The Lowland

  • by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Narrated by Sunil Malhotra
  • 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Namesake comes an extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: a tale of two brothers bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past, a country torn by revolution, and a love that lasts long past death.
Born just 15 months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.
But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind - including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.
Masterly suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga and a story steeped in history that spans generations and geographies with seamless authenticity. It is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.
Long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize


What the Critics Say

"Haunting... A novel that crosses generations, oceans, and the chasms within families... Lahiri’s skill is reflected not only in her restrained and lyric prose, but also in her moving forward chronological time while simultaneously unfolding memory, which does not fade in spite of the years. A formidable and beautiful book." (Publishers Weekly)
"An absolute triumph. Lahiri uses a gorgeously rendered Calcutta landscape to profound effect.... As shocking complexities tragedies, and revelations multiply, Lahiri astutely examines the psychological nuances of conviction, guilt, grief, marriage, and parenthood, and delicately but firmly dissects the moral conundrums inherent in violent revolution. Renowned for her exquisite prose and penetrating insights, Lahiri attains new heights of artistry - flawless transparency, immersive intimacy with characters and place - in her spellbinding fourth book and second novel. A magnificent, universal, and indelible work of literature... Lahiri’s standing increases with each book, and this is her most compelling yet." (Donna Seaman, Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

My least favorite of all her work.

What did you like best about The Lowland? What did you like least?

Maybe because I'm such a fan of her other work, I am more critical, but I thought this book was a bust.

I thought the characters were really dull and not fleshed out well. I certainly didn't sympathize with them, nor did I care what happened to them. I didn't get a good sense of their motivation for the choices they made- and overall it was just dull. That's the best I can say.

If you want to read Lahiri, I suggest starting with something else- if I had read this first, I wouldn't have gone back for any more.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jhumpa Lahiri again?

Sure- The Namesake is a masterpiece and 10x better.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Sunil Malhotra?

Yes, I thought he did a nice job.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?


Any additional comments?

There was a moment where a character goes through a big shift (sorry I don't want to write out a big spoiler, but it's about 3/4 way through and you'll know it when you hear it), and it was just so out of left field and silly, all I could do was roll my eyes. Usually Jhumpa Lahiri's characters are so complex, and through her writing you really understand them- good and bad. But here- it was like reading about a family of paper dolls. Flat and dimension-less.

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- Simeen "Avid reader and foodie. I read mostly fiction but thanks to my awesome book club I am branching out and finding some great books!"


Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend this book. I usually love her writing. The characters in this book were not particularly interesting. The characters all seemed one dimensional, never developed or surprising in any way. The story was a multi-generational study of an Indian family in Calcutta and the United States. It includes discussion of political unrest in India and how it affects the family.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was the most interesting part of the book.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was ok.

Was The Lowland worth the listening time?

One of my favorite authors but not one of my favorite books.

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- Linda B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-24-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio