The Weight of Heaven

Thrity Umrigar, Author . Harper $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-147254-1

Umrigar (The Space Between Us ) continues her exploration of cultural divides in this beautifully written and incisive novel about an American couple's experience in India. Frank and Ellie Benton, grappling with the death of their seven-year-old son, move from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Girbaug, India, where Frank takes a job running a factory. While he tackles the barriers faced by an educated, wealthy American in charge of a Third World work force, Ellie, a psychologist, makes inroads with the impoverished locals at a health clinic. Frank has a difficult time adjusting at work, and at home he takes an interest in their housekeepers' son, Ramesh, and begins tutoring him. While Frank buries his grief by helping Ramesh, he ends up in competition with the boy's bitter father, Prakash, and further damaging his already troubled marriage. Umrigar digs into the effects of grief on a relationship and the many facets of culture clash—especially American capitalism's impact on a poor country—but it is the tale of how Frank's interest in Ramesh veers into obsession and comes to a devastating end that provides the gripping through line. Umrigar establishes herself as a singularly gifted storyteller. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/01/2008
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 365 pages - 978-0-06-147255-8
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-185357-9
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-185356-2
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 400 pages - 978-0-06-185359-3
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-185360-9
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