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The Story Hour

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  8,299 ratings  ·  1,070 reviews
A profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Harper (first published August 1st 2014)
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Susan Zinner Yes, I agree with Nancy and note that the ending "I begins" is exactly the same as the beginning. Life is a story and it allows us to connect with eac…moreYes, I agree with Nancy and note that the ending "I begins" is exactly the same as the beginning. Life is a story and it allows us to connect with each other. She is hoping to tell her best story to save the marriage of her friends.(less)
Pree Bee I thought it was ok. Because I don't think it would have sounded / felt as authentic had it been in regular English. I know using dialect in books is …moreI thought it was ok. Because I don't think it would have sounded / felt as authentic had it been in regular English. I know using dialect in books is iffy, but personally I thought it worked, at least it worked for me. Also I think it brought out Lakshmi's character even more. What was even better was I listened to the audiobook and the narrator Sneha Mathan did a fine job with the accent and dialect.(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Linda
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, india
I was intrigued by the title of this book, The Story Hour. It reminded me of fairytales for adults. But Thrity Umrigar reveals far more. It is a composite of adults behaving as convoluted adults. And we pull up a chair and are in the mix of it.

Let me just say that, initially, I was so drawn in by this book. Some may find the dialect of one of the main characters, Lakshmi, to be off-putting and hard to follow. And there were a few areas of dryness. But stay with it. Oh, stay with it. Thrity Umrig
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Bonnie Brody
Aug 09, 2014 rated it liked it
As a psychiatric clinical social worker, I found this book somewhat disturbing. Ms. Umrigar appears to know what appropriate boundaries are for professionals in my discipline. However, she has her pivotal character, a psychologist by the name of Maggie Bose, go beyond what are acceptable boundaries by any standards. It felt as though Maggie was digging a hole so deep that she could not help but fall in.

Lakshmi Patil is a 32 year-old Indian woman who has come to this country after marrying a man
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Nicole~
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, america, culture, class
4.5/5
I have always been fascinated by this intersection of gender and class--how the lives of women from the working class and the middle-class seemed at once so connected and so removed from each other.
- Thrity Umrigar

The Story Hour is a compelling, close examination of the lives of two quite different women brought together under near tragic circumstances, whose progressive relationship forces them to reveal dark secrets and confront the flaws in themselves.
Lakshmi Patil, a dutiful eldest da
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Amy
Aug 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Stopped 2/3 in-- I realized I care nothing for these characters. Not only do I not care but I've learned very little about them. There's hardly any character development. It started off fairly interesting in that a therapist began treating an Indian woman who has been living in the states for six years. This therapist, Maggie, is African-American and married to an Indian man. She's also having a dispassionate affair with a white guy. She loves her husband yet keeps hooking up with this guy. She ...more
Taneka
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, adult
This was a really good read. More so about forgiveness than about anything else. Maggie and Lakshmi are culturally different. Both are married to Indian men, but Lakshmi is from India and Maggie is African American. After a failed suicide attempt, Lakshmi is sent to the University hospital and Maggie is assigned as her doctor. From there, an uncommon friendship begins.

I don't get how people don't realize that no two people are alike. Maggie is assigned to Lakshmi simply because she is married t
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Book Concierge
Lakshmi Patil is an immigrant with an angry, unloving husband and no family or friends. In her abject loneliness she decides to commit suicide. Maggie Bose is a trained psychologist who is asked to see Lakshmi in the hospital. Something about the woman touches Maggie’s heart and she agrees to provide therapy without cost. The lines become blurred as their relationship less professional and more friendly. Both women are hiding significant secrets – from themselves, from each other, from their spo ...more
Snotchocheez
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was ok


In her novel The Story Hour Thrity Umrigar weaves two women's stories together: one of them, a sad, engaging story of Lakshmi, a lower-caste Indian woman who is forced to marry a man she doesn't love and emigrate to the US. This story (despite Lakshmi's broken-English first-person narration, annoying at first, but develops a rhythm as the novel progresses) is by far the best of the two. The other story, of Lakshmi's clinical psychologist Maggie Bose, is hackneyed, over-familiar, and by the novel
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Karen
Dec 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
While interesting and at times moving, this book was so problematic that I can't bring myself to rate it more highly. My two main criticisms were a disbelief in the authenticity of Lakshmi's narrative voice,, and the profoundly irresponsible and disturbing messages about professional therapy.

