From the cover :
An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.
But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.
My thoughts :
In her latest novel The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar offers a unique perspective on the plight of the emigrant. Lakshmi is struggling to break free from the bounds of her oppressive husband but as she recognizes her own talents and capabilities and learns to act for herself, she is also give power to face her secrets and overcome their chains.
The strongest aspect of this very readable and enjoyable novel is the characterization. Neither Maggie or Lakshmi are perfect characters. They are flawed. At times they make horrible choices. Umrigar creates very human characters who are not villains yet do not always act in the best interest of themselves or others. They are at times abrupt, impulsive and narcissistic yet they are worth rooting for. There is the opportunity for redemption and restitution.
The story is powerful. Umrigar grants insight into the human soul and the strong emotions and influences that often motivate us to act contrary to the best interests of others. Thrity Umrigar is a very talented writer. She has a way with words and she has a deep understanding of human nature. She combines these talents to create a lovely masterpiece in The Story Hour.
The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar is published by Harper on August 19, 2014.
**I received a complimentary copy of The Story Hour in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. No compensation was received.**