Beautiful book on friendship and relationships by Thrity! The story follows the story of four friends, three who live in India and one in America who is dying of a brain tumor. The three in India want to travel to America to see her before it is too late, but one of their friends has married and converted into Islam. Her husband, bitter from a number of circumstances both personal and political, has become a fundamentalist and has isolated his wife from her friends, and thus isolates her from us as readers as well. It’s an interesting thing to do with a character over the course of the novel, but serves to create a secondary problem that keeps us reading.
The book details the journey of these 4 women from adolescent to womanhood and how the times had not changed much between the two times. The new world that they found was not different from the world that they had left behind. Discrimination, anger, and bitterness just had different grounds in these different times.
Overall, I loved the subtle yet generous ways that Umrigar told the story. While I don’t often like stories that move from character to character in each chapter, this was one case where I didn’t mind and got too caught up in the lives of these women to see the shifting story lines. Umrigar is a beautiful writer and I will definitely be diving in to some of her other novels in the future.