Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

Title and Author(s):  Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland
Release Date: September 24, 2013 

Publisher: Knopf 

ISBN: 978-0307265746
Pages: 352
Source: Shipment of Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) which arrived at Harris County Public Library 

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Reasons for Reading: Come on, this is Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book! Check out my elation about getting my hands on the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC).

Summary: Subhash and Udayan Mitra are two brothers who grew up in Post-Partition Calcutta. Subhash, older by a mere fifteen months, and Udayan look alike. However, they’re very different people and have rather opposite destinies. In the 1960s, Udayan’s political fervor rises while Subhash seeks a scientific education in Rhode Island. In the midst of his studies, Subhash receives notice that Udayan was killed near their childhood home. Subhash returns to Calcutta to find the fractured Mitra family and Udayan’s widow, philosophy student Gauri haunted and stuck in those last moments of Udayan’s life. Subhash’s reaction and handling sets an extreme course for the lives Subhash, Gauri, and Mitra family.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Previously I’d heard of the Partition and of the Bengali people. However, I didn’t know much about the Partition of Bengal.

What I Liked: I was mesmerized by Lahiri’s writing style yet again. It’s as though she’s a Rembrandt of words! The way she understands her characters truly enthralls me. I was astonished by what a loving and caring man Subhash was. I’ve yet to visit India or Rhode Island but I have a clear idea of these settings.

What I Disliked: The story itself made me very weepy. I wanted to throttle characters. Most often, it was Gauri! However, Mr. and Mrs. Mitra weren’t my favorites, either. Also, it would’ve helped me if each section/chapter started with a date (at least the year) for when the action of the ensuing section took place.

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby 

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Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton | LibraryThing:

Clayton, M. W. (2008). The Wednesday sisters: A novel. New York: Ballantine Books. 9780345502827

Reasons for Reading : After I read The Four Ms. Bradwells, I wanted to read another Meg Waite Clayton book. So, I checked out The Wednesday Sisters at HCPL.

Summary: In the setting of late 1960s Palo Alto, California, five women gather at the park near their homes. Brought to the neighborhood by their husbands’ jobs, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally begin meeting Wednesday mornings. These ladies differ greatly – the narrator is the meek Chicago Catholic Frankie. She’s awful baffled by blunt, athletic Linda, Kentucky debutante Kath, brilliant Brett who never goes without her white gloves, and secretive Ally. Yet, they’re all readers and closet writers. Thus, at Linda’s urging, the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born. Not only do the Wednesday Sisters write, they also support each other throughout the years.

What I Liked:  After I finished this book, I wanted to start my own Wednesday Sisters Writing Socierty. I still adore the idea. Anyone who has asked me for a book recommendation has received this response “Have you read The Wednesday Sisters yet?

Also, I liked that only Frankie narrated. She talked of her attitudes and actions in past events even when they didn’t reflect well on her.

What I Disliked: A few sections, Frankie told of what had happened to other characters in the book. This nearly took on a third person omniscient point of view which seemed unnatural.

Other than Frankie’s husband, Danny, I had a hard time remember which spouse went with each Wednesday Sister.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Paperback Writer – The Beatles

Setting :  Palo Alto California, Hawaii

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Beth Revis’ Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis | LibraryThing

Across the Universe by Beth Revis | LibraryThing

Revis, B. (2011). Across the universe. New York: Razorbill. 9781595143976

One of my colleagues recommended this book to me. Since that’s not my favorite Beatles song, I wasn’t interested. Saying just as much, my coworker said it had little to do with the song. As I was “between books” so to speak, I pulled Across the Universe off the shelf and checked it out by the end of the workday. I began reading it on a Friday night and finished it the following Sunday. Did I mention it was around 400 pages long?

Sometime in the near future, our first narrator Amy and her parents embark on a trip, taking them from Planet Earth to Centauri-Earth. Since the trip takes 300 years, Amy’s geneticist mother and military father are frozen in time with cryogenic technology. Amy’s also put under. However, she has dreams and nightmares.

The second narrator is Elder, a teenage boy who has known only life in the Godspeed. He will be the leader of the Godspeed society when he grows up. When someone puts Amy and others out to thaw, Amy meets Elder and the others controlled by Eldest, the sinister tyrant. Amy and Elder team up to save the ship and their own lives.  

This book was quite the page turner. I liked the conflict, appreciated the questions that Revis asks of the reader, and mostly, I enjoyed the challenge of thinking. Of course, I didn’t care for everything and had a question or two after I finished the book. My coworker and I wondered if a sequel is on the way. I’ve since discovered there are more to come! My only other complaint was that Amy seemed a little immature for a seventeen year old girl. As Across the Universe is Revis’ debut novel, I will give her a break. Her next book will be better.

It’s worth mentioning that this book is for older teens. Some events within the covers are: mating/sex, violence, and suicide. However, I don’t believe the author championed any of these issues.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: YouTube – Across the Universe | The Beatles 

Places : Earth, Centauri-Earth, USS Godspeed 

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