Evening Book Club
The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar
“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.” Virginia Woolf
Readers expressed strong opinions about this book. Most said they really liked it, but some did not like the story or the characters at first. They definitely disliked Maggie the therapist because of her relationship with Peter the photographer. He was the most despised of all and readers felt he was a narcissist with no redeeming qualities. They were put off by Maggie’s self-centered behavior; everything was the fault of someone else. She was not willing to give up her desires or professional career until faced with the disastrous consequences of her behavior.
The same was said about Lakshmi whose actions always got her into trouble. She did not think about outcomes before she acted. Several choices that she made backfired with terrible consequences for her and others in her circle of acquaintances. She may have not been innocent or as naïve as she appeared. Sudhir, Maggie’s husband was everyone’s favorite because of his love and devotion to her and his sincere attention to Lakshmi an Indian woman who would have been of lower caste in Bombay.
The story was character driven and revealed how the interior lives of all of them were a product of their childhood and the culture of their families and countries. Readers discussed how lives were affected by relationships and choices made. They decided that the decisions of their adult lives were not deliberate but that in the end changes were made after great reflection their part. At the conclusion of the book readers felt there was closure and hoped that things would work out to reclaim lives and start over.
Readers said that the title Story Hour was not only about the hour of therapy with Maggie and Lakshmi but also about the individual stories and secrets of all of the main characters. Perhaps there will be a happy ending. Some readers said they were not happy with the ending of the book so they shared their own endings with the group. Everyone was satisfied with this and felt better about the author after the discussion.
“I close my eyes. In the dark I hears the ocean banging its head against the sand. I have come as far as I can. What happen now is the job of the same God who made the small Lakshmi and the big ocean. I begins.” Lakshmi
Have you read The Story Hour? What did you think? Please share your thoughts in comments.