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The Far Field

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,777 ratings  ·  311 reviews
"The Far Field is remarkable, a novel at once politically timely and morally timeless. Madhuri Vijay traces the fault lines of history, love, and obligation running through a fractured family and country. Few novels generate enough power to transform their characters, fewer still their readers. The Far Field does both."--Anthony Marra, author of The Tzar of Love and Techno ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Grove Press
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Jillian No I wouldn't say so...there are some hints every now and then but I wouldn't call it a romance. It is more about a young woman's reflection on…moreNo I wouldn't say so...there are some hints every now and then but I wouldn't call it a romance. It is more about a young woman's reflection on herself as a person. Sorry!(less)

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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,777 ratings  ·  311 reviews


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Marchpane
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
The Far Field follows Shalini, a young woman who is adrift and grieving after her mother’s death, as she journeys from her comfortable home in urban Bangalore to a Kashmiri mountain village. She is searching for a man who had disappeared from her mother’s life years before. But while she seeks to unravel the events that led to her mother’s death, Shalini’s presence sparks danger for the local residents.

Madhuri Vijay’s prose is elegant and understated, and she does such an amazing job of evokin
...more
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Brianna Goodman

When you work at BOTM, you read …. a lot of books. So many that at times I’m not even sure which ones I’ve got in my bag. So when I grabbed The Far Field as an in-case-I-run-out-of-things-to-read-this-weekend, it was a rare moment of serendipity; I had no idea I was packing a book so wonderful that it would become my favorite read of 2018.

The Far Field follows Shalini, a young, fairly well-off Indian woman, who travels to the politically fraught region of Kashmir i
...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audiobook...narrated by Sneha Mathan..
.....great vocal!!!

Shalini, 30 years of age at the start, was from the city Bangalore, in India. She came from a wealthy family.
As a child - she remembers an animated traveling salesman - Bashir Ahmed - that visited her family. Bashir then disappears from their lives....wasn’t seen for a decade.

Shalini loved her mother - but their relationship was confusing to her as a child. Her mother had a strong vivacious confident personality at times - and down right
...more
Dianne
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love books about Asia and this one is a winner.

Shalini is a young woman adrift. Her beloved, mercurial mother has just died and Shalini is recently graduated from college, living with her father in Bangalore and going through the motions in a dead end job. On a whim, Shalini decides to track down a former friend of her mother’s, a mysterious door-to-door salesman who shared a secret bond with Shalini and her mother. Knowing very little about this man’s whereabouts other than he lived in a remo
...more
Ron Charles
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Far Field" is narrated by Shalini, who tells us at the opening, “I am thirty years old and that is nothing” — an acknowledgment that she is neither young enough to be innocent nor old enough to be wise. She delivers this searching story in a trance of sorrow, still stunned by the cruelty she witnessed and the disaster she precipitated.

Like Anuradha Roy’s recent novel, “All the Lives We Never Lived,” “The Far Field” is about the search for a missing mother in India, though it takes a wholly
...more
Nadia
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing this book everywhere - Instagram, Facebook, you name it... When I learnt it was set in India, I knew I had to read it.

The story follows a 24 year old Shalini, a privileged young woman from Bangalore, who, after her mother's death, decides to set off on a journey to find her mother's long lost friend from Kashmir. The narrative switches between the presence and Shalini's childhood memories of her eccentric mother. Finding a pleasure in mocking and
...more
Elizabeth
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Tl;dr: The Far Field has passages of gorgeous writing but pulls the novel equivalent of a hamstring trying to prove its point about privilege and what it does (nothing good) and how it blinds you.

The Far Field is the recollections of Shalini, a thirty year old privileged woman living in Bangalore who shares what happened to her when, as a twentysomething grieving the death of her mother, she decided to track down a traveling salesman from Kashmir who visited their home (and who her mother was fa
...more
Ana
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At the end of last year, I decided to actually use my NetGalley account and request eARCs: I read some amazing ones, two of which were written by new favourite authors: Meg Elison & Samanta Schweblin.

My first ARC for 2019 is Madhuri Vijay’s remarkable debut novel, The Far Field and I couldn’t be more thrilled: the writing completely swept me away, creating a vivid picture of the beauty of and the tragic and brutal conflicts in Kashmir and Kishtwar. It deals with social and political issu
...more
Rincey
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A 3, 3.5 star book elevated by a 5 star audiobook narrator

Watch me discuss this book in my January wrap up https://youtu.be/KzWZqocgqwY
Lisa
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The main character in The Far Field is a prickly, emotionally disconnected young woman who travels to Kashmir to seek a connection with her dead mother. Even though I was frustrated with Shalani, there is much to appreciate in this novel. Her relationship with her mother and separately, her father were vividly drawn. Both settings, a wealthy home in Bangalore and the mountains of Kashmir were new to me and eye-opening. Focusing on just one small area Vijay illuminates a complicated political lan ...more
Hayley Stenger
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Book is about the mid-twenties Shalini who goes on a journey to find someone after her mom dies.

This book was slow and long. Scenery descriptions were cliché and bland which is disappointing in a book about such a vibrant place. Plot points seemed highly manufactured (maybe the title should be "The Far-Fetched") and the potential to be interesting was mostly never realized. All in all really not into it.

I disliked the protagonist with a kind of detached distaste due to the fact that she was so
...more
Ygraine
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm struggling to find a place to start this review. in many ways, the far field is an evasive book, moving between failures in communication, missed opportunities to speak or act, moments in which characters slip beyond each other's reach, offering, in answer to the question, "what should be done?" only what has been done, and who has been hurt by it. in others, it is a brightly, sharply lucid book, carefully attuned to the nuances of caring and its boundaries, to grief and closure, to complici ...more
Trina
The Far Field is both strident and dynamic. This book is remarkable both in its content and its beautiful cover art. Shalini, loses her mother and then evaluates both her life and that of her late mother. During this evaluation, Shalini becomes curious as to what happened to one of her mother's dear friends whom she hadn't seen since childhood.

