Thrity Umrigar, Distinguished University Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, is the best-selling author of the novels Honor, Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found, The Story Hour, Everybody’s Son and The Secrets Between Us. She is also author of a memoir and three children’s picture books. Umrigar is winner of the Cleveland Arts Prize, a Lambda Literary award and the Seth Rosenberg prize, as well as a recipient of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard.
In Museum of Failures, Remy Wadia left India for the United States long ago, carrying his resentment of his mother with him. He has now returned to Bombay to adopt a baby from a young pregnant girl—and to see his elderly mother for the first time in several years. Discovering that his mother is in the hospital, has stopped talking, and seems to have given up on life, he is struck with guilt for not realizing just how sick she has become.
His unexpected appearance and assiduous attention revives her and enables her to return to her home. But when Remy stumbles on an old photograph, shocking long-held family secrets surface. As the secrets unravel and Remy’s mother begins communicating again, he finds himself reevaluating his entire childhood, his relationship to his parents, and his harsh judgment of the decisions and events long hidden from him, just as he is on the cusp of becoming a parent himself. But most of all, he must learn to forgive others for their failures and human frailties.
At this event, Thrity will be in conversation with Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner Karan Mahajan, Associate Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University. His second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Awards and was named one of the “10 Best Books of 2016” by The New York Times. In 2017, he was named one of Granta‘s “Best Young American Novelists” and in 2019, he received the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize given annually to “a young writer of proven excellence in poetry or prose.” Karan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker Online, The New Republic and other venues.