Fall is upon us and if we see in the changing leaves the “vivid hues of cayenne and turmeric and ginger pounded fresh every morning” it might just be because we are drenched in the prose of Jhumpa Lahiri’s long-awaited second novel, The Lowland, which debuted in September. One of America’s greatest contemporary authors, Lahiri’s previous works have brought to readers the complex, rich, mournful and eminently engaging lives of Indian immigrants whose struggles and passions are at once particular and universal. Her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, earned the young writer the Pulitzer Prize, her previous novel The Namesake was made into an award-winning film, and The Lowland has already been shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award Longlist. If these credentials aren’t enough, simply pick up The Lowland and you’ll be engrossed immediately in Lahiri’s restrained prose and intricate multi-perspective storytelling that follows a family through four generations and two continents as they attempt to come to terms with a tragedy.
The novel concerns two brothers, fiercely tied to each other in boyhood, though almost mirror images of one another in character and, as they grow, life paths. While one stays behind in India and joins a radical revolutionary movement, the other emigrates to Rhode Island to become an oceanographer, thus sealing the divide and perhaps bringing about the tragic event that will haunt the lives of all the characters throughout the rest of the story. As Lahiri writes of Subhash, the brother who leaves India, ““He had stepped out of it as he had stepped so many mornings out of dreams, its reality and its particular logic rendered meaningless in the light of day.” The Lowland is a perfect book for fall, full of the rich and varied hues of family secrets, politics, history, love and longing. Enjoy it with a cup of tea and a warm blanket.
About the Author
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and author of two previous books. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel The Namesake was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.