Shalini's curiosity takes her from her home in Bangalore and leads her to a remote village in Kashmir where she finds a connection not only to the villag
...more
Books on Stereo
Jan 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
A disaster on multiple levels.
Amna Ikhlaq
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital advanced reader's copy for review.

The Far Field is a fictitious story of a girl who goes searching for answers to the questions she has about the enigmatic life of her mother but ends up becoming deeply embroiled in the political turmoil of Kashmir.

Madhuri Vijay's prose is hauntingly beautiful. It took me quite a few pages to realize that the book was not actually a work of fiction because the characters seem so real straight off the bat. Th
...more
Karin
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story swept me away, it felt like I was watching a movie and seeing it play out in front of me. The characters and the setting felt very real. Really this is a 4 star read that i'm rounding up because I was so enthralled. The ending.... makes our main character out to be incredibly naive, but given her upbringing and how sheltered she is, I think I buy it. Regardless, I still found this enchanting, I hope Vijay writes more!
Daniela
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
What an unexpected surprise this book was!

This is the first time I read a book that takes place in India, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to request an ARC.

Two years after the death of her mother, Shalini our main character is still overwhelmed with grief. Looking back at the memories of her mother, she notices that the most happy ones about her, include the visits of Bashir Ahmed, a man from Kashmir, who comes every few months to Bangalore to sell clothes. Those were th
...more
John Caleb Grenn
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-2019
The Far Field is a book about India, and a book about India is a book about the world. Through the eyes of Shalini, Vijay teaches us what it is like to watch a naïve mind slowly unfold and open wide. Wide as my eyes at the end, wide as the marigolds on its jacket. It is about divides across a nation—and the misunderstandings that precipitate and perpetuate them. It is about privilege and education’s production of false positives—enlightened minds without an inkling of knowledge of what is happen ...more
April Perdomo
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book inspired just about every emotion in me. First, it took me a little while to get into it. Then, by the middle I was absolutely enthralled and loved every page. Yet, by the end, I was angry and then I little underwhelmed as I did not feel like it delivered on its initial setup.

The book is narrated by a young woman named Shalini. Throughout the novel Shalini is dealing with the grief of losing her mother. While working through her grief, she decides to seek out an old friend of her moth
...more
BookishStitcher
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not quite sure how to rate this book, it felt like it was missing something; it felt incomplete. It's beautifully written, but it somehow feels like it doesn't know what story it really wants to tell or perhaps how to tell it.

After losing her mother, Shalini slowly falls apart. She realizes to put herself back together she must revisit someone from her past. This story takes place as she travels through India and gives a harrowing political backdrop to the story.
Susan
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Shalini, a young woman who comes from a well off family in Bangalore, travels to a remote village In Kashmir to search for a merchant who used to visit their home and who had formed a relationship with her mother. After the death of her mother, Shalini seems to want to reconnect with her childhood and make sense of the complicated relationship that bound her to her mother. The book is about privilege and the intricacies of relationships set against the political milieu of the Kashmiri region ...more
Juanita
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a low burn for me, until the last 200 pages or so. It’s really sad and complicated. I feel like I learned a lot about the area near the Indian/Pakistani border, and the conflicts between the Hindu and the Muslims who live there. I was constantly googling things as I read. It ended up being a really haunting read.
Ming
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I knew within the first few sentences that this book would be amazing. It was immediately beautiful and immediately compelling. I so enjoyed being swept away into this story.

The writing was poetic and the storytelling beautiful. I would eagerly read the author's future work.

Some favorite quotes:

"How can I explain what it was to be around her at those times? It was like being sealed within an invisible, protective, soundproof chamber. I saw and heard and smelled nothing but her."

"I glanced at my
...more
Beverly
thoughts coming shortly
Jan
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well-crafted debut novel about a privileged young woman from Bangalore who lands herself in the midst of political troubles in Kashmir. I enjoyed both the family dynamics and the political and social backdrop.
Mary
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I have so many conflicting thoughts after reading this book. The setting of this story is unique. Set in Bangalore, we meet a young woman named Shalini who is processing her life in light of her mother's recent death. We journey with her as she sets off in search of her mother's old friend who lived somewhere in the region of Kashmir. The writing is beautiful--the descriptions of Bangalore and Kashmir vividly brought the people and scenery to life in my mind. It also touches on conflict as we se ...more
Karen
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read in a while. The setting took me into a world that I knew little about -- set in modern day India in Bangalore and Kashmir. I had heard of Kashmir, but really didn't know anything about the are or political situation / unrest. The plot and characters unfolded gradually in a combination of current setting and flashback. I won't give away any spoilers but it got me thinking about a lot of things including how well we really know people we interact with, how ...more
Caitlin Hall
Jan 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: botm-reads
I was really excited about this book, but couldn’t get through it. I wasn’t able to form any emotional connection or bond with any of the characters that made me want to find out what happens in their lives next.
Denise Cormaney
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I closed this book still feeling unsure. Did I like it? Was it good? I still can’t quite tell.

It’s well-written. I cared about the characters and the story. It takes place in a time and place I know practically nothing about, so I was interested to learn more through these characters. I liked her commentary on privilege and how we can be removed from the horrible things our government does while being willfully pampered and naive.

And yet. The characters always felt a little distant, like I was r
...more
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Madhuri Vijay was born in Bangalore. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and her writing has appeared in Best American Non-Required Reading, Narrative Magazine and Salon, among other publications. The Far Field is her first book.
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