Anyone who has read one of Thrity Umrigar's previous works will know what he
or she is getting into when picking up a copy of The Weight of Heaven.
Umrigar is superbly adept at putting her readers in a position to observe
heartrending circumstances. She is a keen observer of the
human condition, and is one of the rare authors who can realistically convey
every bit of what she sees to her readers. They are immersed in her characters'
lives from the first page, and don't emerge until the very end of the novel. The
level of tension and pain are nearly constant throughout; this is not a
Seven-year-old Benny's death is the starting place for this novel, the point
from which all the pain and blame originate. While that event is tragic, the
novel's true focus is how Benny's parents, Frank and Ellie, move beyond it or
Beyond the Book
According to the
Department of State, India's population is estimated at more than 1.2 billion and
is growing at
1.6% a year. It has the world's 12th largest economy - and the third largest in
Asia behind Japan and China - with total GDP in 2008 of around $1.2 trillion (which, to put it in context, is less than the USA's budget deficit in 2009).
Although India occupies only 2.4% of the world's land area, it supports over
15% of the world's population. Only China has a larger population. India's
median age is 25, one of the youngest among large economies. About 70% live in
more than 550,000 villages, and the remainder in more than 200 towns and cities.
Services, industry and agriculture account for 55%, 27% and 18% of GDP...