Honor

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Pub Date 2 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 2 Jun 2022

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THE NEW REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK

'A powerful, important, unforgettable book' Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

In this riveting and immersive novel, bestselling author Thrity Umrigar tells the story of two couples and the sometimes dangerous and heartbreaking challenges of love across a cultural divide.

Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena – a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man – Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves: Smita realizes she has the freedom to enter into a casual affair, knowing she can decide later how much it means to her.

In this tender and evocative novel about love, hope, familial devotion, betrayal and sacrifice, Thrity Umrigar shows us two courageous women trying to navigate how to be true to their homelands and themselves at the same time.

'In the way A Thousand Splendid Suns told of Afghanistan's women, Thrity Umrigar tells a story of India with the intimacy of one who knows the many facets of a land both modern and ancient, awash in contradictions, permeated by a smoldering mix of ageless traditions and new ideas' Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

Honor is a novel of profound depths-cultural, personal, romantic, spiritual. It's also a story of tremendous grace, both in the understanding it shows its characters and in the ways they navigate a brutal but stunning life’  Rebecca Makkai

THE NEW REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK

'A powerful, important, unforgettable book' Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

In this riveting and immersive novel, bestselling author Thrity Umrigar tells the...


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ISBN 9781800751606
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 42 members


Featured Reviews

I’m glad I read this book. The first part was highly uncomfortable for me to read. But the book made me feel things. The ending was unpredictable but it made sense. It’s hard to say this is a ‘good’ book because of the subject matter. However, I would recommend this book to others.

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This was a tough but powerful read about love, betrayal, a society living in the past and being torn between family and the heart. this book was well written with a gripping and heart-wrenching storyline and well developed characters that were believeable and I especially really took to both Smita and Meena.
I don't want to go into the plot too much because I want people to experience like I did, it is such an emotive read and I went through a variety of emotions whilst reading it, mainly anger, disbelief and sadness.
A incredible read.

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This was an intense read! The book definitely challenges love, culture and heart break! Looking forward to lots more by this author.

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In this riveting and immersive novel, bestselling author Thrity Umrigar tells the story of two couples and the sometimes dangerous and heartbreaking challenges of love across a cultural divide.
Begs to be read in one sitting… really tugs at your emotions, one minute I was breathless with anticipation, the next I had tears running down my face… I can’t wait for more by this author.

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This was a tough hard hitting read but also an enjoyable eye opening book. It was so intense but also in a good exciting way.

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Beautifully written novel about Indian traditions, love, sacrifice and honour. I didn't want to put this down. It reveals the harsh realities of cultural divisions in a modern day India. Heartbreaking......

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What a wonderfully written book!

From start to finish I was booked on this book, instantly falling in love with Thrity's writing style. The character set up was perfect, letting the reader learn about the characters JUST enough to feel somewhat attached but not enough to know the real stories behind them (until later in the book of course, no spoilers here).

The scene setting was done so perfectly, more so through the characters' eyes themselves, making it more genuine feeling.

With themes of grief, religion and gender injustice I went into this knowing it would be hard hitting, but Thrity has managed to detail these themes through the eyes of Smita, an Indian-born, American journalist and Meena, a Hindu woman who was one day awfully tortured by her brothers for marrying the love of her life, a Muslim man. Some scenes were incredibly upsetting to read about, but I see this as a sign of impeccable writing. The scenes and characters felt so real, not only because of the style of writing and the words used, but also the small additions of the different Indian dialects such as Parsi and Marathi.

Thank you Thrity and Netgalley for enabling me to learn more about Indian cultures and read this truly beautiful and heart wrenching book in exchange for my honest review.

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Indian American journalist, Smita has returned to India, believing she has been called there to take care of her friend and fellow journalist, Shannon. While visiting her
friend in the hospital, she learns she has been called there to cover a story of Meena - a Hindu woman - who has been attacked by her own brothers for marrying a Muslim man.

‘As children, we were taught to be afraid of tigers and lions. Nobody taught
us what I know today-the most dangerous animal in this world is a man
with wounded pride.’

This is a powerful, gut-wrenching story, highlighting two very different, but very brave women. Some parts of this story are hard to read. It's brutal and sad. I could not put this book down, even though some parts were so tough. I screamed and cried and screamed again!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for allowing me the opportunity to get an early copy of this novel!

Please note that this novel contains graphic violence, arson, sexual abuse, torture, child abuse, sexual harassment and murder.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the Pulishers Swift Press for the Arc in exchange for an honest review.

I loved, loved this book. Loved Smita and Mohan & Meena and Abdul. This is definitely Thrity Umrigar’s best book - better even than ‘The Space between Us’ which was beautiful.
This book deftly brings the reader into India, with all its contrasts, beauty, injustice and hope.
Thoroughly recommend.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Thrity Umrigar and the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Honour is an excruciating book to read, but only because it opens your eyes to the harsh reality other people are facing in different countries. I think this book should be taught in schools to make others aware of their privilege.


Indian American journalist Sima arrives back in India since the time her family were driven out and moved to America years before. She ends up following the story of Meena, a woman who was burnt, and her husband murdered. All because of his religion and her culture. Reporting on her story Sima becomes aware of how unfair the justice system can be, and unlocks similar memories to her childhood.It’s a heartbreaking story and is a one that will stay with me forever.

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There comes a time when you read a book and realise how important it is. How powerful and unforgettable it is. A book that sticks to you, that stays with you.