Lakshmi's broken English and creative nuances in storytelling were charming, but I simply didn't believe in her grammar and syntax. I also was baffled that she spoke to her husband in this same strange diale
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Debbie
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: My friend, Carrie
Wow! What an amazing story! A new book to add to my "Favorites" bookshelf! Thrity Umrigar is one powerful storyteller! She had my attention and emotions invested throughout. A believable story with profound interactions between the characters. I had an intense affinity to these characters, especially Lakshmi. I couldn't wait to get back to this story when I had to pull away from it. I loved the ending! If you prefer audiobooks, then I highly suggest that you take a listen to this one! Sneha Math ...more
Erica
2.5 stars rounded up. This is another review I thought I'd already written but then found nothing in this space, soooo...

I didn't love this but it was a smidgey-bit more than ok.

The story behind the story is pretty neat: Lakshmi comes to America after some family strife back in India and hopes for a better life but finds she's caught in an unhappy marriage and feels excessively lonely. She tries to kill herself. As a result, Maggie is assigned to her for therapy because Maggie has insight to Ind
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Denise
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it


The Story Hour is a compelling story of two women: Maggie, an African American psychiatrist and Lakshmi, an Indian woman who lives in America. Each woman has secrets and through flashbacks reveals them in a timely fashion. This beautifully written tale is about love, friendship and mostly forgiveness. The many twists and turns in this story kept me engaged until the last page. I very much enjoyed the characters, especially Lakshmi as her role evolved in this story. It ends abruptly but on a hope
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Shilpi Somaya  Gowda
Another beautifully-written book from Thrity Umrigar. Lovely prose, authentic characters, and a heart-moving story.
Janet
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was loving the audiobook so much that I couldn't read it fast enough so I had to switch to the print edition. Thrity Umrigar is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. She is just so darn good at developing authentic and memorable characters. The protagonist in this story, Lakshmi, seems so real to me that I can picture her in this room with me. Thanks to a wonderful audiobook narration by Sneha Mathan, I can hear her voice.
This is the story of a poor immigrant woman from India who tries to
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Trudy
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars! (Wonderfully whispersynced)
Thrity Umrigar states she woke up one morning and decided to allow the characters of two separate short stories to "meet ". Fascinating, right?
This story cuts to the core of anyone who has ever had to maintain the rules of professional objectivity while dealing with another person who cannot fathom the logic of these rules.
This story reminded me of a snowball rolling down a snow covered mountain. It begins quite small, however get bigger, fatter, and fuller
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Andrea
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
Another great book by this amazing author, this one is the story of Lakshmi, an Indian immigrant, whose marital misery and homesickness overwhelm her. After a suicide attempt, Lakshmi is counseled by Maggie, an American woman married to an Indian man. While Maggie first feels that she is only helping Lakshmi, when her own marriage faces challenges, Maggie finds her relationship with Lakshmi more important to her than she realized.
My one reservation with the style of this book was the authors' d
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Patty
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Title...the Story Hour

Author...Thrity Umrigar

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Lakshmi is sad and tries to kill herself. She meets Maggie as her therapist but they become friends...sort of.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book was filled with Lakshmi's stories from India and her life there. She was so sad and didn't think she had love in her life and she really truly allowed Maggie to help her...just by being friends...and ultimately as she began believing in herself and changing her life.
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Fastener Gal
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
At first I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this novel and then "Bam!" I couldn't put the book down. And the ending...

I always love reading books that delve into cultural and generational themes, as in "The Space Between Us;" which is one of my faves by this author. The parallel lives of the characters, which I thought would be predictable, was an interesting twist. By the last page you hope for the ideologies that make us uniquely human: love and forgiveness.
Rachel
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wasn't really into this book from the beginning but because others had read it who rated it highly and I usually like the same books as them I persevered and continued. With so many books on my tbr list I'm sorry I did because I really didn't enjoy it at all and am pleased that it's over. I didn't like the narrative style, I didn't care for the characters and was confused by the way the author chose to end it. Onto the next....
Judith
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Though this is a really good book, it doesn't come close to the last book I read by this author : "The Space Between Us". Having said that, I have to add that the bar was set really high by that book, and I still enjoyed this book tremendously.

