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The World We Found

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,768 ratings  ·  804 reviews
Thrity Umrigar, acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven, returns with a breathtaking new novel—a skillfully wrought, emotionally resonant story of four women and the indelible friendship they share. Fans of Jennifer Haigh’s Faith, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, and Katrina Kittle’s The Kindness of Strangers will be captivated by Umrigar’ ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by HarperCollins
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Will Byrnes
Thrity Umrigar is the internationally renowned author of The Space Between Us, an impressive tale of class and family in India. In the World We Found, she widens her domain while still writing about caste, class, religion, relationships between women and the need to make difficult choices in life.

Amraiti, Kavita, Laleh, and Nishta were close friends in college back in 1970s Bombay (Umrigar’s birthplace). The world in which they lived was vibrant and dangerous. With great optimism that they cou
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this through First Reads and finished it in one day because I never wanted to put it down. I don't know what it is about books by Indian writers, but they seem more lush and intimate to me than many American or British authors.
Here Umbrigar is exploring the bonds forged by 4 women who came of age in the tumultuous India of the 1970s. 30 years later an illness brings them together again. As you would expect, there are lingering dramas, unclaimed passions and misunderstandings. All those iss
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This definitely wasn't my favorite Thrity Umrigar book. I did read it to the end, just to find out what happened. Although unlike others before me, I thought the characters were well filled out, and even interesting and varied. I did find it dragged on a bit, and I found the airport scene disturbing and unresolved, and felt I was left hanging at the end, especially about Iqbal's sister, who risked so much to help her sister-in-law. I think there could be a sequel to this novel, and I would proba ...more
Jeanette (Again)
Traditional attitudes still linger in India, but they're not held equally in all quarters of Indian society. Some Indians are more liberal than many Americans, while others cling desperately to the old ways and steep themselves in fundamentalist practices. Thrity Umrigar highlights that clash between the old and the new in this story of renewed friendships in modern Bombay.

Laleh, Kavita, Armaiti and Nishta were fast friends and fellow revolutionaries in their Bombay college days 30 years ago. No
Connie G
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the late 1970s, four women friends were politically active students in Bombay. Thirty years later, Armaiti has terminal cancer and wants the other three women to fly to her home in America for a bittersweet reunion. Laleh lives a comfortable life in Bombay with her successful husband and their children. Kavita, who has a secret relationship, is finally at peace with her lifestyle. Nishta, a Hindu woman who converted to Islam at her husband Iqbal's request, has become a virtual prisoner in her ...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a terrifically engaging read. Covers so many different aspects of life, like friendship, political activism, how and why people change, how they lie to themselves to stay with something that is not working. This book could have easily been maudlin and sad, concerning a group of four women who had been great friends and had drifted apart yet come together again when one falls ill, but instead it is a poignant and interesting story. Taught me things I didnt know, about Bombay, India and the 1 ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh my. What a powerful and moving read! I read this somewhat reluctantly for a book group, fearing it would be just another meandering 'women's friendship' tale, albeit with an exotic setting to add some interest, but it was SO much more than that! I'll never think of the tensions between social classes and religious groups in India (or other parts of the world) in the same way again. I didn't have to like the frustrated muslim husband Iqbal to understand the rage his situation engenders; and my ...more
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how I missed one of the finest novelists I've read in a long time. Having just finished this wonderfully compelling and beautifully written novel (which I read in less than two days because I was virtually unable to put it down!), I realize that I have found an author who I will want to go back and read everything she has written. I'm already making a mental note to look for her next book.

We meet four women now approaching 50 who have grown apart. One moved to the United States and
Emily Cait
Without spoiling anything: not sure if Umrigar was trying to start a discussion about how Muslims are depicted/expected to behave with Iqbal OR if this is actually Umrigar's idea of how Muslim men treat women (there are no other Muslim men in the book to offer an alternative POV).

Not sure how I feel about this book yet. Perhaps research + a re-read will help decide.
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
I wish there was a rating between "It was ok" and "I liked it". Maybe a 2.5 stars... an "I liked it in parts."

