The Museum of Failures

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on BN.com Buy on Bookshop.org
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 26 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2024

Talking about this book? Use #TheMuseumofFailures #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

A mother can forgive but can she ever forget?

Author of Reese's Book Club pick Honor Thrity Umrigar returns with a powerful new story about family secrets, a mother's power, and the importance of forgiveness.

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, and seems to have given up on life, he is struck with guilt for not realising just how sick she is.

But when Remy stumbles on an old photograph, shocking long-held family secrets surface. As the secrets unravel, 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.

The Museum of Failures is a poignant and profound exploration of what happens when someone’s entire life, their entire journey, has been spent off course. I feel this book. You will too’ JAMIE FORD, New York Times bestselling author of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

Publishing in Paperback Spring 2024

A mother can forgive but can she ever forget?

Author of Reese's Book Club pick Honor Thrity Umrigar returns with a powerful new story about family secrets, a mother's power, and the importance of...


Advance Praise

'There’s no powder keg like a family secret. And when it explodes, nothing in the past is ever as it was, and nothing in the future is ever the same. The Museum of Failures is a symphony of secrets and lies, love and hate, regret and forgiveness, but more than that, the unraveling of everything one holds dear to find something more precious and elusive: oneself. Powerful and engrossing'

—Marlon James, Booker Prize–winning author of Moon Witch, Spider King

'Family secrets are constellations made of falling stars. When scattered across the vast expanse of our lives, they lead us, guide us, but often in the wrong direction. With Thrity Umrigar’s signature blend of emotional depth and compassionate storytelling, The Museum of Failures is a poignant and profound exploration of what happens when someone’s entire life, their entire journey, has been spent off course. I feel this book. You will too'

—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

'Wrenching and uplifting, lighthearted and profound, The Museum of Failures is a suspenseful, beautifully plotted tribute to the complicated yet steadfast love between parents and children'

—Megha Majumdar, bestselling author of A Burning

'The Museum of Failures is a compassionate and insightful exploration of judgment, forgiveness, and understanding. A skilled chronicler of family secrets, Thrity Umrigar reveals the reverberation that decisions can have over generations and the impact of distance, both geographical and psychological, on the relationship of one mother and son'

—Lisa Ko, author of National Book Award finalist The Leavers

'There’s no powder keg like a family secret. And when it explodes, nothing in the past is ever as it was, and nothing in the future is ever the same. The Museum of Failures is a symphony of secrets...


Available Editions

EDITION Ebook
ISBN 9781800753723
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)
PAGES 356

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 13 members


Featured Reviews

Thrity Umrigar is an immensely talented writer, whose stories provide interesting insights into the human condition, as well as the specific characters and cultural contexts to which her books introduce us.

Her descriptions of the tiny Parsi community, a gifted minority that Umrigar herself belongs to, offer an insider's glimpse into a social group in India that is unlike any other.

Remy Wadia left his country of origin many years ago, without a (meaningful) backward glance. Growing up, his family life was not particularly happy - especially because his mother, Shirin, was harsh and distant.

Since the death of his father Cyrus, to whom he was closer, Remy has not had much cause to look back anyway.

Until now.

In the story, Remy finds himself returning to Bombay, the city in which he grew up, for the purpose of adopting a baby. His wife Kathy, a pediatrician, has remained in America while Remy goes to make the necessary arrangements.

They are taking the baby expected by Remy's friend's young, pregnant niece. The mother does not want her own parents to find out about her pregnancy. Nor does she want to have her studies derailed. So, this should be a win-win situation for everyone.

Except that when Remy arrives, nothing is as he expected. His mother, who was supposed to be looked after by two distant cousins, is in very bad shape. So much so, that she has stopped communicating.

And when Remy takes over her care, and she begins to recover, he starts finding out things that make him see everything he thought he knew about his family from a completely different perspective.

So, although Remy arrived in India to make plans for the future, he finds himself unexpectedly caught up in examining his past. And in the process, he realizes that the reason why family relationships are referred to as the ties that bind is because - for better or worse - we can never entirely free ourselves from them...

Was this review helpful?

Umrigar writes beautifully as she takes on life in current India and America. My only criticism is the injection of American politics into the story. Fictional writing is a form of escapism. Many of us don't wish to hear the author's slant through the voice of a character. Pro or con, I just want the purity of the plot, especially when those politics have nothing to do with the storyline directly.

Was this review helpful?

If you liked Thrity Umrigar's previous novels you will definitely like this. It is the mix of Indian and American life that makes her novels stand out.

The Museum of Failures is the nickname that our protagonist, Remy, has given to Bombay although he gives several examples of his reasons I cannot recall one at present.

