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The World We Found: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 3, 2012

167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The World We Found is stunning in its credibility and nuance. . . . This is a novel that rewards reading, and even re-reading. The World We Found is a powerful meditation.” (Boston Globe)

“Luminous. . . . Wise and absorbing, Umrigar’s novel has the rich, chaotic vibrancy of a Mumbai marketplace.” (People)

“Asparkling and sharp slice of life.” (Nina Sankovitch, Huffington Post)

The World We Found is absorbing and resonant.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Umrigar renders a vivid portrait of modern-day India as she meditates upon the power of friendship, loyalty, and love. Like her previous works, The World We Found is eloquent and evocative, bitter and sweet.” (Booklist (starred review))

“There’s ample discussion to be had here on the topics of family, friendship, religion and marriage. Umrigar is a lively storyteller. The women are sympathetic characters, their relationships fully realized and deeply felt. . . . Umrigar’s evocative world is one worth finding, indeed.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Absorbing. . . . A rewarding novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A storyteller through and through, Umrigar ensures that her characters face up to the costs and consequences created by their choices, right or wrong, principled or unprincipled.” (Washington Post)

From the Back Cover

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061938343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061938344
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,122,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet and The Weight of Heaven. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into many languages and published in numerous countries.

The Space Between Us was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award, while her memoir was a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors award. Thrity was recently awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize for midcareer artists.

Thrity was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. As a Parsi child attending a Catholic school in a predominantly Hindu country, sh had the kind of schizophrenic and cosmopolitan childhood that has served her well in her life as a writer. Accused by teachers and parents alike of being a daydreaming, absent-minded child, she grew up lost in the fictional worlds created by Steinbeck, Hemingway, Woolf and Faulkner. She would emerge long enough from these books to create her own fictional and poetic worlds. Encouraged by her practical-minded parents to get an undergraduate degree in business, Thrity survived business school by creating a drama club and writing, directing and acting in plays. Her first short stories, essays and poems were published in national magazines and newspapers in India at age fifteen.

After earning a M.A. in journalism Thrity worked for several years working as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer in America. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Thrity won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard, which is given to mid-career journalists.

While at Harvard, Thrity wrote Bombay Time. The publication and success of the novel allowed her to make a career change and in 2002 she accepted a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University, where she teaches creative writing, journalism and literature. She also does occasional freelance pieces for national publications and has written for the Washington Post's and the Boston Globe's book pages.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Someone Else TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Traditional attitudes still linger in India, but they're not held equally in all quarters of Indian society. Some Indians are more liberal than many Americans, while others cling desperately to the old ways and steep themselves in fundamentalist practices. Thrity Umrigar highlights that clash between the old and the new in this story of renewed friendships in modern Bombay.

Laleh, Kavita, Armaiti and Nishta were fast friends and fellow revolutionaries in their Bombay college days 30 years ago. Now they've mostly lost touch, and their lives have diverged greatly, leaving them with little in common but a shared history. When Armaiti reaches out from America with news of cancer and a dying wish to have them all together one last time, they reconnect and prove that the sisterhood stands stronger than ever.

The contrasting experiences of these four women reflect the complex challenges facing a nation caught between the past and the present.

Laleh enjoys a marriage of equals with Adish, her college sweetheart.
Kavita is a successful architect. She is a lesbian, happy in her current relationship and aching to reveal her authentic self to her old friends.
Armaiti is the deserter. She's the one who ran off to America, and worse yet, married an American.
Nishta also married her college sweetheart, but Iqbal is no longer the liberal socialist she married. He has returned to his fundamentalist Muslim roots. He keeps Nishta on a short leash, essentially a prisoner in their home.

Nishta's plight becomes pivotal as the friends race against time and Armaiti's imminent death. This is where Laleh's husband Adish really shines, faced with divided loyalties and possessed of a chivalrous heart. Can he live up to his old reputation as "Mr.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Franklin VINE VOICE on April 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Four girls who were best friends during college have lost touch. Now they are middle-aged, each living her own life. Then they get a request from one of the friends who is dying in America - can you come, just one more time before I die? It seems like a simple request, but turns complicated right away.

This is a beautiful book about female friendship - set in India. What will friends do for one another? What are the limits? What are the responsibilities? Each character is very much alive and 3-dimensional. I found myself caring very much what happened to them as they decided whether or not to go to America. I learned a lot about Indian culture, both secular culture and Muslim culture.

A fine, colorful, heart-felt novel. One of the best things I've read all year.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Patricia L. Marks on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Have you ever read THRITY UMRIGAR'S work ? If yes, then you will welcome THE WORLD WE FOUND. If she is new to you then get this book, or one of her other writings and prepare to be delighted in her eye for characterization, turns of phrase; complex yet wholly understandable tales of human virtues and foibles.
One of the friends is dying and summons the others to come to her before the end. How they get together, plan and execute this journey is the meat of the story and the book. They were young once, full of knowledge-or so they thought- of what is necessary for societies. They learn, each in their own way, that things are not that simple, that it is nearly impossible to turn around whole systems which have been in place ,perhaps, for centuries.
Love is not always recognizable, and contentment seems always distant. It may be a sad wisdom to find love and happiness right where you are or in what you had, but it is real. The conclusions are both true and somewhat ethereal. I cannot imagine that you will not love this book and its author.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Wandering Hoosier VINE VOICE on December 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed Thrity Umrigar's earlier novel, "The Space Between Us" and wanted to equally like this book; however, I did not. In "The Space Between Us," Umrigar does a beautiful job combining dialogue with descriptive writing in order to tell the stories of her main characters. The book touches on many thought-provoking themes and gives insight into Indian life.

On the contrary, "The World We Found" failed to spark my interest in the main characters and the themes discussed in the book. The novel follows the stories of four Indian women (Armati, Nishta (aka Zoha), Laleh, and Kavita) who had been inseparable in college and part of an active socialist movement. Only Laleh and Kavita remained in touch for the past 20 years since college.

The book begins as Armati, who had since moved to California, calls Laleh to tell her that she has been diagnosed with incurable, fast-acting brain cancer and wants Nishta, Laleh, and Kavita to travel from Indian to visit her before her death.

"The World We Found" follows the thoughts of the three women as they decide whether they should/should not travel to visit Armati and how all four women come to terms with their life since their socialist days in college. It also stories since college of the four women's partners and how they come to term with their status/role changes.

I found the "The World We Found" to be repetitive, as Umrigar spends too much time returning to the same stories from the four women's college days. It also was very cliché in that the relationships between the four women and their partners were entirely predictable. Even the lesbian interlude failed to spark my interest, as it follows a familiar path.

Umrigar tells most of the story by using dull dialogue.
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