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Critical Praise

“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. Lakshmi’s voice and stories found their way quickly into my heart and didn’t let up, or let go. I dare anyone to resist her or this wonderful novel.”

—Paula McClain, author of THE PARIS WIFE

“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 at once unique yet universal, and sympathetic yet flawed in ways we can all relate to. The two brilliantly imagined heroines of this novel will wring your heart by their longing to break cultural and economic boundaries and connect to each other, and by their terror of the secrets that rule their lives. 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

“Despite their obvious differences, Indian immigrant Lakshmi and her therapist, Maggie, develop a powerful connection in this skillful novel…As the barriers between therapist and patient slowly fall away and a friendship is built, Maggie and Lakshmi begin to uncover secrets that threaten to destroy their relationship and much more. The women have both been shaped by their pasts in ways that are delicately revealed as the narrative unfolds. For her part, Lakshmi’s tale of being a lonely immigrant trapped in a loveless marriage gains added poignancy for being told in her imperfect English. As fascinating as their personal stories are their perceptions --- and misconceptions --- regarding each other, their relationship complicated by issues of class as well as age and race. 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.”


“Maggie is normally very careful to maintain professional boundaries in her clinical practice. Yet when she begins treating Lakshmi, a young Indian woman who has been hospitalized after attempting suicide, the woman’s loneliness strikes a chord in the African American psychologist, and Maggie realizes that what she needs more than therapy is a friend. What starts out as a project of sorts for Maggie to get Lakshmi to value her own worth develops into a true friendship. The narrative alternates by chapter between the two women as a bond between them develops despite cultural and educational differences --- that is, until a revealed secret threatens to destroy how they view each other. Critically acclaimed Indian American writer Umrigar’s most recent novel…explores cross-cultural friendships, troubled marriages, love, loss and forgiveness with her characteristic wisdom, humor and warmth. This satisfying, psychologically complex story will appeal to a wide range of readers. Because its characters are both smart and likable without being sentimental or idealized, it may appeal to the chick lit crowd as much as to readers who enjoy multicultural literary fiction.”

—Library Journal, starred review