The Story Hour

The Story Hour

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store. Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn’t need a shrink; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends. But while their relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.
Publisher: New York :, Harper/HarperCollins,, 2014
HarperCollins 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780062259301
Branch Call Number: F UMR NVD
Characteristics: 317 pages

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w
writermala
Aug 04, 2017

The Story Hour tells the story primarily of Lakshmi from rural India who is not very educated and Maggie who is an African American counsellor. Maggie and Lakshmi forge an unlikely friendship wich finds Maggie transcending Professional Boundaries to try and help Lakshmi. Maggie believes Lakshmi is trapped n a loveless abusive marriage. Is this the truth? When Maggie opens doors for Lakshmi by hiring her to cater for herself and her friends, and clean homes. She is rewarded by seeing Lakshmi flourish and feels she is seeinng the Lakshmi who lived in India before coming to America. It is Lakshm,i however, who provides us with some very astute insights like "This is love - not what we say to each other but what we not say." The book is a gripping tale of relationships, immigration, and much more. All in all a very satisfying read.

r
rodraglin
Dec 04, 2016

The Story Hour
by Thrity Umrigar

Love transcending

The Story Hour an arranged marriage finds Lakshmi, a woman from a small town in India, working in her husband's restaurant in the American midwest. She is exhausted, unhappy, isolated. She attempts suicide and comes under the care of Maggie, a psychologist and African American.

Maggie is married to an Indian, Sudhir, who came as a student and stayed on to become a professor and American citizen.

Maggie and Lakshmi are from different cultures, have different family dynamics but their similarities as women, indeed as human beings transcends the patient doctor relationship and finds them becoming friends.

Gradually understanding grows and with Maggie's help and guidance economic disparity between the two diminishes.

But when secrets are revealed both judge each other unfairly in the most part because, despite their affection for each other, it's impossible for each to overcome the biases ingrained by culture.

The relationship seems irreparably damaged but one woman is prepared to risk everything for make it right again.

Author Thrity Umrigar really shines a light on how our background and different cultures frame the way we see ourselves, our fellow human beings and the world around us. It's also a realistic, compassionate and hopeful look at the lives of millions of immigrant women from third world countries who come to reside in the west.

The story has depth, humour, passion and compassion and remarkable insight. A true novel for the twenty-first century.

m
melanith
Oct 09, 2016

This was a very enjoyable book. With two very different women from different worlds coming together but the stories are so similar. There is pain, hope and moving on. There is a realism that makes you fall in love with the characters.

l
lostintheshelves
Jan 28, 2016

I love Thrity Umrigar, but this book is not as a good as the wonderful Space Between Us or the lovable World We Found, or even The Weight of Heaven or If Today Be Sweet. I would recommend that anyone who hasn't read the first two on that list start there.

Umrigar experiments with different voices, points of view, and perspectives here, but many of the risks she takes (including the inconclusive, reader-supplies-the-answers ending) don't work. I respected the author for taking those risks, and she paints a vivid picture of how even very mild childhood sexual abuse can have far-reaching effects on its victims decades later, but she explains and tells more than she shows, and her characters don't ring as true as they do in her other books.
Maggie the therapist violates her profession's rules too thoroughly, and innocent, uneducated village wife Lakshmi sometimes feels more naive than I could credit. I would skip this unless you are interested in the representation of therapists in fiction or like me love Umrigar enough to read all her books!

m
muffin0321
Aug 21, 2015

As usual this author came through with another great story. I have read all of her books and never been disappointed. She gets right to the matter and develops her characters - no fluff or filler. Truly enjoyable reads that you will not soon forget.

l
lundar1
Jul 22, 2015

This book was impossible to read! There was a huge boundary invasion with the therapist/client relationship and I couldn't finish chapter 2 even.

ontherideau Mar 04, 2015

Much conflict and resolution, the end is left to our interpretation.

g
geoffreyalvin
Feb 28, 2015

Haunting lies we keep to ourselves have a way of escaping and transforming our narrative. This book shed light to Lakshmi's pure intent to protect and to feed -a mother's heart...and the desperation for human connection. Umrigar had many insights that made me laugh out loud. Absolutely loved the stories!

scarpittikelly Nov 16, 2014

loved this local author turned famous indeed...but that ending?! huh? is Lakshmi's last story about her and Maggie's husband?!

madison382 Oct 31, 2014

Ms. Umrigar is a real story teller that holds your interest from the first page.

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patcumming Nov 26, 2014

So much pain. So many secrets. She felt burdened by the weight of other people's secrets, their grief, their trust, their blinking anticipation, their eager faces, the hunger with which they looker at her, expecting answers, expecting cures, expecting miracles.

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