Monday, December 26, 2005

Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Excellent take on [Indian/Bengali] immigrants

Jhumpa Lahiri is nearly as brilliant in Namesake as she was in the Interpretor of Maladies. Namesake is the story of Gogol, son on Ashoke and Ashima Ganguly. The Gangulies hail from Bengal and throughout their life try to reconcile with their alienated existence in a foreign homeland. The son, Gogol, a namesake of a Russian writer, struggles to come to terms with his love and life. He is born American, flesh and blood Indian and named Russian. The name was given to him as Gangulies never received the letter sent by an aged grandmother carrying the name for Gogol. It was Gogol's book that Ashoke was reading, when he nearly died in a train accident, so the name is forever dear to him. What Gogol does not understand during Ashoke's life, becomes partially apparent to him after his father's death (an extremely moving description).

The novel is about misplaced homelands, about misunderstandings between generations, about the pain and pining of an immigrant, about family values and about an individual who learns from a series of engaging events and conversations the significance of everything he considered meaningless and perhaps, foreign. Namesake is a novel that is brilliant in the description of typical immigrant Bengali families, and does commendable job in capturing the essential conflicts within and among the family members of immigrant families.


El enigma said...

heck!!!!!! why did I read ur review...I'm reading the book these days, was half way thru it, and now u've told me that the dad dies!!!! u're not supposed to tell these things in review yaar :(:(

somehow, I wasn't too thrilled on reading the book....but haven't finished it yet, so wud refrain from commenting....but I still hate u for telling the whole story in review :p:p

it's almost like that time in college when Gupt was released and someone announced on the PA system that Kajol is the murderer :)


Customer recommendations for San Antonio Maid Service website said...

The story was as inspiring and elegant. And the writing truly superb. I will definitely be using this in courses I teach, as well as making it a future gift to all my friends and family who are interested in learning about different cultures as well as the value of celebrating your own cultural heritage.