Remy has returned from his life in Columbus where he is a successful advertising manager, married to Kathy, in order to adopt a baby from a teenage cousin and also to see his ailing, elderly mother with whom he has always had a fractious relationship. However once he has arrived he is dealt several devastating blows which lead to a family secret buried so deep that it takes some unravelling.

Remy is an interesting character if a little on the selfish side. He certainly doesn't consider the consequences of his own actions and doesn't really seem to care about anyone else's feelings for quite a long time into the novel. For me, he was hard to like a lot of the time. However Thrity Umrigar is wonderful at giving us complex characters with complicated back stories. Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems and Museum of Failures starts simple but the secrets keep coming and surprises follow.

I'd definitely recommend this book. It is an easy read with enough surprises to keep you hooked. The family relationships are not wildly complicated and the plot is easy to understand.

Thankyou to Netgalley and Swift Press for the advance review copy.

Was this review helpful?

Excellent novel dealing with family secrets and regrets in a small Parsi community in Bombay. Torn between India and America, Remy has to deal with an elderly and ill mother who kept her past a mystery to him, and the chance to adopt. Well written, engaging and heart wrenching.

Was this review helpful?

Such a beautifully written book about family roles, mother and son relationships, internal conflicts and struggles. This book was an emotional read for me and I found it fast moving despite intricate back stories and flashbacks. I also enjoyed learning about Parsi culture and mentions of Parsi and Indian food. I looked up most of the foods that were mentioned in the book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Swift Press for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The Museum Of Failures by Thrity Umrigar
I give this book 4.75 stars

Remy Wadia has 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, and seems to have given up on life, he is struck with guilt for not realising just how sick she is.
But when Remy stumbles on an old photograph, shocking long-held family secrets surface. He finds himself reevaluating his entire childhood, just as he is on the cusp of becoming a parent himself.

A beautifully written novel that immerses the reader deeply into India and its complex cultures.We are taken on a touching journey layered with family, their deepest secrets and the healing power of acceptance and forgiveness. Filled with emotion I found this such an interesting read with levels of sadness but also uplifting and hopeful,The author gives an insightful glimpse into the lives of others born in and raised in different countries.
With thanks to Netgalley,Thrity Umrigar and Swift Press for my chance to read and review this book

Was this review helpful?

I loved this - a very thoughtfully written book about family relationships, the complexities of mother and son dynamics, and the realisation that your parents are not always the person you grew up thinking they were.
It sort of jumps between timelines, fully fleshing out the characters back stories, and it jumps between India and America.

A really well-written and enjoyable read!

Was this review helpful?

The Museum of Failures is the newest novel by Thrity Umrigar. It publishes on 26 September. It’s the story of Remy Wadia, an Indian man who has made a successful life for himself in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife Kathy are unable to have children and as the novel opens he has just arrived in Bombay, hoping to adopt a baby from a teenage relation of his best friends. He ends up spending more time than planned with Shirin, his aging mother, with whom he doesn’t have a close relationship since she was cold, distant and sometimes abusive when he was a child. Remy accidentally uncovers a long hidden family secret which causes him to rethink his entire childhood, the relationship he enjoyed with his father, and that which he has with his mother.

I found the story engaging and well-told. While Remy wasn’t always likeable I really appreciated his character arc, especially once he came to terms with the secret which had been kept from him. Shirin too underwent a transformation once she shared the story. The corrosiveness of secrets and the healing power of truth are among the strongest themes in this novel. It’s a powerful look at the parent child relationship, what one would sacrifice for the other, what they owe each other. It also explores emotions like grief, anger, and shame, and touches on aspects of the immigrant experience.

Many stories set in India cover similar ground and this story definitely featured some common topics and tropes - caste, poverty, corruption, the pressure to get ahead, comparisons with the west. However, its focus was largely on less travelled ground. One area was the double-standard regarding attitudes to premarital sex, punitive for women but far more accepting for men. Another was its highlighting of the Parsi community, which is often overlooked when the focus is on the Hindu-Muslim divide. I enjoyed learning more about this group. Most significantly was the way this story focused on disability and ableism. I have a brother who lives with multiple disabilities and I found this book a very tough read in places. Of course it is those things that I found difficult which give this story its uniqueness and strength.

Many thanks to @netgalley and @_swiftpress for my e-arc. I’m glad to have been able to read this book.

Was this review helpful?

Remy Wadia, a Parsi, was born in Bombay but now lives in the US.

He returns to India to meet a friend’s unmarried pregnant friend who wishes to give up her baby for adoption. His wife stays at home because he thinks it will be quicker to arrange everything if he is on his own. He finds out his mother is ill in hospital and is not talking. Remy has always had a fractious relationship with his month.

Over the course of the book we find out why they have this relationship.

I enjoyed the book, wonderful writing, and she describes an immigrants view well. Not truly home in either land. The ending was a bit contrived but, by the time I got there, I didn’t care.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: