But that’s the problem with paradise. Nothing quite attracts the serpent like it.

I came across this quote while reading Cecilia Ahern’s “Love, Rosie, and I was strongly reminded of it while reading Thrity Umrigar’s “The Weight Of Heaven”. This was the second book I read by Thrity Umrigar, and even though I didn’t like it as much as her magnum opus “The Space Between us,” “The Weight Of Heaven” is truly a captivating piece of art.

Author Rick Riordan says in his book “House Of Hades” that “good luck is a sham” and this point is supported by Thrity Umrigar’s book.” In “The Weight Of Heaven” the Benton family’s good luck comes with an equal amount of bad luck. Frank Benton has everything going for him. He has a beautiful, smart wife, a supportive extended family, a handsome child, a wonderful job, and a happy marriage that is the envy of the whole Ann Harbor in Michigan. Frank’s good luck comes to a cruel halt when his son dies. Suddenly Frank’s perfect marriage seems like a joke to him without his son to bind him to his wife Ellie. Suddenly Ann Harbor which was full of friends and equals is full of strangers who pity him. His wife Ellie convinces him to take up the job offered to him in India, so that they can have new beginnings and somehow redeem their marriage. His wife Ellie who is a therapist moves on from their loss, but Frank is somehow stuck in the denial stage of grief, and is convinced that his Indian servant’s brilliant son Ramesh is meant to replace his lost son Ben.

I really loved the fact that Thrity Umrigar tackles many subjects in “The Weight of Heaven”. She talks about corruption, white race superiority in India, exploitation of local workers by foreign companies, income inequalities, family, love, education, patience, forgiveness, religion intolerance, poverty, and grief. After reading the book, I felt like I had just read a history of life in 391 pages. Life as we know it, full of the good things and the bad things. Life that can be incredibly cruel, but can also give moments worth remembering for 100 lifetimes.

Reviewing this book was very difficult for me. I didn’t know how I could possibly do justice to Thrity Umrigar’s incredibly profound work with multiple themes that have equal importance. That said, her work is all the way up, and deserves to be spread and shared. I swear on the river Styx that there will be no disappointments while reading.

Portia Uwase
Portia Uwase Zuba’s academic interests are Economics, International Affairs, and French.