The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri is a sweeping novel, following some 50 years in the life of an Indian family. Growing up in Calcutta, brothers Subhash and Udayan were inseparable, but their lives diverged as they moved on to university. Udayan joined the radical, communist Naxalites, fighting inequality and poverty, and also married without his parent’s knowledge. Subhash, sensing the dangers and wanting to forge a life away from the shadow of his more charismatic brother, moves to the US to study for a PhD and remains there. We see both the traditions followed in life in Calcutta and the adjustments required of an immigrant to the US. Ultimately, Udayan’s risk-taking results in tragedy, which affects the lives of all those close to him.

Different parts of the story are told by different characters, enabling us to see multiple viewpoints. The book is beautifully written, as might be expected given its Man Booker shortlisting and most of the group loved it. Note that we all felt the book started slowly – it is worth persevering!

Our future reading list is as follows:

March –  Black Diamonds by Catherine Bailey

April –  Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

May – Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro

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