The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The flow of the book was like real life--that's the author's
strength: developing characters and a plot that are so real. Sometimes the ebb and flow of real life can feel a little monotonous though. That's the only thing about the story of these characters--there are certain parts I felt as if I could zone out for a minute, and not be totally confused. So while the pace beautifully matches real life, sometimes it can shock you with its emotion, or blur together in a sort of mind-numbing state.
But I was amazed how easily I got caught up in the story. Her writing will have you slipping into the flow of the narrative and not realize that you're actually reading, or how much time has passed. She is a beautiful writer, descriptive, painting the crowded, hot life of Calcutta or the idyllic Rhode Island.
The culture and background of political unrest is present enough to shape the characters, but not enough to become overwhelming--perfectly done. While she wasn't pressing any issues on the reader, one of the most fascinating parts of the book was seeing the characters in reaction to the consequences of their actions and surroundings--in this case it's powerful moral storytelling, where the characters are in difficult situations but don't always grow or develop as a result. Also watch for some symbology--in the ponds, in the footsteps in the cement.