Book Review: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

By: Priyarupa Sinha (LT MHPS)

Final Lowland cover.indd

Jhumpa Lahiri’s splendid novel, “The Lowland” begins in Calcutta. The story revolves around the entwined life of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan. Though physically indistinguishable, Subhash’s character is described far more cautious, conventional and placid in contrast to Udayan’s character, a dynamic idealist, who is blind to self-constraints.

The captivating narrative of the novel aptly creates an impressionistic portrayal of episodes which begins in the 1960’s with political rebellion called the Naxalbari, a movement which demands for a just society free from exploitation and hopes for an altered nation.

The novel advances through nearly fifty years of idiosyncratic and social change within one family through three generations. A mother, whose desire for freedom from the obligation of looking after her child override her ability to respond to the needs and affection yearned by her child; a father, whose tender bond and enduring love for his daughter supersedes his ability to be honest to her and a child whose personal needs unfulfilled by her parents, override her ability to lead a normal childhood.

The novel has been written in a precise and restrained manner and remains unbiased towards any character. The novel magnificently accommodates every minute detail which helps the reader to understand and easily relate to the characters involved.

This is one of the most brilliant, exquisite and poignant work of Jhumpa Lahiri. I completely endorse this novel and recommend you grab your copy too.

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