The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar

Cross-posted at BookReviews at Bookrack

I first came across Thrity Umrigar’s name somewhere in the blogworld. Swaram recommended the books too, so when I found The Weight of Heaven in the library, my happiness knew no bounds.

The story is set in Girbaug, a small town in India. Frank and Ellie Benton, after having lost their seven-year old son, to a sudden infection, have moved to India, in an effort to put the past behind them. Frank and Ellie, college sweethearts who had been extremely close, had been having a tough time keeping their marriage together after Benny’s death. In India, Ellie, a therapist,  manages to find a purpose in life, make new friends and starts to feel at home. For, Frank, however, it is a different India. It is an India, full of corruption and complications. An India where he feels like an outsider.

The company Frank works for, Herbal Solutions, seems to have antagonized the local people, when they bought the land with trees having medicinal properties. The local people depended on it for several decades and now, do not understand how the company could have bought the trees that were theirs. In addition to this, there are trade union issues which Frank finds difficult to handle.

The only bright side to Frank’s life in Girbaug, is their housekeeper’s son – Ramesh. Frank is captivated by the little boy’s smartness and charm. He spends hours teaching him, going on picnics together, playing basketball with him, buying extravagant gifts. So much so that his parents,his father, in particular starts resenting Frank’s involvement in his son’s life.

Things come to a head when certain complications force Frank’s boss to call him back to America. Frank then takes a decision, which changes the course of a lot of people’s lives.

The book is beautifully written. The pain that Frank and Ellie are going through comes across very clearly. The author also gives a very vivid picture of life in a small town in India. The difference between Ellie’s India and Frank’s India are beautifully brought out. The struggles of an American couple in India is well etched out, especially given the fact that in a lot of situations, they are made to be apologetic for their government’s actions in different parts of the world.

I would give it a five on five rating. It was a brilliant read. I could not keep the book down without completing it.


29 thoughts on “The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar

  1. I have brought it yesterday only and after reading ur review i want to start reading right away 🙂

    I loved it Rash! You try and let me know what you feel about it 🙂


  2. Seems like a good read. Will pick it up next. May I also recommend Thrity Umrigar’s “The Space Between Us”. I read it some time back, and loved it.

    I am waiting to get hold of ‘The Space between us’ – There are no copies available in the library and I have heard such great reviews of it.


  3. Great review Smitha, very keen on reading the book now, just placed a reservation. These days, your book reviews have become my guide to reading. I check out the title here and then go look for the book 🙂

    I just hope you don’t curse me after reading them,Pallu 🙂 I am reading way too much these days – don’t seem to have the time do reviews these days 🙂


    • Btw, Smitha, I got those other foodie books that you’d reviewed (Eating India and Monsoon DIaries) and realised there were no PICTURES 😦 so going to return them!!! 🙂

      LOL!!!! Pals,My husband would love to meet you – he has the same complaint 🙂


  4. Seems to be beautiful book and a must read after your 5/5 rating… Once the current queue gets cleared i will pick this one 🙂 🙂 nice review 🙂

    I really liked it. I hope you do too 🙂


  5. oh wow!
    I will pick this one up… I saw it in the book store but, wasn’t too sure about it.

    Hope you like it, Pixie 🙂

    Let me see if its in Flipkart and buy it online 🙂

    Thanks for the review Smithus! 🙂

    You are welcome Pixie 🙂


  6. Hi.. I came across your review while trying to get recommendations on buying this book. Having read 2 books by her I think I am pretty much convinced , also thanks to ur review , that I need to read this. It all over the blogosphere 🙂

    Welcome here Shweta. It is a wonderful read.


  7. Thanks for the review Smiths … hv to get this one soon then .. just finished Feast of Roses and started with House Rules. I so badly want a library 😦 😦

    House Rules – I so want my hands on it!!! How is Feast if Roses? Review pls! I just completed Solitude of Emperors – wonderful book! And I have finally got The house of blue mangoes!! Can’t wait to start reading it 🙂

    5 on 5 is so awesome! And its so nice to be discussing books with u 🙂 🙂 🙂
    It is , isn’t it? I would not even had known some books/authors if it had not been for the blogworld 🙂


  8. You have reviewed the book nicely, Smitha. Will look for it now, thank you. Suddenly feel like reading!

    I hope you like this 🙂 I just loved it. I just completed another wonderful book! Will review it next.


  9. ” I could not keep the book down without completing it” – did you try them sideways ? that works, you see ! 😀 😀

    What else do you expect me to comment on a book review ! Ok, like what I do in Hitchys posts on cricket — “Present Ma’am !” 😀 😀 😀


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