My introduction to Lahiri was her third book, a collection of short stories called Unaccustomed Earth. It’s, frankly, the best book of short stories I’ve ever read. The Lowland is her most recent book, her fourth. She’s notoriously languid in her publishing schedule – she’s published two short story collections and two novels over fourteen years. But this one is her second novel; it’s the story of two brothers from India; one goes to America for an education while the other stays in India and becomes increasingly politically radicalized. And there’s really nothing else I need to tell you about the plot. You see, I read Lahiri for her astonishing ability to create mood and evocative images. There are images from Unaccustomed Earth that, several years after I encountered them, continue to haunt me with their beauty and power. And this book too has moments of incredible beauty and power. It takes longer to get into than Unaccustomed Earth does. Obviously, as a novel versus a book of short stories, the pacing is just different and the story unfolds much slower. I’d recommend a book of short stories as your intro to Lahiri, but definitely get into her stuff and start reading. And get to this one at some point. It’s gorgeous, striking, evocative. Lahiri’s writing is shot through with a deep, melancholy sadness, but it never lapses into despair. This book, like everything else I’ve read by her, radiates empathy with humanity and the struggles it faces, the sadnesses it experiences. It’s, again, like everything I’ve read by her, a masterpiece. Great literature is still around today and Jhumpa Lahiri is one of its practioners. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.