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The Story Hour [Kindle Edition]

Thrity Umrigar
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £15.99
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Book Description

From the critically beloved, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us, whom the New York Times Book Review calls a “perceptive and . . . piercing writer,” comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, family, secrets, forgiveness, and second chances.

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.



Product Description

Review

““A taut, suspenseful page-turner with depth, heart, and psychological credibility whose believable and enduring characters ponder the meaning of friendship, the challenges of marriage, and the value of storytelling itself.” (Boston Globe)

“With grace, wisdom and incredible compassion, Thrity Umrigar has woven together the lives of two seemingly dissimilar women who must learn—against steep odds—to forgive each other and themselves.” (Paula McClain, author of The Paris Wife)

“Past misdeeds threaten the friendship of a psychologist and her immigrant patient in a fictional tale that asks, are we more than the sum of our mistakes?” (O Magazine, “10 Books to Pick Up Now”)

“Thrity Umrigar has an uncanny ability to look deeply into the human heart and find the absolute truth of our lives. The Story Hour is stunning and beautiful. Lakshmi and Maggie will stay with readers for a very long time.” (Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird's Daughter)

“Thrity Umrigar’s novel The Story Hour showcases her ability to bring to life characters who are…sympathetic yet flawed in ways we can all relate to.… I read deep into the night to find out how their stories end, and I predict you will, too!” (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Oleander Girl and Sister of My Heart)

“The sixth novel from Umrigar (The Space Between Us) is a deeply moving portrait of connection, disconnection, and missed connections…. [T]his compassionate and memorable novel is remarkable for the depth and complexity of its characters.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Umrigar’s novel begins as a small domestic drama and develops into a forceful examination of identity, cultural isolation and the power of storytelling.…An impressive writer, Umrigar delivers another smart, compulsively readable work.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Skillful…. Much like a therapy session, this deft, well-paced novel contains breakthroughs and growth, and, at its end, leaves the reader wistful that the allotted time on the couch has run out.” (Booklist)

“Explores cross-cultural friendships, troubled marriages, love, loss, and forgiveness with [Umrigar’s] characteristic wisdom, humor, and warmth.… This satisfying, psychologically complex story will appeal to a wide range of readers.… its characters are both smart and likable without being sentimental or idealized.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“[a] thoughtful and moving new novel...” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The Story Hour is…a compelling testament to the power of story to unite people, transcend differences, and ultimately heal both the self and relationships.” (BookBrowser Review)

“I was hooked immediately…. The book will make a great movie…with actresses vying for the roles of these strong, unforgettable characters.” (Midlife at the Oasis)

From the Back Cover

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshmi's plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi's relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 839 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (19 Aug. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GWKTTQS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,344 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 14 Nov. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
the weakest of her novels....did not really hold my interest..pity since i was so looking forward to it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  145 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong, Flawed Characters 9 Jun. 2014
By Utah Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In her latest novel The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar offers a unique perspective on the plight of the emigrant. Lakshmi is struggling to break free from the bounds of her oppressive husband but as she recognizes her own talents and capabilities and learns to act for herself, she is also give power to face her secrets and overcome their chains.

The strongest aspect of this very readable and enjoyable novel is the characterization. Neither Maggie or Lakshmi are perfect characters. They are flawed. At times they make horrible choices. Umrigar creates very human characters who are not villains yet do not always act in the best interest of themselves or others. They are at times abrupt, impulsive and narcissistic yet they are worth rooting for. There is the opportunity for redemption and restitution.

The story is powerful. Umrigar grants insight into the human soul and the strong emotions and influences that often motivate us to act contrary to the best interests of others. Thrity Umrigar is a very talented writer. She has a way with words and she has a deep understanding of human nature. She combines these talents to create a lovely masterpiece in The Story Hour.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying Emotional Read, Delightful Psychological Novel 7 May 2014
By O. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
*****
This was a book I so wanted to continue after I read the last page...it was deeply satisfying, exploring the experiences of betrayal and denial, friendship and marriage--and most of all, love. The book is about the friendship of two women from vastly different cultures and life experiences, and how, as their friendship develops and intimacy grows, secrets arise and the two women must handle the consequences and what they reveal about each of their characters. The book is based on a psychologist-client relationship and the changes that happen as boundaries become unclear and collapse--and the inevitable disasters that happen.

