Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Lowland” is a story of two brothers who grew up outside of Calcutta during the tumultuous 1960’s. Both of them studied hard and excelled. Subhash, the older brother, was quiet and studious and chose to continue his scientific studies in Rhode Island. Udayan, the more brash of the two, became a revolutionary.
When Udayan’s rebel activities end in tragedy Subhash returns to India to comfort his parents and to help Udayan’s widow, Gauri, who is with child. The story continues on, tracing the lives of Subhash, Gauri and her daughter Bela and explaining what led to Udayan’s death.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing is exquisite as always. The prose brings to life the sights, sounds and smells of Calcutta and Rhode Island. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the story in any way compelling. The characters were somewhat flat and I just couldn’t care about them or like them very much. They all seemed to be wrapped up in their own selfishness.
If you enjoy Lahiri’s writing and would like to learn about that time period in India it’s a good read. If you are looking to fall into the lives of the characters, not so much.