Shelves: cherished , india , gave-me-misty-eyes , melancholia , human-drama , asian-literature , man-booker-shortlist-longlist , by-women-who-matter , releases , dsc-prize "It was as if Udayan were there, speaking to him, teasing him. He felt their loyalty to one another, their affection, stretched halfway across the world. Stretched perhaps to the breaking point by all that now stood between them, but at the same time refusing to break. It will help if you have ever felt rudderless, adrift in a sea of anonymous human faces, unable to come to terms with a painful event, its aftermath too profound and terrible for you to grasp at once. It will help if you are carrying on with a half-life thousands of miles away from the land of your birth, toeing the line of divide between two distinct yet similar worlds.
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Part I[ edit ] Raised in Tollygunge in Calcutta , brothers Subhash and Udayan are inseparable; they find joy in fixing and listening to radios, learning Morse Code , and looking out for each other at school. When they leave home for university studies, their ideologies are challenged; Udayan embraces the Naxalite Movement while Subhash is more interested in further education in preparation for his career and leaves for graduate studies in Rhode Island.
Subhash learns that despite the massive bloodshed as a result of the Naxalite Movement, all attention from the press is focused on the Vietnam War ; this becomes crystal clear to him when his roommate Richard, an earnest student activist, ignorantly remarks "Naxalbari? Part II[ edit ] Gauri, who meets Udayan through her brother, is at first apathetic to him. As time passes, however, they talk and trade ideas. Udayan proves his love for Gauri when he waits for her indefinitely outside a movie theater.
He learns that she is a single mother, separated from her husband Keith. Shortly after beginning his third year, Subhash learns from his parents in a letter that Udayan has been killed.
Part III[ edit ] Subhash returns to Calcutta to find Gauri staying with his parents, who do not treat her with respect. His mother Bijoli and his father plan to take the child and forsake Gauri. He asks what happened to Udayan but parents refuse to tell him but Gauri does tell him after initially offering some resistance.
The police chief orders his parents and Gauri onto the street and threaten to kill them if Udayan does not surrender himself. Udayan, nearby in the water, surrenders and is subsequently shot and killed.
She distracts herself, however, by going to the nearby university and sitting-in on philosophy lectures. She then gives birth to Bela. Shortly after, Subhash and Gauri have sex for the first time, although it is unsatisfying for both parties. Subhash proves to be an outstanding parent to Bela, and this causes Gauri discomfort knowing that he is not her biological father.
When Bela is four, he runs into Holly and Keith again, but they merely exchange greetings. Gauri begins to attend graduate school when Bela is five and Subhash agrees to find time to watch Bela. Gauri meets professor Otto Weiss, who notices her talent and encourages her to pursue a doctorate, which she does. Gauri also becomes uneasy with keeping Bela in the dark regarding Udayan and when she expresses this to Subhash they agree that they will tell her one day together. One day, when Subhash returns home early, he learns of this neglect and gives Gauri the silent treatment.
However, one day, while Bijoli is in a trance, she asks Bela where her father is before snapping out of it, almost revealing the truth. Bela sees pictures of Udayan and asks Subhash who it is. He responds that he is Udayan, her deceased uncle. During their final days in Calcutta, they go shopping for gifts for Bijoli and Gauri. When they return to Rhode Island, they learn that Gauri has left.
She leaves a note in Bengali telling Subhash that he has been a fine father and that he should raise her alone and that she has left for California. As Bela comes of adolescent age, she begins to become more mentally unsound and needs the assistance of a psychologist. She recovers, and during high school, Bela becomes very active in club activities. For college, she attends a Midwest liberal arts school.
After graduating, Bela lives a nomadic life, traveling around the United States advocating for conservation of the environment. Part VI[ edit ] After bouncing around all of California teaching, Gauri finds a stable job teaching at presumably one of the Claremont Colleges. Gauri contemplates reaching out to Subhash, Bela, and her friends but never does, living a mostly solitary life. After becoming a notable name in her field, she draws some attention and one day, UCLA graduate student Lorna asks Gauri for help with her dissertation.
Gauri develops an ephemeral, lesbian relationship with Lorna, one that she clings to over the years. During his sixties, Subhash runs into Richard again. Subhash learns that Richard has continued his activism throughout his life and is a grandfather. Bela intermittently visits Subhash and Elise over the years. When she is in her mid-thirties, Bela reveals to Subhash that she is pregnant, but the father is unknown and she wishes to keep it that way.
This sends Subhash into a frenzy. When he does, Bela, upset and disgraced, walks out on him. After spending some time musing, she forgives Subhash and asks to live with him again in Rhode Island; he agrees. She gives birth shortly afterwards to a daughter she names Meghna. Part VII[ edit ] Gauri, in her later years, receives a visit from graduate student Dipankar who wishes to write a dissertation about the Naxalite movement and SDS and approaches her looking for a primary source Gauri attended Presidency before moving to Rhode Island.
She says that she will help him but does not want to be acknowledged. Gauri also learns of the recent death of Kanu Sanyal and she soberly remembers Udayan. Shortly afterwards, Subhash emails Gauri asking for a formal divorce, which she agrees is the best course of action.
Bela meets Drew and they two become engaged after a short courtship. When Meghna is out of earshot Bela tells Gauri she can not forgive her. Bela tells Gauri she knows Udayan was her father but that gave Gauri no right to walk out on Subhash and her. Gauri leaves the divorce papers; Bela is glad that she was coincidentally able to spare her father the pain of seeing Gauri again.
Gauri then takes a trip back to Kolkata , where, alone and in complete despair, she comes within a step of committing suicide. Later, after returning to California, Gauri receives a letter from Bela saying that Meghna asks about her, that Bela has decided she will tell Meghna the truth someday, and that perhaps at some point in the future, the three of them can try to meet again. When he sees certain rock formations, he is reminded of Udayan.
The final chapter revisits the day Udayan was killed. Udayan is no angel; he participates in murder. Despite this, he feels some regret, feeling that if he had met Gauri a little sooner, he could have saved himself from such a life.
As he dies, he thinks fondly of Gauri. The following month it was also long-listed for the National Book Award for Fiction , and revealed to be a finalist on 16 October USA Today said, "memorable, potent..
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Part I[ edit ] Raised in Tollygunge in Calcutta , brothers Subhash and Udayan are inseparable; they find joy in fixing and listening to radios, learning Morse Code , and looking out for each other at school. When they leave home for university studies, their ideologies are challenged; Udayan embraces the Naxalite Movement while Subhash is more interested in further education in preparation for his career and leaves for graduate studies in Rhode Island. Subhash learns that despite the massive bloodshed as a result of the Naxalite Movement, all attention from the press is focused on the Vietnam War ; this becomes crystal clear to him when his roommate Richard, an earnest student activist, ignorantly remarks "Naxalbari? Part II[ edit ] Gauri, who meets Udayan through her brother, is at first apathetic to him. As time passes, however, they talk and trade ideas.
When she became an adult, she found that she was able to be part of these two dimensions without the embarrassment and struggle that she had when she was a child. Her dissertation, completed in , was entitled Accursed Palace: The Italian palazzo on the Jacobean stage — Lahiri lives in Rome  with her husband and their two children, Octavio b. The stories address sensitive dilemmas in the lives of Indians or Indian immigrants, with themes such as marital difficulties, the bereavement over a stillborn child, and the disconnection between first and second generation United States immigrants.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – review