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Monday, September 8, 2014

The Story Hour: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, love, and second chances.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshmi’s plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie’s home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi’s relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

With Thrity Umrigar’s remarkable sensitivity and singular gift for an absorbing narrative, The Story Hour explores the bonds of friendship and the margins of forgiveness.

my thoughts:

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar is utterly fantastic!  It is a slow-going, mesmerizing read that deftly explores the themes of friendship, secrecy, betrayal, and loyalty.  I absolutely loved it!

Maggie and Lakshmi are two very different women whose lives intersect upon a chance meeting.  Lakshmi hates her life - she works for her husband, has no contact with her family in India, and endures the aching pain of loneliness.  Maggie is confused about her life - she's a successful shrink, has a terrific husband, but finds herself committing adultery.  Both women meet when Lakshmi winds up under Maggie's care at the local hospital.  At first, Lakshmi is determined to ignore Maggie - she doesn't trust her - but sooner than you can imagine she is spilling the beans about her unhappy life in America.  As the story progresses and the lines of doctor/patient are blurred, we find ourselves learning more and more about these two strong women and the horribly wrong choices they have made in their lives - its riveting!

Umrigar has written a quiet and powerful story about two unforgettable characters, Maggie and Lakshmi.  Their differences and similarities were spellbinding, heartbreaking, and shocking at times. 
I really enjoyed getting to know them and learning about their past mistakes and their hopes for the future.  I really loved this book - Umrigar's writing style and voice is a revelation to me.   I would happily recommend The Story Hour to fans of Umrigar's works and fans of literature - you will love this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tours schedule for: The Story Hour
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

9 comments:

Ti said...

I love her writing but haven't read this one yet because in the past, the characters seemed to be a stereotype or almost a caricature of themselves.

Nadia A said...

Ti, I can definitely see that in this book as well, but I just found myself completely immersed in her writing - it was spellbinding.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I was curious about this book. I'm not sure it's for me, but great review!

Dot said...

Love the sound of this one, brilliant review! xx

Nadia A said...

Holly, I thought it was a really good read, but it may not be for everyone. Thanks!

Dot, I think you would really enjoy this one :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

"It is a slow-going, mesmerizing read that deftly explores the themes of friendship, secrecy, betrayal, and loyalty. I absolutely loved it!" That is enough to convince me that this book is an absolute MUST READ.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Aarti said...

I really need to read some Umrigar! I am on an Indian novelist hiatus right now because all the books I've read by them in the past year have been pretty depressing. But maybe Umrigar will turn things around for me!

Lisa said...

So much to think about in this one and I loved the ending!

Nadia A said...

Heather, thanks for having me on the tour :)

Aarti, I can dig that. I'm the same right now when it comes to Latina authors lately. Definitely give it a chance though when the mood strikes :)

Lisa, I totally agree with you :)