The Lowland is the magnificent new novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, which has been longlisted for this year's Man Booker prize. It tells the story of two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, who come of age in Calcutta in the late 1960s. ‘Subhash was thirteen, older by fifteen months. But he had no sense of himself without Udayan. From his earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there,’ writes Lahiri.
This was the beginning of a troubled period in West Bengal, as a radical communist movement known as the Naxalite cause swept through the region, inciting idealistic young men, in particular, to violence and acts of terror.
While Udayan becomes caught up in the cause and its promises of a just and empowered India, Subhash moves to Rhode Island, in America, to pursue a doctoral degree in chemical oceanography.