A fine novel by Thrity Umrigar

by | Mar 6, 2016 | Book review, Fiction, Musings | 2 comments

Like many writers, I’m an avid reader. When I need to rest and forget about daily concerns, I’ll grab a book that sweeps me to an absorbing world and keeps me there for a while. I needed a book like that last weekend because I was slammed with a cold so intense I had zero energy and could barely think.

Saturday I just slept fitfully, but by Sunday, I was ready to read. Thrity Unrigar came to mind. A couple of years ago, I read and loved her novel, The Space Between Us. Then I read The World We Found, which I enjoyed, but maybe not quite as much as the first. Sunday, I chose Umrigar’s The Story Hour, and it was just what I needed. I was enthralled.

I believe the great strength of this book is the masterful characterizations. The main characters are intriguing, challenged and uniquely flawed. Umrigar reveals their inner worlds little by little through their actions and through dialogue. She also changes points of view chapter to chapter, which enables her to reveal each character’s state of mind.

Lakshmi, one of the main characters, came to the United States from India as a bride. Lakshmi’s chapters are written masterfully in broken English that telegraphs how jarring it is to not know the language and culture of the community where you live. Umrigar brings readers into the immigrant world in a way that reveals much without being at all preachy. Lakshmi was married under unusual circumstances that are revealed at just the right point in the narrative, further evidence of her storytelling skill. All of the characters in this book affected me, but Lakshmi, a struggling, determined, impulsive heroine, is the one who will stay with me.


Note: I’ve removed pictures from this post and others created around the same time, because that’s when this site began loading very slowly. No one has been able to figure out why. I’ve changed all kinds of things, including my web host. Now I’m going to see if deleting pictures posted when the problem began will help.

Share this:

The Kiminee Dream: Now Available!

My new novel is coming soon. Mark your calendar!

Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.


  1. Barbara Toboni

    Sorry you were sick, Laura, but it sounds like that got you to recommend a great book. I’ll have to check it out. Be well!

  2. admin

    Thank you, Barbara. Yes, it was an awful cold that, unfortunately, is making the rounds in our whole family. I do think you’ll enjoy Thrity Umrigar’s work.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up here to receive your free copy of Just In Case

Subscribe to Laura McHale Holland’s newsletter

Thank you! Watch your inbox, your welcome email should arrive soon.