Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
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really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, location-india, booker-winners-and-listed, read2013, around-the-world, activism-and-revolution, reading-envy-podcast
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: PW 6/24/13

When this book was named to the Booker longlist, I was disappointed that it wouldn't be published in the USA until 24 September, far beyond when the shortlist was announced. But then I got a review copy of the audiobook from Random House Audio, and moved it to first in line.

The audiobook is read by Sunil Malholtra, who I hadn't heard before, but he does a good job capturing the characters of Subhash and Godi (sp?). I somehow had the tracks out of order, so my initial complaint as I was listening that the story glossed over too much of the opportunity for more in-depth examination of the characters wasn't actually accurate, I just didn't hear it until after I knew the end of the story. Whoops.

I didn't know a lot about the Naxalite movement in Calcutta, and the story revolves around one brother who is killed as a revolutionary. The other brother marries his wife and takes her to the United States where both of them pursue educations and raise the first brother's daughter. While Lahiri's previous works have dealt very intentionally with the theme of immigrant life, in The Lowland, that is an element but not the central story. It centers around the brothers and their wife.

The only complaint I have about the book is that I just didn't connect emotionally to the characters. Everyone had a coldness that I could not get past. While the characters make mistakes that have consequences, they never seem to really grow and change because of those mistakes. Instead they often pull back from their lives as if they can't stand the contact. I didn't feel sympathetic to any of them, and I would have liked to. I'm not sure it's the author's best work; it's definitely not my favorite, but it did make the Booker shortlist, so it has a 1 in 6 chance of winning that prize.

Discussed on Episode 6 of the Reading Envy podcast!
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Reading Progress

July 23, 2013 – Shelved
July 23, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
September 9, 2013 – Started Reading
September 9, 2013 – Shelved as: audiobook
September 9, 2013 – Shelved as: location-india
September 9, 2013 – Shelved as: booker-winners-and-listed
September 10, 2013 –
page 200
100%
September 14, 2013 – Shelved as: read2013
September 14, 2013 – Shelved as: around-the-world
September 14, 2013 – Shelved as: activism-and-revolution
September 14, 2013 – Finished Reading
May 31, 2014 – Shelved as: reading-envy-podcast

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