Saturday, August 23, 2014
The Story Hour
Lakshmi has moved from India to the United States to be with her husband, as the two work side by side in their grocery and restaurant. An arranged marriage, Lakshmi's husband treats her more as his own personal servant than a wife. Lonely and depressed, Lakshmi attempts suicide one day.
When Maggie meets Lakshmi she is drawn to the woman. Maggie's own husband Sudhir is from India, so she knows a little about the culture. As her therapist, Maggie tries to keep her relationships with her patients professional, but this is nearly impossible with Lakshmi, who is lonely and needs a friend.
As Maggie treats Lakshmi for free, the two develop a friendship of sorts, and Maggie helps Lakshmi feel empowered- teaching her how to drive, helping her find a way to earn money on her own.
While Lakshmi's life is looking up, Maggie continues to involve herself in an affair with Peter, a photographer who travels the world. Although Maggie knows in her heart that Sudhir is her true love match, she can't fight her attraction to Peter.
Lakshmi is willing to share her deepest secrets with Maggie, but when Maggie's own secret is revealed, the friendship these women have forged is jeopardized.
The Story Hour is a novel of friendship, of love, of two worlds coming together. Umrigar is able to skillfully alternate narrators as Lakshmi and Maggie each tell their stories, and has created a story that I am thinking about long after I am done reading. There is a little suspense as secrets are revealed that kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could. Every characters is multifaceted and well developed, real humans that are so complex, each with their strengths and flaws.
Umrigar's The Story Hour is a must read for fiction lovers.