Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Devastation in the Lowland (Honor and Obligation)

This is a tough one to tell you about because I don’t want to give away an important portion of the book that the plot hinges on. So, I’ll just say this. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri about two people drawn together by tragedy and bound by obligation and a secret.  It’s about struggling through loss and searching for individual fulfillment, love, and happiness.  It’s about a balance of Indian and American cultures.  It’s about the opposite forces of freedom versus commitment. Clear as mud, right? 

Hmmm. Maybe this will help. 

It's the 1960s in India.  Two brothers are extremely intelligent, but take different roads in life. Udayan becomes a ********. Meanwhile, his brother, Subhash, goes to ******* to ****.  In one letter he learns that Udayan booted traditions and snubbed his family.  To the shock of his parents, he ****** on his own, which is frowned upon, but the greater shock is yet to come.  A horrifying incident in the lowland brings Subhash back to India, and soon in an act of kindness he ****** his brother’s ***** who is *********.  And that’s the beginning of a new life for all of them.  Getting the picture, now?

What I can clearly tell you is that I liked this book.  I was especially interested in the Indian culture, history and traditions.  It was also thought-provoking to see how the secret played out, the different actions and consequences resulting from Subhash’s burden/joy.

As a side note, President Obama had this book on his summer reading list in 2015, which is what actually drew me to it.  Silly, considering that the true merit is the rumble this book caused in its own right. It was a national best seller and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

For those of you who are just as curious as me, here are the top five summer reads for President Obama in 2015:

       -All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
       -The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
       -The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
       -Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
       -Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

The top five summer reads for President Obama in 2016 were:
       -Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
       -The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
       -H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
(       -Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Happy Reading,


Questions or comments?  Email


  1. I have a read a few books by Jumpha Lahiri (Interpreters of Maladies and The Name Sake) and loved them both. This is on my wishlist, of course.

    I didn't know President Obama had a reading list, I loved both his books (The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From my Father) and have also read some of the books on his list, and others are on my wishlist. What a wonderful guy he is. I think we will all miss him a lot.

    Have a good weekend,
    Marianne from
    Let's Read

    1. Hi Marianne-- You're right-- President Obama will be truly missed. :(