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Book Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

Book Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

I received this book for free from Library for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
Published by HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2012-01-03
Genres: Fiction, General, World or cultural
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Goodreads
five-stars

A magnificent story about the power of friendship and forgiveness.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

” The acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven returns with a breathtaking, skillfully wrought story of four women and the unbreakable ties they share.

As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But much has changed over the past thirty years. Following different paths, the quartet drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared.

Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms even if her ex-husband and daughter do not understand her choices.

In the course of their journey to reconnect, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta must confront the truths of their lives—acknowledge long-held regrets, face painful secrets and hidden desires, and reconcile their idealistic past and their compromised present. And they will have to decide what matters most, a choice that may just help them reclaim the extraordinary world they once found.

Exploring the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives, and offering an unforgettable portrait of modern India—a nation struggling to bridge economic, religious, gender, and generational divides—The World We Found is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar.”

My Thoughts:

What would you wish for if you learned you had 6 months to live? For Armaiti, one of the strong female leads in Thrity Umrigar’s latest book, The World We Found, it’s the chance to see her 3 best friends from college in India. Although she’s lost touch with these women in the past 30 years and moved to America, their undeniable bond beckons the friends to reunite.

As her friends struggle with making the last minute journey out of India, they learn of their own strengths and reaffirm their beliefs. The chapters are written in each of the 4 friends’ voices and it gives the reader insight into each friend’s motivation to be at Armaiti’s side as her cancer worsens. Laleh has it all, a successful husband and family, but her guilt for past events drive her decisions and her desperation to get to Armaiti before it’s too late. Kavita has a deep secret and forbidden passion she’s kept hidden for all these years, she’s wishing to share with her friends who know and love her best. Nishta marries a man who changes her spiritually and traps her in a lifestyle she never wanted. Besides her losing battle with cancer, Armaiti struggles with maintaining her peace and dignity while her doting ex-husband and daughter cannot understand why she refuses to fight the chemo with modern medicine. As expected, she contemplates the important questions as she deals with her impending death and reflects on the important friendship she misses so dearly.

This was a very moving story. I thought the focus would be on the dying Armaiti’s final wishes and days but the important part of the story is really how these 4 friends reflect back on their time together and the important issues they have to resolve before they reunite. It may have taken 30 years for them to reunite, but really they did their “growing up” once they got the call from their friend that she was dying.

This book is full of wonderful imagery and sentiment. It’s one of my favorites and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Umrigar.

Favorite Quotes:

“What she had believed was indignation or rage or a deep intolerance for injustice came down to this: she was irreducibly in love with this bewitching planet, this thrilling life, this heartbreaking species she belonged to, with its capacity for stupefying destruction and breathtaking magnanimity.”

“So all I’m saying is, everything that seems important–our quarrels, or philosophical differences–in the end, it doesn’t matter much. You know? In the end, what matters is what remains.”

“Life happened. In all its banality, brutality, cruelty, unfairness. But also in its beauty, pleasures and delights. Life happened.”

What would you wish for if you learned you had 6 months to live? 

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About Thrity Umrigar

From Barnes & Noble: “Thrity Umrigar is the author of five novels and the memoir First Darling of the Morning. A former journalist, she is a winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard and a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. A professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio.”

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6 Comments

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    1. It surprisingly did not make me cry and I tend to cry at the drop of a hat. It focused more on the friendship than on the cancer thankfully.

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