"I am not ascare to die. I am only ascare that after death I be alone. Maybe because of suicide, I go to the hell? If hell all hot and crowded and noiseful, like Christian minister on TV say, then I not care because it will be just like India. But if hell cold and quiet, with lot of snow and leaf-empty trees, and people who smile with string-thin lips, then I ascare. Because it seem so much like my life in America."
In The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar, a failed suicide attempt brings two women together: Lakshmi Patil, a desperately lonely Indian woman trapped in a loveless marriage, and Dr. Maggie Bose, a successful psychologist who agrees to treat Lakshmi for free. A friendship slowly develops between them as Lakshmi shares the stories of her past. For women who come from two completely different worlds, it's interesting how much they have in common. They each have secrets, and they each make big mistakes, but that's what makes them so endearing and likeable. And so human.
This is a beautifully told story of friendship and forgiveness. I especially liked the parts that take place in India; it's such a fascinating country and culture, and so foreign to my own. I've never read Thrity Umrigar before, but I'll definitely read her again. She's an amazing writer. It makes me glad that the U shelf at my library had so few options to choose from, otherwise I might have overlooked this book. And that would have been sad. So, here's to the serendipity of reading the alphabet and to an unexpected find from the U shelf.