The story follows the lives of two women: one an African-American psychologist, and the other an East-Indian immigrant who is her patient after a suicide attempt. I love stories that contrast cultural backgrounds and particularly focus on the experience o
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Amy
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Lakshmi has been living with her unloving husband of 6 years in America, with no contact with her father or sister in India. Through a failed suicide attempt she meets Maggie, am African-American psychologist married to an Indian man. At first Lakshmi is afraid of Maggie because her husband has told her that black people are dangerous but seeing the kindness in Maggie's eyes, Lakshmi realizes her husband is wrong. Through Maggie's treatment and friendship, Lakshmi begins to live a life of her ow ...more
Hannah // Book Nerd Native
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will read all of her work. This was brilliant.
Mark
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
My first sample of this author. It took a bit, but I did grow accustomed to the author writing alternating voices and with a barely-speaks=English dialect for the Lakshmi character. I enjoyed the character development, and liked the protagonist, Lakshmi, a lot. The book is worth reading, I think.

I am puzzled by some of the negative reviews. One reader says they didn't like the book, because they didn't like one of the main characters. I didn't either, but think having a requirement to make all c
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Sarah
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
There are books that are emotional and then there is The Story Hour, which punches you in the heart over and over and over. And makes you long to know when and how the next blow will land. Umrigar writes first of Lakshmi, a young Indian woman trapped in a loveless marriage in America. Then of Maggie, an older woman in a life of achievement and satisfaction. Lakshmi attempts suicide and a colleague asks Maggie, a respected, successful psychiatrist, to visit her in an attempt to get her to speak.

M
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Sarah Obsesses over Books & Cookies
OH COME ON!!!!! how could it just end like that???
but it was good. SO GOOOD. The book was about two women, Maggie the therapist and an Indian woman, Lakshmi who tries to kill herself and Maggie ends up with her as a client. But soon it's clear that the two form a special bond but there's more. Maggie has her own things going on including infidelity and Lakshmi seems to be in a trapped marriage but as we observe their sessions and their individual lives everything gets complicated.

I loved this
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Minty McBunny
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, january-2015
This was a 4 star book while i was caught up in it, but after I'd finished and mulled over the problems with it, it was more of a 3 star, so I'll give it 3.5

I heard the author on NPR and thought the story sounded intriguing. I understand the use of dialect, though I did find it somewhat annoying. Lakshmi would think fluently, not in broken English, but I do get that the author couldn't switch back and forth without jarring the reader and eventually I just accepted it. I liked her as a character
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Akshay Dasgupta
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has it's share of ups and downs.

The Ups - Undoubtedly, it is beautifully written. Like most books written by other Indian - American authors, the story flows smoothly and it transports the reader into a different world. The characters are well formed and one can easily relate to them.

The Downs - The plot is all too familiar. An immigrant Indian woman finds herself lonely and struggling in America, a country as strange to her as her husband. The trials are again all too familiar as sh
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Elizabeth A
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
2020 Asian Readathon book #6.

Well color me disappointed. I'm a fan of the author, and The Space Between Us is a book I absolutely loved. She writes about cross-cultural encounters in ways that make me think - but alas, not here.

This is the story of two women in the US and how their lives entwine: Lakshmi, an unhappily married Indian immigrant, and Maggie, an African-American therapist happily married to a Bengali man. There are so many wonderful things that could have been explored here, but thi
...more
Beth
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thrity Umrigar's insightful writing is a pleasure to read.

"Dead people need to know we are still remembering them, otherwise they will feel lonely thinking we forgot them. That is why God gives us a missing feeling in the heart to keep them company"
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it

Storytelling and helping others was what Lakshmi did best along with her cooking and work ethics. Her life was a story to tell, and she had Maggie to listen and to learn from her stories.

THE STORY HOUR takes the reader through the lives of Lakshmi and Maggie...one the patient and one the doctor. The women met when Lakshmi tried to commit suicide.

Maggie broke the rules of patient/client protocol, but Maggie couldn't help it because she and Lakshmi were meant to be friends and confidantes. Maggie
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Stefanie
Thrity Umrigar is probably my favorite author ... definitely in the top five. I love how she articulates the clash of cultures, the immigrant experience, and how differences are challenging but surmountable when friendship and love cross cultural boundaries. The Story Hour was a little bit disappointing, however, perhaps because my expectations were so high. As other reviewers have noted, the use of dialect in Lakshmi's chapters was incredibly distracting. I can't profess intimate knowledge of I ...more
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Play Book Tag: TRIM TBR - The Story Hour / Thrity Umrigar - 5***** 1 7 Dec 28, 2019 01:49PM  

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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. Thrity is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize. She teaches creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve University. The author ...more

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