The Weight of Heaven
by: Thrity Umrigar
Published by: Harper Collins
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Reviewed by Sharon Broom
A young Michigan couple is in extreme grief over the sudden death of their seven-year-old son, Benny. When Frank’s company offers him a chance to take a job at their India plant, he and Ellie jump at the opportunity to start anew.
Frank does not do well with cross-cultural issues of managing the Indian workforce–and the tension that his company’s plans bring to the people in this community. Meanwhile, Ellie, who is a therapist, decided is a perfect time and place for her to help the women of India. Soon she is volunteering at a local clinic and getting to know the people who live there.
Frank’s extreme and isolating grief at Benny’s death has left his and Ellie’s relationship permanently scarred. However, Frank’s life improves when he becomes obsessed with Ramesh, their cook’s young son. Ramesh is smart, curious and eager to learn and benefit from Frank’s help. However, Ramesh’s alcoholic and jealous dad works to destroy this relationship.
Thrity Umrigar most certainly has a way with words to show cultural clashes as well as emotional damages and loss when telling us about her characters. India itself is also a major character in the book, with Umrigar’s vivid description of the sights and sounds.
The Weight of Heaven is filled with stories of personal and cultural strife, labor unrest and political undertones.
Armchair Interviews says: This seems like it could work very well for book club discussions.
Author’s Web site: http://www.ThrityUmrigar.com
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