Award winning author and Book Club Extraordinaire member, Carol Ferring Shepley introduces her new book Lori's Lessons: What Parkinson Teaches About Life and Love.
"The pleasure of The Lowland is the tension between the political and the personal, the novel's consistent demonstration that the moment may be all that is, but that our individual choices matter intensely, that the knitting together of our relationships through both personal and political actions are crucial to the stories of our lives," writes Anita Felicelli on The Lowland in the Oct. 9, 2013, Los Angeles Review of Books article.
Read BExtraordinaire Blog for more reviews on our next book club selection.
Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri was born July 11, 1967 in London, the daughter of Indian immigrants from West Bengal. Lahiri was three when she moved to Rhode Island. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English literature, from Barnard College. She went on to obtain master’s degrees in English, creative writing and comparative studies in literature and the arts and a doctorate in renaissance studies from Boston University. The New Yorker has published many of her short stories including “Brotherly Love” in June 2013 about Subhash and Udayan.
She received the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, The New Yorker Debut of the Year and the Guggenheim Fellowship.
She is married with two children and lives in Rome.
is reading "The Lowland" written by Jhumpa Lahiri for May 15, 2014.
According to Lahiri, the seed for The Lowland grew out of a story in the news of the execution of two brothers in front of their parents and other family members during the repression of the Naxalites during the 1970’s by the India government. And although, she was drawn to the story in 1977, two years before her first book, “Interpreter of Maladies,” is published, she was unable to write it. After years of honing her writing skills and gaining experience as a storyteller, the story began to come together.
The novel examines the lives of two brothers, Udayan and Subhash, growing up in South Calcutta in the turbulent times after India’s independence from Britain. The inseparable boys, 15 months apart in age, lived east of the exclusive symbol of class difference, the Tolly Club, a walled and private country club built for British merchants and bankers. A lowland spanning a few acres separates the privileged and the working class and acts as a symbol of contrast between the different levels of society in Calcutta. The book opens with the boys scaling the wall to the other side into the golf course grounds of the club. They get caught by a policeman who gives Subhash a brutal beating. Is the moment the boys begin to recognize their own differences?
For the brothers, adulthood brings each a different path. Udayan joins the militant Naxalite movement and Subhash moves to the U.S. to obtain his Ph.D. The murder of one of the brother’s is at the heart of the narrative.
Lahiri continues the same themes as her prior works: dislocation and assimilation. The book’s characters struggle with displacement, identity and isolation, and the emotions immigrants and their families, near and far, as they try to reconcile family traditions in a different culture.
Author Quotes: Lahiri speaking about her identity and not being a "true Indian." "That pushed all my buttons," she says. "It's what I've struggled with: In India, I'm told, 'You look Indian, you speak Bengali, but you're really American.' In America, I'm told, 'You sound and act American, but you're really Indian.' "
― Jhumpa Lahiri from "For Pulitzer winner Lahiri, a novel approach " by Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today, AUG 20, 2003