06 November 2011

Book Review in Brief: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

I think Thrity Umrigar is a tremendous writer.  I discovered her when she published The Weight of Heaven, which was one of the best books I read that year, and I've since gone back and read The Space Between Us, which is frequently touted as her best book.  Her newest book, The World We Found, will be published in January 2012 from Harper, and I liked it very much, indeed. 

Ahh, our college years--those halcyon days characterized by intense friendships, fierce ambitions and a determination to change the world.  Umrigar delves into the heart of those days at university in 1970s Bombay, as remembered by four women whose lives have ended up radically different from their collegiate dreams: one divorced and dying in America whose last wish is to see her three friends, two married and living in upper middle class Mumbai, and one whose difficult marriage has led to her long-time estrangement from their circle.  Painful secrets, both past and present, threaten to prevent their reunion in America and the author beautifully answers the question: what wouldn't you do for your deepest friendships when the call comes?  Blood may be thicker than water, but in this case Umrigar proves that friendship is thicker than blood. Pair all of that with her trademark clear-eyed probing into the socio-religious-political concerns of modern India and you end up with a marvelous novel that is fascinating and disturbing by turns. 

There's that old cliche: Good friends help you move. Great friends help you move bodies.   This is a book about metaphorical body moving (and eerily close to literal at one point) that shows that among this group of four women, there is no statute of limitation on friendship.  

NB: This book qualifies for my South Asian Challenge participation and I read it a few months ago in ARC form, free from my Harper sales rep. 


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog, I'm now following yours :)

    Armchair travelling through books is one of my favourite things to do, so I'm looking forward to your blog posts.

  2. Great review! I'm actually really interested in this one. Sounds like a good setup for a novel about friendship. Plus, I'm always looking to add books centered around different cultures to my reading list.

  3. Well now, if only I could convince you to read and enjoy Thomas Hardy, my work here would be done.

  4. Have been planning to read Thrity Umrigar for quite sometime now but never got around to it. This review is getting me interested.
    Am following you now.


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