Book Review: The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
In 1970’s Bombay India four young women become friends. Armaiti, Leleh, Kavita and Nishta are like many of us were, young, fearless and planning to change the world. As they all leave the university Armaiti chooses to go to American for grad school, and Nishta goes against her families wishes and marries a Muslim man, a man she is deeply in love with, she is disowned by her parents after this choice. Leleh married Adish, and they live comfortably with two children. Kavita has become an architect, and she has kept one big secret from her family for her whole life. The World We Found, is about these women 30 years later, and where they are, and how they’ve lost touch with each other and their lives have taken them in so many places. The book moves between today, and strategic moments in their past. Sadly when Armaiti is diagnosed with cancer, her one desire is to have her three friends visit her, but that journey is about much more than a flight from India to America.
The women and their spouses have different cultural and religious views, and it’s interesting how much I learned in this book. I felt the tug of those differences and yet saw how they worked to overcome them to still love one another. Nishta is living in such a starkly different world with her husband Iqbal, a devout Muslim. Her friends fear she has lost all hope and spark in her life when they find her, it breaks my heart.
This is the first book I’ve read by Thrity Umrigar, what was I waiting for? The geography of this book is important, but in relation to how friendships are made and kept it’s universal. I loved how this story went back and forth between where the women are now, and their memories and emotions of their youth. I remember my own years of college, and those friendships that I thought would always be with me. Sadly most of those friends are long out of contact.
I don’t feel I’m writing this review with enough passion or insight to truly express how much I loved it. I have given this a 4.5 out of 5 stars. My heart was racing as I finished the book, and I couldn’t put it down. I was able to obtain an Advanced Reader copy from B&N where I happily work as a part time bookseller. Thank you Harper Collins for giving us that opportunity. I hope you will read it and share your thoughts.
I’m also excited that I won four more books by Umrigar,on Swapna’s blog, S.Krishna’s Books. She is also hosting a discussion of The World We Found, stop by and join in. These new books will be a highlight of my reading this year, I have no doubt.