The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is this week’s book recommendation.
Why should you pick it up?
Form the first-page onwards, you’ll realise that reading this book will be an experience that you’ll savour for life. I don’t know why I waited for so long to read this book when the hardcopy was lying on my father’s bookshelf. But I guess, there’s always a predestined time for you to read a book. Yes, I believe that.
The first thing that caught my interest was the ease with which Lahiri held my attention. There is something soothing in her writing. And I loved that about the book.
Then I couldn’t help but admire how the idiosyncrasies of us Bengalis and specifically that of Bengalis living abroad have been so expertly impressed into this tale. The Namesake, I feel is a story born from the seemingly mundane practice of how as Bengalies we have two sets of names. It is brilliant and her writing exquisite. It is the story of identities, of parental expectations and the turmoil children, grown-up children sometimes have balancing that and their own identities.
I think you should read this book because this is one of the best pieces of contemporary fiction. I finished reading it in 3 days and that’s because I had other things to take care of including a toddler. Else, a few years back I would have read it in one sitting.
Leaving you with the blurb to decide.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is this week's book recommendation. #BookRecommendation #Reads Click To Tweet
Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works — and only a handful of collections — to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Among the many other awards and honours it received were the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the highest critical praise for its grace, acuity, and compassion in detailing lives transported from India to America.
In The Namesake, Lahiri enriches the themes that made her collection an international bestseller: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. Here again, Lahiri displays her deft touch for the perfect detail — the fleeting moment, the turn of phrase — that opens whole worlds of emotion.
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name.
Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves.
Link to purchase on Amazon:
The book is available in Paperback and as a Kindle edition. So, what are you waiting for?
Link to Good Reads: The Namesake