperate attachment to this Indian boy lead t ...more
I am in awe of Thrity Umrigar. I enjoyed her previous book, The Space Between Us, but The Weight of Heaven positively blew me away. Even though this book drips with sadness and grief and made me want to throw it against the wall toward the end, I still give this one five stars because...well, WOW.

When I read, I like to flip up the bottom corner of pages where there are passages, phrases, ideas that I like or that impress me in some way or that make me want to talk about them. If you look at my
Thrity Umrigar's The Weight of Heaven is a heavy with grief, emptiness, and struggle. The Bentons (Ellie and Frank) lose their son, Benny, at age seven from meningococcus. Ellie has liberal leanings politically and is a therapist to clients in Ann Arbor, Mich., while Frank is a proud, American business executive with residual issues of abandonment. The loss of a child can be daunting for any family, and it is clear how grief of this magnitude can slowly rip a family apart.

"And now they were two.
How does one deal with the loss of a child? I hope never to answer that question, but the main characters in this book, Frank and Ellie, are forced to address their grief when their only son, Benny, dies unexpectedly. Frank has an opportunity to move to India, and he and Ellie see this as a chance to try to heal their wounds and keep their marriage from falling apart. Their decision seems logical - a move to a completely new country where people and places will not remind them of their lost son. ...more
This book is heart wenching on many levels- first there are Frank and Ellie, who are recovering from the loss of a child; then there is the case of the American company Frank works for in India, wreaking havoc on the lives of native Indians in its typically naive American way; and lastly the Indian house servants Frank and Ellie have inherited, along with their young see where this is going? Umrigar takes the reader on this bumpy journey of love and loss, where the end in sight is inev ...more
This book was better than "If Today Be Sweet" but still not as good as "The Space Between Us." What made Umrigar's first book so good was that there was so much at stake, literally life and death, survival by inches. This book a mixture of the two prevous titles, you have an American couple living in India. They are escaping the death of their son and find solace in the country and the husband, Frank begins to fixate on their housekeepers' son. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief in places ...more
The Short of It:

An emotional story about love and loss and so much more. The Weight of Heaven demands your attention, shakes you up, then leaves you heavy with the weight of it.

The Rest of It:

This is a wonderful, meaty book. As you can imagine, the death of a child is a delicate subject. There’s something incredibly tragic about losing a child. Even when the child is gone, his memory lives on in everyday things… a stray toy found under the couch, the shoe that lost its mate some time ago, etc. A
Alice Meloy
A novel of India that mixes in a bit of America in the form of a neurotic couple who can't get over their psychological problems. Having a difficult time coping with the unexpected death of their young son, Ellie and Frank Benton move from the American midwest to the west coast of India to work and to try to get over their grief. Frank forms an attachment to the nine-year old son of their servants, and his obsession with helping the boy achieve a good life (American style) leads to some life-cha ...more
As a special treat for myself, I pulled this book off my shelf, I love Thrity Umrigar's books and The Weight of Heaven turned out to be an emotional experience. I did shed some tears and also got very angry.

Frank and Ellie Benton, living in Ann Arbor, Michigan lost their only child, Benny, to meningococcal infection. Frank is a business man for a company that sells medical products and Ellie is a therapist. When their boy dies, it brings havoc to their marriage. Frank blames Ellie for taking a s
لا شي يضاهي مرارة ما بعد فقد العزيز ،، حتى الفقد نفسه لا يوغر الجرح في النفس أكثر من الوحشة والوحده وسط الذكريات المفرحه المبكية معا ،، وإن كانت الاحداث من نسج خيال فلعل فيها بعض المشاركة لمحزوني هذا الكوكب

