Lowland was not the unputdownable book for me. I had to put it down, after few pages. To take a deep sigh and look into the blank. To rehearse the characters and conversations in mind. To feel a little more connected with them. To hold their virtual hands and talk like real people do.
Ms. Lahiri sketched her 4 main characters at ease. She must have felt the same how God felt after creating the 4 primary colors to paint the universe. Each having a presence independent of other, but they bring out a different shade when blend with the other. Each shade had the freedom to stand out yet mingled. You left craving to experiment. Wonder how it would be to have more of Gauri to Udayan, less of Subash to Gauri, have broad strokes of Bela, leave bold outlines of Gauri.
Like colors, you may like or dislike, though cannot judge. They stand far away from the rightness or wrongness. Ms. Lahiri herself summarizes her novel as “Two brothers bound by tragedy, A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death.”
The book is about two brother, their deeds, the consequences of the choice and the life thereafter. The woman Gauri, wife to both. The girl Bela, daughter to both.
The book has all the extreme combinations. It has politics and history, Calcutta and Rhode Island, Naxalism and consumerism, dream and death. And the magic lies in the smooth transition between all these, sometimes with in a single paragraph.
Ms. Lahiri explains situations like they are characters and let character unfolds themself as they are situation. Here a quick peek-a-boo :
“She was used to the noise as she studied, as she slept; it was the ongoing accompaniment to her life, her thoughts, and the constant din more soothing that silence would have been.”
.. or this,
“Did you forget to shut it off? (While leaving) he asked her, as she turned down the radio’s volume.
I kept it on. I hate coming back to a quite house.”
Lahiri’s language that add poise to every movement or her bold characters who push you to pull you or her objective take on the political movement that forms the impetus for every plot; there will be something to take care for every craving soul. You just have let yourself lost to find your own reason.