Indian-American novelist and journalist Thrity Umrigar will speak at a free public event at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 18, at Adlai E. Stevenson High School West Auditorium, 1 Stevenson Dr., Lincolnshire, Ill. Ms. Umrigar is the author of six best-selling novels, largely drawing on her experiences in India and growing up in Bombay.
Umrigar's appearance is the grand finale event of a three-month, three-library initiative, "One Book, One Community," sponsored by Cook Memorial, Indian Trails and Vernon Area public libraries. Between December 2016 and February 2017, these north suburban library districts encouraged their patrons to read the same book -- "The Story Hour" by Thrity Umrigar -- and discuss it with their family, friends, or book group.
The novel, featuring an Indian woman who immigrates to the United States but is trapped in a loveless marriage, highlights the challenges of adapting to a foreign land. By selecting this book for the "One Book, One Community" initiative, library patrons had a platform for exploring the differences and similarities in culture within their community. In addition to the author visit and book discussions, each library hosted lectures and performances featuring the Indian culture and immigrant experience.
Books are available for purchase and signing at the author visit, courtesy of the Book Bin in Northbrook.
This event is free to attend and open to all. Register at www.1book.org.
About the book
An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she meets a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, Lakshmi is desperately lonely and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store.
Moved by her plight, Maggie treats Lakshmi in her home office for free, quickly realizing that the despondent woman doesn't need a therapist; she needs a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient have become close friends.
While Maggie and Lakshmi's relationship is deeply affectionate, it is also warped by conflicting expectations. When Maggie and Lakshmi open up and share long-buried secrets, the revelations will jeopardize their close bond, shake their faith in each other, and force them to confront painful choices.
About author Thirty Umrigar
Thrity Umrigar was born in Bombay, India, and came to the United States at age 21. She earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in English from Kent State. She is the best-selling author of six novels and a memoir, which have earned her the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize.
Before her career as a novelist, she worked 17 years as a journalist and was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. Today, she is a contributor to the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Huffington Post, among other publications, and is the Armington Professor of English at Case-Western Reserve University.
About the libraries
Cook Memorial Public Library District operates two full-service locations that serve 60,000 residents in the communities of Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Green Oaks and Mundelein. Indian Trails Public Library District serves 67,000 residents in Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Prospect Heights and Arlington Heights. While its main building is under renovation, it provides services from its Prospect Heights branch and temporary facility in Buffalo Grove. Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire directly serves 42,000 residents and businesses in and around Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, Long Grove and Vernon Hills.