The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar
I've heard a lot of great things about Umrigar's writing. When I worked at Borders many customers would come in to buy The Space Between Us by the author. It was a very popular book club read. Having recently finished The World We Found, I understand Umrigar's appeal.
Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta grew up together and were once very close. In the 1970's when things were changing in India, the four friends questioned and challenged authority. The novel begins in present day, they have grown apart and leading their own lives. Only Laleh and Kavita the two still living in Bombay are in regular contact. Though when Armaiti's reaches out to tell them she has a fatal from of cancer, Laleh and Kavita promise to find Nishta. Armaiti wishes to see her friends one last time.
The strength and beauty of Umrigar's writing is present from the start.
"The tooth broke three days after she received the awful news. There was no blood. No pain, even. For three days she had believed that it was her heart that had broken into tiny fragments, but turned out it was another part of her body that decided to mourn the news. No pain, no blood. Just a moment of puzzlement as she bit into the soft French toast she made for breakfast this morning and felt something hard and brittle in her mouth. She spat out two small pieces into her cupped hand. She rinsed her mouth with cold water, and only then did she look up into the mirror. Until now, her teeth had been as sturdy and even as piano keys; but then, until now her oldest friend in the world had not been dying. It was right somehow, in this week of reminders of mortality, that she sacrifice something too."
Before Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita and Nishta can be reunited, they must come to terms with and address an event that changed the course of their lives and friendships. Umrigar has crafted a beautifully emotional story. This was one of those novels that I loved falling into completely. I highly recommend The World We Found, and look forward to reading more by the author.
Read the first five chapters via publisher.
A few professional reviews via author's site.