Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book review: The weight of heaven

Title: The weight of heaven

Author: Thrity Umrigar

Genre: Multicultural fiction, contemporary fiction

First sentence reads: A few days after Benny's death, Ellie and Frank Benton broke into separate people.

South Asian Challenge : 1/5 (South Asian Explorer)

Rating: 5/5

This is my second time reading Thrity Umrigar's work and my first book for South Asian Challenge. I must say I'm impressed, not just by the plot but by the breathless way the story moves. It takes a real master of emotion and human understanding to write a story like how Thrity Umrigar does. 

The title of the book might sound heavy and deep but the storyline just blows the mind away. Powerful is the word. Umrigar bares human soul in her writing and each fault and weakness is portrayed as humanly as possible without callous judgement. 

Im raving about this author I know. Back to the review.  Frank and Ellie Benton lost their 7 year old child, Benny to sudden illness. That devastates them and the happy cocoon their life had been is torn to shreds. Frank blames Ellie for the unfortunate incident and this drives them apart. To mend the rift in their life after Benny's death, they relocate from Ann Harbour to Girbough, India by taking up a job offer at Herbal solution company. India which was suppose to heal them casts more heartbreak their way. Frank develops affection for his housekeepers (Prakash and Edna) son Ramesh. This simple innocent gesture evokes a cascade of event beyond Frank and Ellie's imagination. 

Its a heartbreaking story but in a gentle way. It's never too dark or heavy but weaves us through with a whole lot of emotion and thought. The relationship issues that Frank and Ellie face after the death of their son would show the aptitude of the author in bringing  raw emotion and stark truth that each and every one of us face at certain time of our life. It catches us off-guard with  the moral issue it brings along. I loved the characters Ellie, the housekeepers Prakash and his wife Edna and their son Ramesh. I loved the fact that all of them were flawed but are part of tapestry of life. However, Frank was a tough one to like. Overall, this book was great and I loved Thrity Umrigar's writing. She did an amazing job.

Favourite Quotes:

~Ellie wished suddenly that someone would invent an album for filling moments, just as you could photographs~

~It's just the way our culture is-even grief comes with an expiration date, you know? You are suppose to nod and smile because raw emotion embarrasses other people~

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds wonderful. I don't read enough fiction by Asian writers.