First what I loved about this book. I LOVED the premise of the book. How four friends (Laleh, Kavita, Nishtha/Zoha) connect with each other when one of them (Armaiti) is dying of cancer. I loved the fact that it is set in 1970s Bombay, a city in which I was growing up at the same time. I loved how it touches upon issues that we tend to sweep under the carpet, such as the compromises tha
Kim Fay
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my third of three installments of reviews of books by new (to me) writers I encountered at the Tucson Festival of Books. I was on a panel by Thrity and was enthralled as she discussed her novels. When I read "The World We Found," I was impressed by the tenderness shared by the characters. They felt real to me, with many flaws, but at the same time I liked how Thrity focused on the soft place in their hearts ... and by this I do not mean their weaknesses. This is the story of four idealis ...more
This book was just okay. I really enjoyed reading Umrigar's other book (The Space Between Us) and it's stuck with me, even a year later. Compared to SPU, this book felt kind of light and simplified. The characters were not as compelling--possibly because there are so many of them--and the plot took a long time to get off the ground. I thought that this was going to be about their time in America but it really is not: the book ends when they are just getting on the plane. It instead focuses on
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
a middle-aged woman who immigrated from india to the u.s. for college has been diagnosed with an inoperable terminal brain tumor. she decides that she wants to see her three best friends from her youthful days as a socialist revolutionary again before she dies. two of the friends are easily found. one is a successful, if closeted, architect. the other seems to have no job other than a weekly volunteer gig at a women's shelter, but she is all feisty & independent & leading a very comfortable life ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Don't look to this book to teach you anything authentic about India, Bombay or even young college-going youth in the 1970s which is where the four women Laleh, Kavita, Nishta and Amraiti are supposed to have forged their bond. Characters seriously lack dimension and the story-line is silly. The two Parsi protagonists are very (upper) middle class Mumbai and imho pretentious.

The characters go to college (and presumably obtain a nondescript 'degree') only as a waystation en route their ordained p
Apr 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ugh. FINALLY, after too many weeks, finished THE WORLD WE FOUND, by Thrity Umrigar. Dull, anticlimactic, annoying. The premise was great: 4 women who were great friends in college in India 30 years ago, are about to be reunited at the request of the one of the 4 who moved to America. That 1 has a terminal brain tumor and wants them all to be together again. The book ends before they are all together in America, and we are left not knowing when or if she dies. One of the women in India, a former ...more
Alison Smith
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not the usual Indian novel. It explores the adult results of four idealistic students in Bombay, confronting modern dilemmas 30 years on : impending death by brain tumour / lesbian sexuality in conservative India / Muslim/Hindu conflict in India / enforced purdah on Muslim wives; Muslim fundamentalism. Despite the list of heavy topics, novel was engrossing and very readable. see full review on my blog http://despatchesfromtimbuktu.wordpre... ...more
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
liked the book though had issues with the portrayal of Iqbal given that the other major male characters in the book were presented as almost ideal. something to think about.
Charlotte Guzman
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Ms. Umrigar's books and this was one of her best to me. My 5th book of hers to read and it wasn't a dissapointment. Loved the book loved the characters, everyone of them.
The story is mainly about four good friends that in growing up have lost touch with each other until one who has terminal cancer wants to see her friends one more time. The story then takes off and you hear the stories of all the characters fleshed out and how they come to terms with their lives and all the years in betw
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bonnie by: Joan Bain
Lalah, Kavita, Nishta and Armaiti were inseparable all during their college years when they worked together in India on socialist and humanitarian causes, played the guitar and sang, demonstrated, and flirted with boys. Together, they went from being girls of seventeen to young women of twenty-two. It is now thirty years later when this book opens and Armaiti is in the United States and dying. She has just found out that she has an inoperable brain tumor and her last wish is to have her three fr ...more
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this work. A story of four middle-aged people, four friends from college, thrown back once more as one of them lies dying in the US. Their lives collide changing them, and in some cases, changing their lives forever.

The story of Iqbal was interestingly handled. Liberal, atheist, in love with a Hindu woman. But soon realises that how sees the world has nothing to do with how the world sees him - as a Muslim man who's committed the biggest sin of marrying a Hindu woman. Hounded by society,
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Armaiti, an Indian woman who moved to the US years ago and is married with a daughter, discovers that she has a brain tumor and not long to live. She invites her old friends to come and visit before she dies. The friends haven’t been in contact with each other for about twenty years. Since they went to university together and were all involved in student protests, these are the people Armaiti would most like to see again.

