The Lowland

The Lowland

by

Jhumpa Lahiri

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A woman whom Subhash meets when he is still in graduate school. They begin a romantic and sexual relationship, and though Subhash knows that it is untenable in the long-term, he is devastated when Holly informs him that she must cut things off in order to pursue the rekindling of her relationship with her son Joshua’s father, from whom she was never officially divorced.

Holly Quotes in The Lowland

The The Lowland quotes below are all either spoken by Holly or refer to Holly. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Lowland published in 2014.
Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

In her cramped bedroom, setting aside his guilt, he cultivated an ongoing defiance of his parents' expectations. He was aware that he could get away with it, that it was merely the shoals of physical distance that allowed his defiance to persist. He thought of Narasimhan as an ally now; Narasimhan and his American wife. Sometimes he imagined what it would be like to lead a similar life with Holly. To live the rest of his life in America, to disregard his parents, to make his own family with her.

At the same time he knew that it was impossible. That she was an American was the least of it. Her situation, her child, her age, the fact that she was technically another man's wife, all of it would be unthinkable to his parents, unacceptable. They would judge her for those things.

He didn't want to put Holly through that. And yet he continued to see her on Fridays, forging this new clandestine path.

Related Characters: Subhash Mitra (speaker), Gauri Mitra, Holly, Narasimhan
Related Symbols: Udayan’s Footprints
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Lowland LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Lowland PDF

Holly Character Timeline in The Lowland

The timeline below shows where the character Holly appears in The Lowland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 2
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...from his research trip, goes down to a beach near campus. He spots a woman, Holly, walking with a her son, Joshua. Joshua is looking for starfish and Subhash, knowing where... (full context)
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Subhash learns that Holly and Joshua live nearby. Though Holly does not mention her husband, Joshua talks about his... (full context)
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Presence in Absence Theme Icon
One afternoon at the beach, Subhash arrives to find Holly there alone—it is a Friday, and Joshua spends Friday evenings with his father. When it... (full context)
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
As Subhash and Holly eat dinner, Holly confesses she is afraid the separation is negatively affecting Joshua. After dinner,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
...tell Udayan about the “profound step [he has] taken” in embarking upon an affair with Holly, but knows that to accurately describe Holly—and the arrangement between them—in a letter or a... (full context)
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
Subhash goes to Holly’s every Friday, and sometimes stays through the weekend. They are deeply at ease with one... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
Presence in Absence Theme Icon
One weekend in September, Joshua is visiting his father, and Holly suggests she and Subhash take a ferry to Block Island for the weekend. There, Holly... (full context)
Presence in Absence Theme Icon
Subhash and Holly see a turtle in the road, and Subhash moves it back into the grass, away... (full context)
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
Secrets and Conspiracies Theme Icon
On the ferry back to the mainland in the morning, Holly tells Subhash that their affair must end—she is going to try to make things work... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 5
Duty and Desire Theme Icon
...the supermarket. One weekend, while crossing the parking lot after they finish shopping, Subhash spots Holly. For many years, he has consciously tried to avoid running into her or thinking about... (full context)
Part 6, Chapter 4
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...times in Subhash’s life have been rainy ones—it rained the first night he spent with Holly, and on the day Bela was born. He thinks, too, of how the monsoon season... (full context)