A profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances.
An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.
But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.
Dear ShilpaI writes. Belief me when I say not single day pass in six years that I not thought of you. How are you, my dearest?
Then I takes the paper, roll it like a ball of dough, and throws it across from the room. It land on top of the coffee tablewhy he call it the coffee table when in this house we only drink chai?and I goes to pick it up to place in the dustbin. Shilpa never reading my note. He will never posting to her. Some things even stupids like me know.
I look at clock on the wall. Eight-forty- five, evening time. Husband be home by ten-thirty. Quickly-quickly I goes to the bathroom and open the medicine chest. I takes all the bottles out and carry them to the sitting room. I put the bottles in a row and for one minute only my stomach faints, as if the medicines is already in it. But then Bobby's thin face come to me and I see his sad blue eyes and the pain shoot my heart again. It was not my imagine. Bobby, too, look sad when he leaf...
Thrity Umrigar's sixth novel is simultaneously a study of a friendship, a morality play, and an exploration of how personal history can shape relationships, often in surprising ways. But readers certainly won't anticipate this kind of scope from the novel's opening scenes, in which Lakshmi Patil, a recent immigrant to the U.S. from India, attempts to commit suicide and is assigned to a therapist, Maggie Bose. The Story Hour is the kind of novel that starts out small, but quickly expands to encompass much broader themes and conflicts than the reader might initially expect.
(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).
Full Review (496 words).
As Lakshmi recounts her history in India, we learn that she considers one of her best friends to be an elephant, Mithai (which means "sweets" or "dessert"). Her youthful courage in defending Mithai foreshadows her later courage in dealing with the greater complexities of adulthood.
Asian elephants are perhaps not as well known in the West as African elephants, although they are also highly endangered. The Asian elephant is smaller than its African cousin and, in particular, its ears are smaller and more rounded. They also have a single "finger" on their trunk, compared with two in the African elephant. They live in thirteen countries in Asia - India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Laos, at the ...
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