Honor is one such book. Two women fighting against the cultural divide that is traditional India. Smita reluctantly returns to India to cover the heart wrenching story of Meena. What begins as a novel highlighting religious divides in rural India quickly turns the focus to these two woman and their individual struggles.

The beauty and pain described in this novel touches and pulls at every heart string. And at times difficult to read some atrocities, it is a book you can not put down.

I adored Mohan & Smita’s interactions and they were the perfect moments to provide som relief.

A beautiful way to explore two courageous woman.

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Meena, a rural woman, has been the victim of a brutal honour attack inwhich her husband is murdered by her own blood. Smita, an Indian American journalist must overcome her Mumbai past and travel to India in a bid to get the story, while she embarks on her own love quest.

I am quite nieve when it comes to cultural aspects of India, I was also unaware of the islamaphobia that had occurred in India's history. As a westerner, I have heard stories of honour killings occurring in rural india, but was taken aback by rural India's backward views on women. This was a horrowingly brutal story of fobbiden love, family honor, corruption and murder most evil, but also of the power of love and sacrifice.

Although at times the content was difficult to read, I couldn't put this book down. Every page was a page turner and I needed to find out what happened next. I liked how the POV switched on some chapters between Smita and Meena. It allowed their characters to develop, while showing the reader how their situation differed, though they shared similarities in the way they were treated as women by the country they called home.

I did have to Google the odd word to check both meaning and pronunciation.

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I have to admit that it took me a while to get into this book and I found myself frustrated with the protagonist, but after finishing it, I think it might be one of my favourite reads of all year. Honor tells the story of a Hindu woman, Meena, who seeks justice for the murder of her Muslim husband, Abdul, by her own brothers, following an elopement that attracts the ire of her entire village, and the Indian-American journalist, Smita, sent to cover the court verdict that finally decide whether Meena's brothers are villains or patriots.

It was an incredibly compelling and difficult story to read, but one of the more relevant ones, and it is a testament to the author's skill in crafting such a story, which can only mirror hundreds and maybe thousands of real-life ones going on in India right now, because I didn't want to read it, but I felt that I had to, for my own sake. The author had a way of highlighting this powerful, painful social issue, to draw significant attention to the growing and rampant Islamaphobia in India right now, and as a Hindu, even if I struggled, I had to read this. Meena's story and Smita's story was juxtaposed admirably, and honestly, I would recommend this book to anyone.

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Wow! I came into this book with no expectations, but it blew me away. I think it was smart to have the perspective of an Indian American journalist as the main character, as it softly gave the reader a chance to see the narrowed Western perspective as well as the perspective of a native. I also liked how it explored the difficulty of ones identity and their relationship with their heritage and homeland. How it's not always white and black.
Meena's story is one we know all to well about, and the author makes a point of how after the headlines these cases are often out of sight, out of mind. But the Umrigar had me by the collar and forced me to look at her story. It was cleverly informative and explorative without becoming preachy, a skill difficult to wield.
A 4.5 star book that I will think about.

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It's not often that Reese's bookclub and I agree on our appreciation of a book, but this was a 5-star read for me.

When Smita gets a call from her friend Shannon asking her to come see her in Mumbai, she thinks she's going to take care of Shannon after her surgery. She soon discovers that Shannon wants her to cover the story of Meena, a woman who is suing her brothers for the murder of her Muslim husband and attempting to murder her in the process.

This is an excellent book, with a great sense of place (smells, colours, humidity...) that transported me to India. The characters are vivid and have depth. Through the book, we, the readers, evolve and learn just like Smita does. We're horrified by the things she sees and experiences coming back to her home country, by the patriarchal society in which these women live.

The writing style is straight to the point and not fancy, and I think that's exactly what this story needed.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read this copy.
This book is written so beautifully, the characters are wonderful and it is a great insight into the Indian culture. Will definitely be reading more by this author.

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Honor by Thrity Umrigar is a powerhouse of a book, spellbinding, heart breaking and magnificent. It is my first experience of the author's work but it will certainly not be the last.
In this memorable book we follow Smita, an Indian American journalist who travels back to India for the first time since childhood to help a friend , but once there she is roped into covering the story of Meena, a young Hindu woman who married a Muslim man against her family's wishes, only for them to be attacked, killing him and leaving her scarred both physically and emotionally. Despite the cultural expectations and the prevailing traditions Meena is determined to try to bring justice for her husband, if only so that she can look their daughter in the eye and say she tried. Since the attackers were her own brothers and her village elders , Meena is forced to throw herself on the mercy of her mother in law, a woman who blames her for the death of her son. As the date of their trial draws closer, tensions in the small village rise and Smita is forced to revisit the traumas of her past while trying to support Meena through the difficult process. Returning to India makes Smita re- evaluate many of her choices, particularly as she finds herself growing closer to not just Meena and her daughter but also Mohan, a friend of a friend who acts as her guide on her travel's to Meena's remote village.
From the moment Smita stepped off the plane I felt like I was right there in India with her, so successfully were the sights and sounds brought to life on the page. Both Meena and Smita were incredibly charismatic and engaging characters, and I was very quickly invested in their stories. Rarely has a book made me cry but this one had me shedding tears by the end , it really packed an emotional punch with moments of deep sorrow counterbalanced by a hopeful ending. Easily one of the best and most memorable books I have read this year. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

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