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‘The Lowland’ by Jhumpa Lahiri labeled boring by a few and praised by others

Book Cover
Knopf

The Lowland, a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri

Rating:
Star1
Star
Star
Star
Star

(Current fiction & past quality fiction)

Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of three previous works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake and, most recently, Unaccustomed Earth. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.

Unfortunately, her current book can charitably be characterized as boring. In fact, Examiner felt embarrassment for the lady because the excerpt circulated by her publisher’s parent, Random House, to promote the book was also boring.

Fortunately, Jhumpa Lahiri has a loyal following, and on the day Examiner checked Amazon, of 653 customer reviews, 284 were favorable; 191 almost favorable, and 178 not so pleased. In fairness, 22 agreed with Examiner – boring. For example, Debbie Covey of Seattle wrote: “I love the writing if Jhumpa Lahiri. I have read every one of her books and think she is a gifted brilliant writer. But I found this book boring and disconnected. The characters were flat and uninteresting. I was very disappointed.”

"The Lowland" (Knopf) by Jhumpa Lahiri cannot be recommended by Examiner.

The hype for the novel is written better than the novel: “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.”

Here are a few lines from the novel: All over the world students were gaining momentum, standing up to exploitative systems. It was another example of Newton’s second law of motion, he joked. Force equals mass times acceleration.

Manash was skeptical. What could they, urban students, claim to know about peasant life?

Nothing, Udayan said. We need to learn from them.

Yep! And one of things to be learned is don’t write boring stuff.