Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Thrity Umrigar’s The World We Found is the story of four women, once joined by a common political cause in 1970s Bombay, who have drifted apart over the last 30 years. The women, previously inseparable, followed very different paths. Armaiti lives in America, Laleh lives a life of unfulfilled dreams, Kavita deals with her unrequited feelings for Armaiti, and Nishta has sacrificed her own identity to please her Muslim husband.

Armaiti is dying and wants her closest friends to be with her as she faces the end. The three friends still living in India reconnect with one another first, and begin planning the long journey to America to be with their friend once more. As they prepare to depart their home, each woman reflects on her past and present, and the sacrifices she will make for the sake of sisterly friendship.

Thrity Umrigar’s writing is beautiful; I kept marveling over the delicate prose, re-reading certain passages and filing away the images they projected inside my mind so that I could enjoy them all over again later. I think that women readers especially will relate to each of these women in one way or another, whether it’s with Armaiti for facing her mortality, or with Nishta for finally gaining the courage she needed to escape a relationship that was slowly killing her inside.

The World We Found does not strictly keep readers in the minds of the women; we also get glimpses into the hearts of the men whom these women love: Armaiti’s husband, Adish, and Nishta’s husband, Iqbal. Through the characters of Adish and Iqbal, American readers may gain a better understanding of a culture and religion that is often misinterpreted.

The World We Found had a different story than I had imagined; it is more about the journey than the destination. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to any of these women (or even the men) because I still felt there was more story to be told. I would love to know what happens when the four women are finally reunited after so many decades; it ends all too soon.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.