Response to The Weight of Heaven

Thrity Umrigar’s main characters in her novel The Weight of Heaven are American. She writes from their perspective, and although it sometimes comes across as slightly didactic at times, she generally portrays Frank and Ellie sympathetically. It is clear, for instance, that these are two people who find it difficult to truly communicate with one another, and this is reflected in several other couples presented in Umrigar’s novel. Indeed, the first few words of the novel highlight this schism in their marriage engendered by the death of their son Benny. Soon after, the couple finds themselves in India, where Umrigar takes the opportunity to mirror this interpersonal shortcoming in the larger field of transnational understanding. The reflections compound as if the relationships are co-metaphors, with either reflecting the other. As Umrigar introduces more interpersonal relationships, this hall of mirrors becomes more complex, revealing the complexities in transnational relationships in a globalized world.

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