cover image The Lowland

The Lowland

Jhumpa Lahiri, read by Sunil Malhotra. Random House Audio, unabridged, 11 CDs, 13 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-7393-4181-0

When Subhash’s closest friend and brother, Udayan, is killed because of his participation in a revolutionary movement in Calcutta in the 1960s, he attempts to do the responsible thing and take his brother’s pregnant wife, Gauri, with him to the United States, where he is pursuing education and a new life. Yet both Subhash and Gauri will be haunted by and need to confront the absence of Udayan as the years pass. The waves of emotion and duress that ripple through Lahiri’s narrative are well communicated in Malhotra’s narration. Intentionally or not, his voice at times can feel disconnected from the text, which ably captures moments in which the characters are attempting to distance themselves from each other. Malhotra is capable of teasing out the emotional depth of a given scene with emphasis and timing. He maintains consistent voices for his characters and balances the different accents that emerge during this intergenerational tale. A Knopf hardcover. (Sept.)