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The World We Found: A Novel Paperback – July 31, 2012
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“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
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 over the past thirty years, the quartet has 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.
The World We Found is a dazzling masterwork from the remarkable Thrity Umrigar, offering an unforgettable portrait of modern India while it explores the enduring bonds of friendship and the power of love to change lives.
More About the Author
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. If Today Be Sweet was a Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection, while her other books have been Community Reads selections. Thrity is the winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize.
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, she 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, head-in-the-clouds 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 in the U.S., Thrity worked for several years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer. She also earned a Ph.D. in English. In 1999, Thrity won a one-year Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University, which is given to mid-career journalists.
While at Harvard, Thrity wrote her first novel, Bombay Time. In 2002 she accepted a teaching position at Case Western Reserve University, where she is now the Armington Professor of English. She also does occasional freelance pieces for national publications and has written for the Washington Post and the Boston Globe's book pages.
Thrity is active on the national lecture circuit and has spoken at book festivals such as the L.A. Festival of Books, the Tuscon Book Festival and the Miami Book Fair International; at universities such as MIT, Harvard University, and Spelman College; and at literary societies, civic and business organizations and public libraries all across the country.
Read more at www.umrigar.com or go to Thrity's Author page on Facebook.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel does well at giving us compassionate perspectives of people from different parts of the culture of India, with complex moral questions to ponder.Published 6 days ago by Katherine Miller
Liked this book so much I recommended it to 2 friends. Will read more by this author who has a way of presenting characters and their feelings that is thought provoking.Published 15 days ago by Sheila Bruce
It's a beautiful novel written with rich vocab.. I am impressed. It made me pause and think often. I find that very rarely in novels. I am surely going to read more books by miss. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Book_lover
Loved the story. Didn't wast it to end! Maybe sometime the author will consider a sequel?Published 5 months ago by Teacher's Pet
Well written and moving story of 4 Indian women who were in college in India on the 1970's. It tells how each one had her life unfold differently and yet their connection to each... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Emily Canelo
Thrity Umrigar is a powerful writer. She tells compelling stories about modern-day India: the extremes of poverty and wealth, government corruption, internal prejudices of one... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lucy M.
Five college friends from different religious groups, Hindu, Parsee and Muslim,,shared an idealistic, activist youth. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kathleen Ann Burt
My new favorite author! I have always been intrigued with India, and am learning so much about the culture through Ms. Umrigar's interesting novels. Highly recommend this.Published 8 months ago by Kay's Twin