The World We Found

The World We Found - Traditional attitudes still linger in India, but they're not held equally in all quarters of Indian society. Some Indians are more liberal than many Americans, while others cling desperately to the old ways and steep themselves in fundamentalist practices. Thrity Umrigar highlights that clash between the old and the new in this story of renewed friendships in modern Bombay.Laleh, Kavita, Armaiti and Nishta were fast friends and fellow revolutionaries in their Bombay college days 30 years ago. Now they've mostly lost touch, and their lives have diverged greatly, leaving them with little in common but a shared history. When Armaiti reaches out from America with news of cancer and a dying wish to have them all together one last time, they reconnect and prove that the sisterhood stands stronger than ever.The contrasting experiences of these four women reflect the complex challenges facing a nation caught between the past and the present.Laleh enjoys a marriage of equals with Adish, her college sweetheart.Kavita is a successful architect. She is a lesbian, happy in her current relationship and aching to reveal her authentic self to her old friends.Armaiti is the deserter. She's the one who ran off to America, and worse yet, married an American.Nishta also married her college sweetheart, but Iqbal is no longer the liberal socialist she married. He has returned to his fundamentalist Muslim roots. He keeps Nishta on a short leash, essentially a prisoner in their home.Nishta's plight becomes pivotal as the friends race against time and Armaiti's imminent death. This is where Laleh's husband Adish really shines, faced with divided loyalties and possessed of a chivalrous heart. Can he live up to his old reputation as "Mr. Fix-It" and come through for them one more time?The World We Found has a lot to recommend it. Character development is superb. The presentation of modern Bombay's paradoxes is nuanced and fascinating. The book even has some expertly-paced suspense that will keep you turning pages right up to the end. Some readers may find the regularly shifting points of view distracting. It does at times interrupt the fluidity of the story, but Umrigar handles the transitions more deftly than many contemporary authors.The essence of this story is that there are no friends like old friends. Neither changing fortunes nor the distance between us can break those bonds.