Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lowland, An Experience To Savor; a Review

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The Lowland.


Author    :  Jhumpa Lahiri
s      : 340
Price       :  Rs. 499.
Publisher :  Random House India.
Rating     :  4.5/5
Longlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2013.

It's always a delight to read an author of repute like Lahiri. And with her second novel, The Lowland, the experience continues albeit in a different manner. Unlike her previous works, this one is more wordy and meandering at times. Nevertheless, it makes an intense plot, which, in its own beautiful pace, engulfs the reader through its exquisite language. Longlisted for the Year's The Man Booker Prize, the novel is a pure literature read. My favorite Lahiri reads are The Interpreter of Maladies and The Unaccustomed Earth followed by The Namesake, and how I hoped for The Lowland to escalate the ladder and sit on the top of the list, alas it does not.

In this tome Lahiri writes about the cruel life that's entwined by the past. The story revolves around two brothers, a political turmoil, a woman's love- her heartbreak and guilt, a couple in wrong marriage, a mother's abandoning of her child, a daughter's acceptance of reality. It's about a death that affects three lives and disperses an entire family. Like her preceding works, this too speaks of immigrants experiencing the living at a far remove. She diligently details the Naxalite movement of 1960's Calcutta and narrates gorgeously the life in Rhode Island.

It enhances the impact of being in wrong choices. Here I say "being", since making a choice coerces one to live it, unless one does something constructive to get out of it or correct it. In The Lowland, the characters choose to live their wrong choices for years. 
You might relate to the characters many times and might loathe them for their actions at other times.

The character sketching is impeccable albeit with a bit of sporadic drag in the narration. The nuances and the texture of the story builds an atmosphere that grips the reader's attention. The mundane elements showcased impart life to the settings and characters. Lahiri eschews the use of quotation marks for dialogues, a style that reminds of Cormac McCarthy, although, you do come across semi-colons and other punctuation, which are always absent in McCarthy's writings. 

s is a poignant novel that needs to be read at leisure absorbing each page, each word. It makes you sit up and think about the life you have lived and the one you are living. The Lowland is an absolutely recommended read.

This is a part of the Review Program By MySmartPrice/Books


  1. Sounds interesting! Will def. pick up soon :)

  2. I have read one of earlier works. Your review seems positive to me, I will pick it up at the first opportunity.

    1. You wont be disappointed, let me assure :)

  3. Wow! Seems to be pretty interesting!

  4. I have been thinking of reading this one too! What most appeals to me of her writings, as you have rightly pointed out too, is that we can relate to the characters! I have enjoyed her previous books...this one is in the pipeline esp after this lovely review :)

    1. Go ahead Aditi and let me know your experience :)

  5. This is a book that's waiting in my reading list. Nice review.


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