The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

75%

22 Critic Reviews

Her style remains the same — she writes clear and unadorned sentences — and their seeming simplicity stands in contrast to the novel’s epic generation-spanning ambition. Lahiri’s ambition pays off: The Lowland is a rich and rewarding read, perfect for an introspective rainy day.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

National Book Award Finalist

Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
 
Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up.  But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan—charismatic and impulsive—finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.

But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind—including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.

This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.  

 

About Jhumpa Lahiri

See more books from this Author
Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of three previous works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake and, most recently, Unaccustomed Earth. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.






























Author Residence: Brooklyn, NY






























Author Hometown: London; Rhode Island
 
Published September 24, 2013 by Vintage. 434 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 13 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Lowland
All: 22 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 04 2013

Though Lahiri has previously earned greater renown for her short stories, this masterful novel deserves to attract an even wider readership.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Siddhartha Deb on Sep 27 2013

“The Lowland” does not seem to be trying to be an epic novel. Although it plays with secrets and emotional turning points...it seems to possess no singular trajectory and no dominant idea beyond that of generational drift.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Sep 19 2013

By its end, this ungainly novel reminds us of Ms. Lahiri’s copious talents as a writer, however imperfectly they are employed here.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Anita Sethi on Jun 01 2014

The landscape, as well as the lives unfolding within it, is conjured magnificently...Survival is fraught for the humans, too, in this engrossing novel...Yet this is a novel in which the most tender of ties are torn asunder, and Lahiri traces these lives as they become haunted by the absence of loved ones.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by James Lasdun on Sep 12 2013

...it uses trauma and disclosure with an incomparably more subtle, liberating and regenerative power. It's well worth reading if you want to see what Lahiri can do with some of the same materials as those she deploys, to relatively crude effect, in this novel.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on Sep 07 2013

Perhaps Lahiri spreads her net a little too wide at times; there are sudden excursions into the viewpoint of Subhash's mother or Udayan, characters who have previously existed through the eyes of others, while Bela, the daughter, feels a little indistinct...But there is no doubt that The Lowland confirms Lahiri as a writer of formidable powers...

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 15 2013

Lahiri’s skill is reflected not only in her restrained and lyric prose, but also in her moving forward chronological time while simultaneously unfolding memory, which does not fade in spite of the years. A formidable and beautiful book.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Ariel Balter on Sep 13 2013

The Lowland is a story that examines profound questions about human nature, family, parenting, and love, as well as history and politics. The novel possesses both depth and breadth but is very readable, extremely moving, and doesn’t end with clear-cut answers. Expect the unexpected.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Oct 07 2013

The Lowland is a novel about the rashness of youth, as well as the hesitation and regret that can make a long life not worth living.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Ellah Allfrey on Sep 23 2013

Lahiri is an accomplished writer and though I felt, at times, disappointed, in the end I was sure that there is an important truth here — that life often denies us understanding, and sometimes all there is to hold on to is our ability to endure.

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Sep 06 2013

The greater problem is Lahiri’s prose. The story seems too often like an extended occasion for the writer’s artful displays (not that they’re always that artful)...The writing in The Lowland is everywhere ostentatiously quiet, extravagantly precise, distractingly ceremonial, at least when it’s not cloyingly precious.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Jim Carmin on Sep 21 2013

We are fortunate that Jhumpa Lahiri has shared her words with all of us, and with these words has created a masterpiece with “The Lowland.”

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Corinna Lothar on Oct 31 2013

Miss Lahiri’s tale of two places and one tormented family, unable to speak to one another of their mutual anguish, is a masterful accomplishment.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisa Moore on Sep 27 2013

Jhumpa Lahiri is a master of making the plainest language do double duty. What appears ordinary and unadorned begins to shimmer with menace as the story unfolds.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Patricia Hluchy on Oct 01 2013

Darkly hued fiction is commonplace in contemporary writing, but The Lowlands is sombre in a distinctly old-fashioned way; it’s not late-stage capitalism and/or environmental collapse that generate the misery in the novel, but rather that quaint concept of fate...

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Noah Cruickshank on Sep 23 2013

While The Lowland works on a structural level, it’s neither enlightening nor fun to read. Although the dramatic political change that happens in the background of the story provides a bit of a hook, Lahiri doesn’t delve into it, so the most interesting part of The Lowland remains frustratingly vague.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Zoe Whittall on Sep 27 2013

Her style remains the same — she writes clear and unadorned sentences — and their seeming simplicity stands in contrast to the novel’s epic generation-spanning ambition. Lahiri’s ambition pays off: The Lowland is a rich and rewarding read, perfect for an introspective rainy day.

Read Full Review of The Lowland | See more reviews from National Post arts

LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Porochista Khakpour on Sep 26 2013

If you are reading "The Lowland" for anthropological insights over all else, you might feel satiated. Even then, there are problems: Lahiri sometimes dips into cheaply microwaved otherness.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Donna Seaman on Sep 19 2013

Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri’s standing increases with each book, and this is her most compelling yet...

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We Love This Book

Good
Reviewed by Emily Webb on Aug 09 2013

The Lowland may not have the virtuosic lyrical beauty of previous Booker prize-winner The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, but with every deft leap from one character’s psyche to another, an irresistible human story accumulates that feels at once blisteringly specific and edifyingly universal.

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BookDragon

Excellent
on Aug 15 2013

Lahiri is remarkable, achieving multi-layered meaning in an act as simple as “banging the edge of the lid three or four times with a spoon, to break the seal”; this, her second novel and fourth title, is deservedly one of this year’s most anticipated books.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Zoe Whittall on Sep 27 2013

Lahiri’s ambition pays off: The Lowland is a rich and rewarding read, perfect for an introspective rainy day.

Read Full Review of The Lowland | See more reviews from National Post arts

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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