The Story Hour

The Story Hour

A Novel

Book - 2014
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From Thrity Umrigar, the critically beloved, best-selling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about the beauty of forgiveness. As a dedicated and seasoned practitioner, psychologist Maggie prides herself on her ability to remain professionally detached from her patients. But when a young Indian woman ends up at her hospital after a suicide attempt, Maggie finds herself ignoring all the rules. Lakshmi, who left all her family behind when she immigrated to America, is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage, her life circumscribed by the walls of her husband's small Indian restaurant and grocery store. Ending her life feels like the only way out of her misery. Deeply affected by Lakshmi's loneliness and disturbed by her domineering husband, Maggie impulsively offers to treat her as an out-patient free of charge. However, when the sessions begin in Maggie's home office it's apparent that Lakshmi doesn't really need a doctor; she needs a friend. Maggie abandons protocol, determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, and the two develop a powerful relationship that is full of affection but also warped by conflicting expectations. Blossoming, on the road to healing her marriage, Lakshmi finally shares the reason for her departure from India - and inadvertently discovers that Maggie has a dark secret of her own. These revelations jeopardize everything they have worked so hard to build, forcing them to confront some extremely difficult choices. This jewel of a novel once again demonstrates that few writers capture the complexities, challenges, and rewards of love - both platonic and romantic - like Thrity Umrigar. In an achingly human story about our capacity for faith, forgiveness, and hope, she allows us to celebrate the power of second chances.
Publisher: New York, HarperCollins,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780062374387
Characteristics: 317 pages ; 23 cm.


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Nov 10, 2017

Looking forward to discussing this on Monday, December 4th. New book club members are welcome to join us!
So our group's rating for this ranged from a 5/10 to a 9/10, with an overall average of 7/10. The word friendship was mentioned several times, along with secrets and forgiveness. It was also described as a book with lots of layers.
One book club member says if you liked this, try reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

Sep 27, 2017

There are many reviews outlining the plot of this book. Suffice it to say, that I thoroughly enjoyed this book: Thrity creates characters that are solid and believable; who can keep you turning the pages to discover more about their lives.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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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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