A single event can dramatically alter the emotional landscape of the people it affects. The Doppler wave that it creates radiates outward in endless patterns, colliding with new people and circumstances generations down the line, irrevocably shaping them in sometimes minute but not insignificant ways. This is the basis for Jhumpa Lahiri's haunting and powerful The Lowland
Set mostly in Rhode Island and India (specifically in Kolkata), the story revolves around the Mitra brothers, Subhash and Udayan, born fifteen months apart. It is the late '60s, a time of turmoil in their native state of West Bengal. The brothers come of age when the Naxalbari movement serves as a catalyst for the growth of communism in the region (see Beyond the Book). Subhash, the older brother, is reliable, less likely to cause trouble. It is the more daring Udayan who is drawn into...
Beyond the Book
In The Lowland
, Udayan Mitra, one of the two brothers in the story, gets pulled into India's nascent communist movement that kicked into high gear in the 60s, especially in the state of West Bengal where a fair portion of the novel is set.
The world's largest democracy has had brushes with communism for decades now, the origins of which can be traced to two farmer-driven movements in the 1940s right around the time of India's independence. The Telangana movement in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh inspired a similar one, the Tebhaga, in West Bengal. While this movement was taking...