The Weight of Heaven Author:Thrity Umrigar Umrigar (The Space Between Us) continues her exploration of cultural divides in this beautifully written and incisive novel about an American couple's experience in India. Frank and Ellie Benton, grappling with the death of their seven-year-old son, move from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Girbaug, India, where Frank takes a job running a factory. While h... more »e tackles the barriers faced by an educated, wealthy American in charge of a Third World work force, Ellie, a psychologist, makes inroads with the impoverished locals at a health clinic. Frank has a difficult time adjusting at work, and at home he takes an interest in their housekeepers' son, Ramesh, and begins tutoring him. While Frank buries his grief by helping Ramesh, he ends up in competition with the boy's bitter father, Prakash, and further damaging his already troubled marriage. Umrigar digs into the effects of grief on a relationship and the many facets of culture clashespecially American capitalism's impact on a poor countrybut it is the tale of how Frank's interest in Ramesh veers into obsession and comes to a devastating end that provides the gripping through line. Umrigar establishes herself as a singularly gifted storyteller.« less
I liked this book on so many levels. The obvious-insight into Indian lifestyle and caste system. To say that it is about a couple after their son dies, just doesn't cover enough, compared to other books of that type. When the main character, an American, befriends an Indian boy, his father becomes jealous, his wife has her own needs, and what about how it affects the Indian boy. The book also gives a bit of insight into American companies doing business in India. The author lives in America and many times throughout the book, I wondered what her view is of Americans, the plusses and minuses of living in her adopted country.