عزائنا الامثل بعد هذه الرواية أن ننظر الى السماء بعين القلب ونشكر الله على نعمة وجودنا بين أحبائنا
This is the third book I have read by Thrity Umrigar. Once again, it gripped my emotions and didn't let go. I was surprised at the beginning to find that it revolves around a Caucasian couple, Frank and Ellie Benton, but once the couple moved to India I could see why she chose to tell the novel from their points of view. Their move to India was precipitated by the death of their only child, 7-year-old Benny. When Frank's company offered him a transfer to India, he and Ellie thought it might help ...more
Just a week ago, I read my first Thrity Umrigar novel and loved it. (The World we Found) So, I deliberately sought out another of her books. I was not disappointed with this novel. I am kind of in awe of this author, how she can draw me into the lives of her characters and tugged on my emotions to the point that I had tears running down my face numerous times. Once when I was at the gym on a stationary bike I was reading and crying. Another time I brushed away tears at my favourite Second Cup co ...more
Thrity Umrigar's latest novel The Weight of Heaven is a dramatic work exploring the effects of grief on a couple who has it all. From the opening pages when we meet Frank and Ellie, we are plunged into the grief over the loss of their son Benny. The couple are in such despair, with their marriage fraying, that they decide to move to India when Frank is offered a position running a multinational corporation there. They hope that without the constant reminders of Benny, they will be able to find e ...more
I discovered Thrity Umrigar in 2008, and she has since become a favorite author of mine. I felt honored to have received an advance copy of her new book: The Weight of Heaven, which is scheduled for release on April 14th, 2009, by Harper Collins.

In her new novel we meet Frank and Ellie Benton, a grief stricken couple from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who have just lost their seven year old son Benny, after a short illness. Unable to cope with this horrific loss, Frank accepts a new assignment running a
I've not read books by Thrity Umrigar before. This was recommended by a friend who is a librarian. The book was very deep and well-written, holding my interest even late at night. An American couple, Frank and Ellie, move to India, where Frank works in a company called "Herbal Solutions". After having lost their only son to illness, Frank befriends a young Indian boy whose parents work in their household. The attachment of Frank to the boy, Ramesh, becomes too strong, leading to antagonisms all ...more
OH MY GOODNESS. This book was so good I almost gave it 5 stars. I really, really like this author, and after I read one book by her I took a break so it wasn't ruined by the next one, in case I didn't like it as well. This was so good.
The story is really great... with a few details that kind of bugged me. Ellie and Frank are living in India while Frank works for an American company. They live in a company house, complete with a servant-family living in the shack behind them. The detail that bugg
I've read all of Thrity Umrigar's previous novels and found them to be extremely enjoyable and hard to put down...this one was no different. A beautiful story of what grief can do.

From back cover:

"When Frank and Ellie Benton lose their only child, seven-year-old Benny, to a sudden illness, the perfect life they had built in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is shattered. But an unexpected job half a world away offers them an opportunity to start again. Life in Girbaug, India, holds promise-and peril-when Fra
The Weight of Heaven is a beautifully written novel about a painful period in the life of an American couple, Frank and Ellie Benton. Frank and Ellie’s only son, seven-year old Benny, has died from meningitis. Frank was away for work during the sudden illness and he blames Ellie for Benny’s death. After Frank is offered a job in India, the two decided to take the job in Girbaug and start life anew.

While in Girbaug, Frank befriends a young boy, Ramesh that is the son of the servants at their hom
I bought this book for my Kindle because it was on sale. Plain and simple - this novel sounded like it was worth $2.99. I had never read anything by Umrigar and only vaguely knew about her books. I was willing to take the risk given the price.

Well, this is the best bargain I have made in quite awhile. Ms Umrigar tells a fascinating story about how one family deals with one of the most difficult life experiences - the death of a child. The story is well written and seems possible even when it was

I remember being blown away when I read Thrity's book The Space Between Us in 2010. I thought she made India come alive in my mind and as I became further engrossed in the story I could swear that I heard the sounds and the smells of the country too. That's how vivid and wonderful this author's writing is...with her sharply honed pen she draws the reader into the pages of her imagination and you find yourself not wanting to leave.

The Weight of Heaven is another masterpiece by Umrigar and even th
Mar 21, 2010 Kristi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristi by: Bookworm with a View
I enjoyed The Weight of Heaven very much, despite its propensity to make me burst into tears. The thought of losing a child is unbearable to me, and Umrigar's description of the parents' pain and loss were very real. There was one evening while reading that I had to get up to go kiss my sleeping daughter, because I needed to see her and be thankful that my child is still with me.

