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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: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri #4

Arthur Brown, BALCO, Colum McCann, Fredrick Douglass, gender, George Mitchell, history, John Alcock, Let the Great World Spin, Major League Baseball, national book award, Northern Ireland, TransatlanticRating: 4
The Lowland
A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
2013 / 352 pages

At some point, early in The Lowland, the narrator comments on lovely looking pastries and delicacies spotted with flies in a Calcutta shop window. This is, I think, an apt way to describe this novel. Life, at a distance, can look lovely, but when you get closer, you can see all its flaws. And sometimes, those flaws, don’t even really effect the inherent value of that life. But we will judge ourselves anyway.

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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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