The three friends, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta, live in India. The former two
Becky R.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
As my first Thrity Umrigar read, I was well aware of the number of novels she had already written, and I don't think this will be my last. In short, the writing was robust and touching, but often in such subtle ways that the story snuck up on me.

The story follows the story of four friends, three who live in India and one in America who is dying of a brain tumor. The three in India want to travel to America to see her before it is too late, but one of their friends has married and converted into
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to receive this book as a Goodreads giveaway. I was especially thrilled to win an advanced copy because The Space Between Us is one of my top five favorite books ever. I was not disappointed with The World We Found. It was well written but also very easy to read. Ms. Umrigar excels at portraying realistic relationships, particularly female friendships. She draws you into caring for the very human characters she writes about.

The World We Found is about four female friends who g
Tara Chevrestt
What I really liked about this novel is the way one thing led to another.. One woman, imprisoned by her health, by her declining body leads to the release of a woman imprisoned by her marriage..

This novel follows six people, four women, two men. The four women were once the best of friends, but time and distance has split them up. However, they still think of each other and more so when it's discovered that one of them, Armaiti, the one in America, is dying of a brain tumor.

This story was anothe
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this lady can really write! This is the second book of hers that I’ve read and there are 2 more on my shelf. I can't wait to get to them. I agree that it’s a dazzling masterwork. She has a great writing style, is wise and so real. I can’t stop thinking about the different characters and the choices they made. I highly recommend this book.
We are of the thought that India has turned modern in the turn of this century. Ms Umrigar's story relates to the India of the 1960 and it was amazing to know that the problems that exist now did exist then too but the manifestations were different. It had a different hue to it. People who were rich enjoyed the privileges and had the power and the right circumstances to make decisions and the middleclass still struggling to uphold values over anything else.

Five friends Armaiti who left behind he
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
The novel takes place in modern day India and United States. One of four friends (the one in the U.S.) is dying of brain cancer and wants the other three to visit her. They were close in college, bound together in a common cause - to bring forth a New India. They were politically active socialists who pled for equality for all citizens. They were in marches where the police beat them and they were hospitalized or arrested. They had ideas and dreams of the way the world should be.

Fast forward nea
melanie (lit*chick)
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Having liked her previous novels, I had high hopes that this would be the ONE I would love. I already knew Ms. Umrigar's strengths include vivid character development and the ability to draw the reader in from the beginning. I am never disappointed by the first half of any of her work. And in this case the same pattern held, The World We Found is just plain readable, up to a point. I cannot say exactly when, but there was a subtle shift when it became both unfocused and forced. The big picture i ...more
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
For years friends have pressed books by Indian authors on me and my resistance has been firm and unyielding. I think I feared tales of poverty and oppression and just didn't want to face subjects that I perceived to be total downers. But this week the light turned on; the earth moved; and my unreasonable bias lifted--all thanks to the grace and charm of Thrity Umrigar's physical presence and luminous writing.

I attended an author lunch (featuring her new book) with reserve. I enjoy hearing any au
This is about four women who went to university together in Bombay, India in the 1970s. They considered themselves revolutionaries at the time. In the end, one of them (Armaiti) moved to the U.S., two (Laleh and Kavita) remained friends, and one (Nishta) separated herself from the others after she, a Hindu, married a Muslim (and a mutual friend to them all). Fast-forward to current day and Armaiti has contacted them in hopes they will come visit before she dies of cancer.

I really enjoyed this.
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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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Her Favorite Books About India: Step out into the teeming streets of Mumbai in The World We Found and peruse the author's top five books about her...
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“Life happened. In all its banality, brutality, cruelty, unfairness. But also in its beauty, pleasures and delights. Life happened.” 15 likes
“What she had believed was indignation or rage or a deep intolerance for injustice came down to this: she was irreducibly in love with this bewitching planet, this thrilling life, this heartbreaking species she belonged to, with its capacity for stupefying destruction and breathtaking magnanimity.” 13 likes
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