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Booker_Conversations

2013 Booker Conversations: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Booker_ConversationsThe 2013 Booker Conversations is a series of in-depth, spoiler-free discussions between BookerMarks bloggers about this year’s nominated titles.

Today, Aaron Westerman, Penny Kollar, and Michelle Williams partake in an in-depth spoiler-free discussion about Lhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Lowland.

Aaron is Opinionless. Except of course when it comes to books or movies. He’s the co-founder of Typographical Era where he blogs on a regular basis about the latest in translated literature, foreign cinema, and more.

Penny is 1/3 of the Literary Hoarders that works in research administration by day and dreams often of reading and working amongst books full time.

Michelle is an avid “reader” of books and a “rider” of bicycles. When she is not cycling you can catch her reading and when she is not reading, well, she is probably pedaling about somewhere. Her blog, A Reader and A Rider journals her reviews of literary fiction.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland tells the deeply moving story of two Indian brothers whose lives are forever changed by a tragic event that threatens to tear the very fabric of their family apart. It’s about how we get stuck, unable to shed the ties that bind us and leave the past where it belongs, but it’s also about misunderstanding and miscommunication, and what happens when lives are built around false assumptions.

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2013 Shortlisted: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki #5

A_Tale_For_The_Time_BeingRating: 4
A Tale for the Time Being

A Novel by Ruth Ozeki
2013 / 432 Pages

Ruth Ozeki’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted title has been a favorite among BookerMarks members this year.  With such a richly layered and intricate plot, it’s difficult not to get sucked into this novel of hope, friendship, and family in the modern world.  Split between two narrators, A Tale for the Time Being introduces readers to Nao, a teenage girl living in Tokyo, and Ruth, a writer living on the Pacific coast of Canada.  Even though the two have never met, their lives are inextricably connected when Ruth finds Nao’s diary on the ocean shore, carefully wrapped and sealed within a freezer bag.  As Ruth reads Nao’s story, she develops a deep kinship and sense of concern for this Japanese girl.

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The_Lowland

2013 Shortlisted: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri #3

The LowlandRating: 4.5
The Lowland
A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
2013 /352 Pages

You say you want a revolution

It’s said that no good deed should ever go unpunished. It often feels as though even those who set out with only the purest and noblest of intentions in mind will ultimately be met with either a compromised failure or an unmitigated disaster at the conclusion of their journey. The real truth probably lies somewhere in between these two statements. A sense of disappointment arrives from the realization that the thing we seek to change is far too intrinsic to ever bend to our will. Then, as a direct result, a punishment is self-inflicted, a constant recurring reminder of a failure to understand and accept the truly limited nature of our role in the larger world.

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2013 Longlisted: Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Almost_EnglishRating: 2.5
Almost English

A Novel by Charlotte Mendelson
2013 / 391 Pages

Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, Almost English presents the tension and identity crises that occur within a blended, multicultural family.  While 16 year-old Marina might identify as English on paper, her family life and heritage is much more complicated.  Marina’s mother, Laura, married a Hungarian man named Peter, but his binge drinking and general lack of enthusiasm for family life left Marina fatherless for the majority of her upbringing.  And the life of a single mother hasn’t been easy for Laura, either, especially considering that they are still very closely tied to Peter’s family.  Marina and Laura have lived with Peter’s mother and her two sisters in a tiny London apartment since Peter’s abandonment, which has propelled them into a sort of cultural limbo.

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