If you are a lover of beautiful prose and heartbreaking plot, The Lowland is a must read for you. I am so happy I was able to experience her work, it was honestly one of a kind. Lahiri webs together relationships magically, yet their prints aren’t left behind. The feeling is reminiscent of someone brushing your arm lightly; it’s quick and light yet you can still feel their touch minutes later. Identities and human nature unravel revealing a bare soul. Lahiri’s crisp, clean, yet beautiful writing made her novel a perfect choice for the Pulitzer Prize.
The Lowland focuses on two brothers Subhash and Udayan, born 15 months apart, growing up in Calcutta during the 1960’s. The younger brother Udayan, impulsive and free-spirited joins the revolutionary movement of the Naxalites. The Naxals are a rebel group formed against the Indian government, often fighting for the rights of the lower class. Subhash, the older brother and devoted son, goes to America to attend college and pursue a degree in aquamarine science. The story takes a turn when the brothers’ close relationship is torn apart through tragedy, leaving Udayan’s pregnant wife Gauri and a despaired family.
She saw that she impressed him, not only by reading what he gave her, but by talking to him about it. They exchanged opinions about the limits of political freedom, and whether freedom and power meant the same thing. About individualism, leading to hierarchies. About what society happened to be at the moment, and what it might become.
It is here the novel takes us into the lives of the characters of Gauri and Subhash living their lives together, yet so distant and separate. Subhash takes the responsibility of caring for Gauri and her child, but their relationship is strained and reticent. Lahiri bobs and weaves through the minds of both Subhash and Gauri, as well as incorporates flashbacks of Udayan. The reader gets different perspectives of the characters internally and externally. Through the beautiful narratives of Lahiri’s words, both India and America are twined together seamlessly.
Overall this novel is memorable. I am so pleased I was able to read Lahiri’s work, for it was magnificently crafted. The different characters perspectives really adds to the constant rise and fall of the plot. It was also interesting to learn about India’s politics going on during the 1960’s. I am eager to pass this incredible story along. Remarkably constructed, The Lowland is sure to be talked about for a while.