The voices of each chapter alternate between Maggie--a skilled and experienced African-American psychologist married to a professor, living a typical affluent American lifestyle, and her client Lakshimi--a younger Indian woman from a small village who helps her husband run his Indian grocery store in Cedarville. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Lakshimi's eyes as with her limited exposure to American culture she saw the world with fresh eyes and a sense of wonderment.

This book was just so satisfying; I like an interesting story that has mystery to it or an emotionally exciting aspect (like a psychological thriller), remarkable and likable characters, an ending that makes sense and resolves many of the issues in the book, and most of all a reading experience that makes me think about the book long after I've finished. This book had all of this. I cannot imagine who would not enjoy reading it!

Highly recommended.

NOTE: I received this book in advance of publication as part of the Amazon Vine program. I hope that my review is helpful for you, and I hope that you decide to read this wonderful novel.
*****
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stories! 4 Sept. 2014
By PattyLouise - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Title...the Story Hour

Author...Thrity Umrigar

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Lakshmi is sad and tries to kill herself. She meets Maggie as her therapist but they become friends...sort of.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book was filled with Lakshmi's stories from India and her life there. She was so sad and didn't think she had love in her life and she really truly allowed Maggie to help her...just by being friends...and ultimately as she began believing in herself and changing her life...she ultimately helped Maggie!

What I loved about this book...

I enjoyed the way these two women began their friendship.

What I did not love about this book...

For some reason I did not like Maggie. Well...Maggie's adulterous affair with Peter was one reason why I wasn't that crazy about her...especially when she had a lovely husband at home. And she was mean to Lakshmi sometimes when I thought she should have been kind...more kind. And also Lakshmi's stories...why do I always choose these books with so many stories in them...sigh.

Final thoughts...

I found this book to be just ok for me...I was not drawn to the stories or the characters strongly.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BLURRED BOUNDARIES 17 May 2014
By Red Rock Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With THE STORY HOUR author Thrity Umrigar once again takes us on a journey of enlightenment as we meet two women from vastly different cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds whose lives converge when one attempts suicide and the other, an experienced psychologist, is assigned the case. Maggie believes that her patient is lacking in self-esteem and is trapped in a marriage to a controlling, dictatorial man and although she initially attempts to keep her relationship with Lakshmi on a strictly professional, doctor/patient, basis she finds herself becoming more and more involved in the life and struggles of the young woman from India and determines to do everything she can to equip her patient with the tools to make her self-sufficient.

Maggie, successful in her career but faltering in her marital commitment, finds a degree of kinship with Lakshmi and a friendship develops between the two women that result in dramatic revelations, that threaten not only their marriages but also the very foundation of trust and belief on which their friendship is based.

This is a remarkable and thought-provoking novel in which the truth of the lives of each characters flaws tantalizingly reveals itself and entices you into a tale that binds together a disparate quartet whose tortuous back stories and relationships take on a new energy and meaning by bringing out the deep hidden secrets and expectations of each and exposes the everyday reality of lives filled with loss and longing.

Makes one question our memories ability to make certain events in our lives more desirable and magical than the reality of them.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Twisted Tale of Love, Faith and Forgiveness 19 July 2014
By asiana - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The storyline of this book involves an American psychologist who, contrary to the dictates of her profession, befriends one of her patients, an Indian woman, who basically does not need counseling, but needs a friend in whom she can confide.

Lakshmi has a loveless marriage and has been forbidden by her husband to have any contact with her family in India. Maggie, the psychologist, has a loving relationship with her professor husband in a small college community. The two women have secrets which, in the course of counseling and their ensuing friendship, are divulged. The twisted storyline was compelling and I continued to read the book to the end but I was not enthralled with the author's writing style and would not read another of her books.
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