Author: Thrity Umrigar
Published by: Algonquin Books on Jan. 4, 2022
Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction
Source: Thomas Allen & Son
Book Rating: 10/10
In this riveting and immersive novel, bestselling author Thrity Umrigar tells the story of two couples and the sometimes dangerous and heartbreaking challenges of love across a cultural divide.
Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena—a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man—Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves: Smita realizes she has the freedom to enter into a casual affair, knowing she can decide later how much it means to her.
In this tender and evocative novel about love, hope, familial devotion, betrayal, and sacrifice, Thrity Umrigar shows us two courageous women trying to navigate how to be true to their homelands and themselves at the same time.
Tragic, thought-provoking, and affecting!
Honor is a powerful, riveting, emotionally-charged novel that sweeps you away to present-day India and into the lives of a handful of people, including Smita Agarwal, an Indian American journalist who, after being shamed as a child and adamant she would never set foot in India ever again, finds herself travelling back to the country of her youth to cover the harrowing story of Meena Mustafa, a young Hindu girl who, after falling for and marrying a man of Muslim faith, endures horrific familial violence, shoulders extreme grief, and sacrifices everything she has all in the name of “Honor.”
The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are vulnerable, conflicted, and scarred. And the plot is a profoundly moving tale of life, loss, shame, misogyny, ostracism, class division, poverty, desperation, corruption, suffering, courage, friendship, and forbidden love.
Overall, Honor will make you think, it will break your heart, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. It’s a powerful, hopeful, enthralling tale by Umrigar that uses exquisite character development to weave a transformative exploration with a beautiful, bittersweet story of female friendship all steeped in an abundance of violence and pain.
This book is available now.
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Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.