The Indian setting was very interesting to me, and I think that it provided a well thought out back drop for the story
As soon as I started this book, I knew it was going to be one that I would have a hard time putting down--it drew me in right away, with Umrigar's very natural style and character development.

The story line of a couple losing a child was gut-wrenching, and it was interesting how Umrigar introduced us to the characters at present and then took us back to various points in time to better understand why they were behaving and reacting the way they were at present.

The depiction of India, and America
Following the death of their young son, the Benton's marriage is falling apart so when Frank's boss offers him the opportunity to run the company's factory in a small village in India, Ellie tells him to take it. She finds her place in India, volunteering at a local clinic, making friends with an American educated journalist turned volunteer, befriending village people. But Frank is out of sorts and soon has labor problems. The only compensation for him is the son of his housekeeper, Ramesh, a b ...more
The author simply and beautifully tells a story set in India about love, loss and losing control. Tragically heartbreaking on many levels: 1) the main couple who not only suffer from the sudden loss of a child and a "perfect" life, but then have to deal with the deterioration of their relationship and a loss in sense of self; 2) the mixed-religion (Hindu & Christian) Indian couple who serves as their housekeeper/cook and; 3) Frank's involvement in the destruction of the Indian townspeople's ...more
Another compelling read by Thrity Umrigar. She's just an excellent writer and I'm so looking forward to reading the rest of her books. This one centers around an American couple whose young son died, and all the trauma they go though subsequently and the toll it takes on their marriage. They move to India for Frank's job, but it's a thinly-veiled convenient excuse to flee everything they've ever known in an attempt to move past their son's death. India brings with it its own blend of challenges ...more
Thrity Umrigar is a very talented writer in terms of style. I love the flow of her prose. This book was quite intense. It really affected me. The type of book you can't stop thinking about, even when you're aleady half way through your next read. On the surface, it appears to be a novel about an American couple who suffers the ultimate tragedy of losing a child, then searches for redemption & healing in a foreign land. On a deeper level, it is a novel about the futility of trying to make you ...more
The Weight of Heaven is a great read. It is the story about an American couple who faces the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child under one parent's watch. The subsequent blame game, resentment, collapse of the bond they shared and ultimately putting their marriage on the line. In order to save themselves, they take up India. Along with her comes its corruption, pollution, unions, strikes, unique brand of racism, new friends and a dangerous obsession with their help's son.
I really like the wa
The pain of grief and loss of his seven-year old son drives Frank nearly mad. He knows that he cannot remain in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the memories wil swallow him whole. So, He and his wife Ellie take the opportunity to move to India where he runs the HerbalSolutions plant in a small town. They make friend and settle in. Frank becomes obsessed with the son of his servants, Ramesh, in an attempt to deflect the pain of his not having his son. Problems occur involving the ethics of the factory ...more
Mandi Buss
This book seriously blew me away. I finished last night at 3am and could not sleep afterward. I love Umrigar's writing style, which is so fluid and kind of poetic. Her insights into the insanity of parental grief were sharp and honest. I think Umrigar understands and translates the complexity, mystery, beauty and ugliness in dyads better than any other author I've read. This book was incredibly painful to read. And that's only considering the implications at the level of the individual character ...more
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A journalist for seventeen years, Thrity Umrigar has written for the Washington Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other national newspapers, and contributes regularly to the Boston Globe's book pages. She teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University. The author of The Space Between Us, Bombay Time, and the memoir First Darling of the Morning: Selected Memories of ...more
More about Thrity Umrigar...
The Space Between Us The World We Found The Story Hour If Today Be Sweet Bombay Time

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“India, she now knew, would not be content staying in the background, was nobody's wallpaper, insisted in interjecting itself into everyone's life, meddling with it, twisting it, molding it beyond recognition. India, she had found out, was a place of political intrigue and economic corruption, a place occupied by real people with their incessantly human needs, desires, ambitions, and aspirations, and not the exotic, spiritual, mysterious entity that was a creation of the Western imagination.” 9 likes
“أتعرف ماهي القوة الأكثر خطورة في هذا العالم يا عزيزي ؟ إنها ليست القنبلة الذرية. إنه الإنسان الحرّ فعلاً. ذلك هو ما عليك الاحتراس منه” 2 likes
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