Review: ‘The Lowland’

the lowland

The Lowland

by Jhumpa Lahiri

  • Date finished: Oct. 11, 2013
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Year: 2013
  • Project: n/a
  • Reading List: Fall 2013
  • Grade: A
  • Thoughts upon finishing: 

I was super pumped to receive this ARC at the bookstore a few months ago. Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favorite modern authors writing right now, and so I knew that anything new from her would be solid. I wasn’t wrong.

The Lowland begins with the story of two young brothers living in Calcutta, India, Udayan and Subhash. As adults, they take two very different paths – one becomes a communist revolutionary, the other an academic living in America – however they’ll forever be bound by the love they share for a brilliant woman, and a life haunted by a terrible crime.

What I love about Jhumpa Lahiri’s books is that even though the subject matter is, literally, foreign to me, at heart, her stories are about family and nothing is more universal. This book is really about love and how it binds families together: the fierce power of that first love, a father finding love in a daughter that isn’t truly his, a family perhaps beginning to heal after decades of anger. It’s also about selfish love, whether for another person or yourself.

Since the book just came out last month, I won’t give away too much of the plot. But I can say reading The Lowland was a deeply satisfying experience, just as I knew it would be. Lahiri writes with a beautiful clarity that’s hard to find, revealing a true craftswoman. Her stories are also laced with a realness that makes even the foreign feel familiar. And so, if you haven’t yet read this, but especially if you haven’t read Jhumpa Lahiri yet…what are you waiting for?

Back of the book:

Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate. The Lowland is Jhumpa Lahiri’s most powerful, ambitious and unforgettable book yet.

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