Many years ago, when on a gap year before starting university, I travelled around India. My time there was something of a rollercoaster – extreme highs were followed by extreme lows – but almost a decade later the country still holds a very dear place in my heart.
Despite spending some time in India it’s a country that still fascinates me, and thus I adore reading books set in this foreign land. Until the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announced their shortlist, Jhumpa Lahiri is not an author I had previously come across and it was through deciding to read the six shortlisted books that I was to read The Lowland.
Also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Lowland tells the story of two brothers – Subhash and Udayan, who grew up on the suburban streets of Calcutta. Inseperable as children, as they reach adulthood the brothers’ lives take very different paths. Udayan becomes involved in the communist movement sweeping West bengal, while Subhash moves to Rhode Island to study for a PHD, never to return to live in his native country.
A melancholy tale, The Lowland is written beautifully and is an exquisite exploration of how decisions – both big and small – can ultimately change one’s life.