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The World We Found: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Thrity Umrigar

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2362448,914 (3.94)13
Member:harrietgate
Title:The World We Found: A Novel
Authors:Thrity Umrigar
Info:Harper (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Read

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The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This is about four women who went to university together in Bombay, India in the 1970s. They considered themselves revolutionaries at the time. In the end, one of them (Armaiti) moved to the U.S., two (Laleh and Kavita) remained friends, and one (Nishta) separated herself from the others after she, a Hindu, married a Muslim (and a mutual friend to them all). Fast-forward to current day and Armaiti has contacted them in hopes they will come visit before she dies of cancer.

I really enjoyed this. You really see how different things can turn out from how you plan them, and how you yourself can change. The book switches viewpoints, so you can see what has happened in everyone's lives from their own perspectives. There were times in this book where I was ready to rate it even higher, but overall, it's a very solid 4 stars. I hadn't heard of Umrigar before, I will read more by her. ( )
  LibraryCin | Aug 16, 2014 |
I have such mixed feelings about this one. On the plus side, it was well written, and the characters (for the most part) seemed real to me. I cared about their problems and wanted to see them resolved with the least harm done. But, that's not what happened. Oh, the "central" problem was resolved, but it was the peripheral problems that really worried me. For instance, one character, a wealthy Parsi man, used the promise of a contract for electrical supplies to get a poor Muslim man (a long lost friend from college) to come have lunch with him. He was trying to convince the Muslim to change his mind about allowing his wife to travel to America. The attempt was unsuccessful, so the Parsi walked away from the electrical shop and never thought of it again. There's no indication that he followed through on his promise of a contract -- a contract that would have substantially affected the finances of the Muslim family without being charity. It was the casualness with which this wealthy man, himself a member of a "model minority" within India, blew off his offer of doing business when he didn't get what he wanted that bothered me. It made me unable to view the character in a good light for the rest of the story. Maybe that was deliberate on the author's part, making him so morally ambiguous. If so, she it was really well done! I ended up feeling that the ensemble cast, with the exception of Kavita and Mumtaz, were a bunch of really charming people that I didn't like.

After reading some other reviews (bad reviews, which are generally more informative than good ones - like Tolsoy's families, good reviews are uniformly bland, but bad reviews are much more interesting) and have second thoughts. I'm willing to concede that this book might deserve more stars than I gave it. The question turns on whether or not the author made the Laleh and Adish characters, in particular, so morally ambiguous deliberately, or whether they are simply a reflection of her own internalised sense of entitlement. Because that, I realise, is the heart of my discomfort with the novel. These are such likeable people! I'm sure they're lovely neighbors, and would be fun at a dinner party, great hosts and delightful guests...but they're rotten at the center.

Maybe the title is the key. Though they started out as revolutionaries, out to change the world, in the end, they've all defaulted to the world as they found it. Instead of changing the world, the world changed them.

God, that's depressing. ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
Once I began reading, I didn't want to put it down. ( )
  alexandriaginni | Apr 3, 2013 |
Excellent book. Not her best. However, it seemed slightly unfinished to me. Needed a better "ending". ( )
  shazjhb | Dec 23, 2012 |
Story of four women from India and the unbrakable ties they share. Based on a planned reunion with one of the four who is in America with terminal cancer.Four different women with different present but a shared past from school days. Having similiar type of friends, it was nice to read . It affirms for me how lucky I am to have these ladies in my life although distance seperates us too. ( )
  Smits | Nov 11, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
From the first sentence of this insightful novel, Umrigar (The Space Between Us; The Weight of Heaven) will enthrall readers with her deft portrayal of the depth of women's friendships, the many facets of love, and the oh-so-human conundrum--whether to live with one's choices or walk away. Oprah would love this book, and so will your patrons. Buy multiples.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Sally Bissell (Oct 15, 2011)
 
Umrigar handles these important themes with expertise and without judgment. A storyteller through and through, she ensures that her characters face up to the costs and consequences created by their choices, right or wrong, principled or unprincipled. As Laleh observes: “I’m saying that it all matters. Everything matters. Our virtues and our sins.”
 
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Book description
University students in late 1970's Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and fought for a better world. But much has changed in the thirty years since those heady days. Following different paths, the quartet has drifted apart, and the day-to-day demands of work and family have tempered the revolutionary fervor they shared. Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is dying 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 end of self-delusion and the promise of freedom from a bitter fundamentalist husband. As for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms even if her ex-huband 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 just may 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 indelible 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061938343, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:12 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

American divorcee Armaiti has six months to live and her last wish is to see her three best friends again--Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta, all in Bombay. But Nishta's husband, Iqbal, a fellow university idealist turned fundamentalist, will be the biggest obstacle to fulfilling Armaiti's final desire.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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