The Weight of Heaven: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
An American couple, Frank and Ellie move to India to try to restart their lives after the loss of their son.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
Yet The Weight of Heaven is anything but simple. The depth of their loss - not just of Benny, but of their lives as a couple, as a family - overshadow everything. At no point in the book did I truly feel that they were making their way back to each other. In part, this is because Frank has taken under his wing Ramesh, the son of their servants. In Ramesh, Frank thinks he's found another son... but Ramesh has parents, and it's never clear if the feeling is reciprocated.
The American/Indian differences in terms of class and status, Big Corporation and village tradition, etc. are all played out, with rather predictable results.
When I heard the Harper rep. talking about this book, he came to the pivotal plot point and looked at us and said, "Who does that?". I won't give away what that plot point it, but, really, who does that???
Read this. You won't be disappointed.