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Far Field

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,346 ratings  ·  542 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, 448 pages
Published July 4th 2019 by Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 15th 2019)
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Deborah I don't think it was a manipulative move; she had been eyeing him for a while. Not sure why she did it--maybe an impulsive release of tension, maybe…moreI don't think it was a manipulative move; she had been eyeing him for a while. Not sure why she did it--maybe an impulsive release of tension, maybe gratitude, maybe just horny. In any case, I don't think the author made a very good decision here. After her playing around with Riyaz, another married man, it makes her seem very shallow and self-centered.(less)
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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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,346 ratings  ·  542 reviews


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Marchpane
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. Shalini 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 ev
...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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
"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
Rincey
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth
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
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
Nadia
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Christine
Shalini, the only child of an upper-middle class Bangalore couple, has stalled. Twenty-four, a college graduate, privileged and beautiful, she should be coasting into the next stage of her life. Instead she is mired in grief over her mother's recent death. Unable to find meaning in her work or her few friendships, Shalini hovers over memories of her mercurial, moody mother, searching for clues about herself. The only part of her past which moors her, the only time she can recall her mother's hap ...more
Lisa
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
“I am thirty years old and that is nothing.” novel’s simple yet devastating first sentence sets the tone of the novel. “This country, already ancient when I was born in 1982, has changed every instant I’ve been alive. Titanic events have ripped it apart year after year, each time rearranging it along slightly different seams and I have been touched by none of it…” — The Far Field, Madhuri Vijay
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Madhuri Vijay’s “The Far Field” blew me away — elegantly & exquisitely written, strong command of
...more
Sumaiyya
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will be recommending this one for a long time. Riveting, beautifully written and timely. Definitely on my 2019 favourites list.
Robert Sheard
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A staggering, devastating debut novel. Read it now!
Rebecca
Jan 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Vivek Tejuja
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly do not know how to review The Far Field. It is one of those books that has so much to offer that one doesn’t know where to start talking about it. The varied themes, the writing, the plot, the characterization, or even the way it often makes you think about your relationship with people and the world at large. To me, The Far Field is one of the best books I’ve read this year and rightly so.

I started the book with great trepidation given the negative reviews I had read online, but all
...more
Jessie
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written as the confession of a young privileged Hindu woman, who, while grieving the death of her indifferent, cruel, and miserable mother, takes off to the Kashmir in the middle of a military occupation (that continues to this day), in search of Muslim man her mother had an intense relationship with, and through her own privilege, ignorance, and entitlement, opens up a world of hurt on the Kashmiri’s she grows close to (champion run on sentence, I know 🏆). This book. That it was told as an admi ...more
Books on Stereo
Jan 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A disaster on multiple levels.
Anna Luce
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Elif Shafak, Ann Patchett, The Shadow Land, Self-Portrait with Boy, Purple Hibiscus
★★★★✰ 4.5 stars

“Over time, I told myself, I would try to deserve them all. […] I had chosen this place, these people, this life, with its secrets and its violence, its hardness and its beauty, and even thought I was not yet worthy, even thought I would never belong, I would not leave.I would stay and try.”


The Far Field is an exceptional debut novel. Madhuri Vijay has written a quietly intense tale that both conjures and conveys feelings of uncertainty.

After her mother's death Shalini becomes de
...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
Erin
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: botm
I have mixed feelings about this one. Despite its heft, it read pretty quickly, but I wish the author or her editor would have worked on the pacing of the story. It felt like the beginning and end happened really really quickly, and the middle just draaaagged on. It could have been about 50-75 pages shorter, and would have made the narrative stronger. I also don't know how I feel about the story as a whole; the main character did not seem to have any breakthrough or major emotional development d ...more
Amna Ikhlaq
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 actually a work of fiction because the characters seem so real straight off the bat. Throug
...more
Chitra Ahanthem
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a 4 and half stars for this one..

We start with 30-year-old Shalini being self deprecating: ‘I am thirty years old and that is nothing’. As a narrator, Shalini is terse and clinical but that is in parts and perfectly in keeping with the people she is talking about and the ambience she is in. She is dismissive of herself and comes across as a distant observer when she brings us the emptiness of a dysfunctional family.  
When Bashir, a salesman from Kashmir enters into Shalini and her mother’s
...more
Suus
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5* Beautifully written story. Very gripping. But very sad too. Would highly recommend.
Karin
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Diana
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
The Far Field [2019] – ★★★

The Far Field is a debut book of the Indian author Madhuri Vijay. It tells of a privileged young woman (Shalini) who embarks on a journey from her home town Bangalore, India to the Kashmir region in search of a man (Bashir Ahmed) who was once her family’s friend. While we follow Shalini’s journey into one region filled with political instability and conflict, we are also taken back and introduced to Shalini as a child. When Shalini was a small girl, she and her mother h
...more
MRIDULA
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay is one person’s journey to Kashmir, amidst political chaos. With a steady increase in the number of militants and the continued war between the locals and the army, Shalini (our protagonist) is looking for answers which are not exactly important in the bigger scheme of things.

Narrated in shifting timelines, Shalini’s eventful childhood and her journey through the mountains of Kashmir as an adult in need of some closure brings out the psychology of different people
...more
Daniela
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
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Reading Women: July - The Far Field 8 70 Aug 07, 2019 10:33AM  

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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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“I am aware that I am taking no risks by recounting any of this, that, for people like me, safe and protected, even the greatest risk is, ultimately, indulgence” 1 likes
“there were no images of screaming, angry crowds; no shots of policemen and soldiers advancing slowly shoulder go shoulder; no bodies sprawled in the street; no blazing houses. It was as if it weren't happening at all.” 0 likes
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