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The Namesake

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  169,763 Ratings  ·  8,575 Reviews
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 honors it received were the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Mariner Books (first published December 1st 2001)
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Maria The Big Read program selects books that broaden "our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves." The Namesake fits that criteria in…moreThe Big Read program selects books that broaden "our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves." The Namesake fits that criteria in that it takes place in three cities and two countries, and "examines the nuances involved with being caught between two conflicting cultures with highly distinct religious, social, and ideological differences." Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and having been listed as a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, the book has wide appeal to a large number of readers. (less)
srija yes it is..:). featuring relations with parents and how present generation people treating their parents when they get their own life n relations.
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Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
64th out of 5,275 books — 25,216 voters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
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61st out of 7,021 books — 17,245 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anna
Dec 03, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indian-lit
After finishing the Namesake, my thoughts were drawn to my last roommate in college, an Indian woman studying for her PHD in Psychology. When I first moved in, she had just broken up with her white boyfriend. “It never would have worked out anyway…” she had cried. By the end of that same year she was flying of to Houston to be wed to a man she had only seen once, a marriage arranged by their parents. Many nights my other roommate (an exchange student from Berlin) and I would sit out on the balco ...more
Nataliya
May 30, 2012 Nataliya rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Jhumpa Lahiri's excellent mastery and command of language are amazing. She writes so effortlessly and enchantingly, in such a captivating manner and yet so matter-of-factly that her writing completely enthralls me. Just look at one of my favorite passages - so simple and beautiful:
"Try to remember it always," he said once Gogol had reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. "Remember that you and I made this journey together to a pl
...more
Aubrey
Look. I admit it. I read for escapist purposes. Specifically, I read to experience a viewpoint that I would never have encountered otherwise. I read to escape the boundaries of my own limited scope, to discover a new life by looking through lenses of all shades, shapes, weirds, wonders, everything humanity has been allotted to senses both defined and not, conveyed by the best of a single mortal's abilities within the span of a fragile stack printed with oh so water damageable ink.

I do not read
...more
Jason Koivu
I thought of a better title! An Indian Family Moves To America And Proceeds To Live. One of these days a publishing house is going to snatch me up and make me Head of Titlings!

The Namesake is an expertly crafted, boring slideshow. It reads as if you were listening to someone do a documentary-style narration over stills...

*click!*

A young Indian couple came from Calcutta to America.

*click!*

They started a family in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

*click!*

Et cetera

*click!*


Things happen and more things ha
...more
Kate
Mar 13, 2009 Kate rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I liked the first 40 pages or so. I was very interested in the scenes in India and the way the characters perceived the U.S. after they moved. But soon I found myself losing interest. There were several problems. One is that Lahiri's novelistic style feels more like summary ("this happened, then this, then this") rather than a story I can experience through scenes. The voice was flat, and this was exacerbated by the fact that it's written in present tense. I never emotionally connected to these ...more
Sandhya
Aug 20, 2007 Sandhya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It would only be fair to mention here that I saw Mira Nair's adaptation of the book before I actually got down to reading this novel recently. Having loved the film, I was keen to see how Lahiri had approached her characters and where its cinematic version stood in comparison.


I'll say two things. First, I feel this is one of the few times when the film more than does justice to the book and second, that the book itself is a deeply involving and affecting experience. In fact, so compassionate and
...more
Iris  Pereyra

So an Idaho School District is considering the possibility of banning The Namesake from their high schools reading list.

I don't know about other parents, but I trust that my kids are not going to read this beautiful novel and somehow plunge into a life of drug abuse...

Also, I might be mistaken since I read it a few years ago, but I don't recall that the use of recreational drugs is an essential part of the plot of this novel...

http://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2...
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Sep 05, 2011 Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym) rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
This is easily the worst novel I've read in years. Here's my original review, off my now-defunct blog:
---
Do not read The Namesake.

I was going to skewer this, but for some reason I feel guilty. Probably because it's a book by a woman, and she seems perfectly nice. But. My main beefs with the book:

1. Nothing happens.

2. The main character is mind-numbingly dull.

3. The woman the main character marries, then divorces, in the final few chapters should have been the main character, because at least sh
...more
Jibran
Jul 26, 2015 Jibran rated it it was ok
Book subtitle: I will write down everything I know about a certain family of Bengali immigrants in the United States by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Immigrant anguish - the toll it takes in settling in an alien country after having bidden adieu to one’s home, family, and culture is what this prize-winning novel is supposed to explore, but it's no more than a superficial complaint about a few signature – and done to death - South Asian issues relating to marriage and paternal expectations: a clichéd immigrant s
...more
Emma
Dec 30, 2007 Emma rated it it was amazing
You've heard this story before. Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez, Anzia Yezierska, and Edwidge Danticat are just a few of the authors who have told their own versions. The story they all have in common: The immigrant experience in the United States. Each of the above authors tackles this subject from a different enthnographic perspective, but the pull between the old (native) culture and the new (immigrant) one is always present.

Pulitzer prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri adds to this conversation with
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 16, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Shelves: 1001-non-core, india
No second thought at all: this book is well-written.

It has all the elements of a good novel: tight intriguing plot, show don't tell, memorable characters that you can't help but empathize with and it teaches us a thing or two about being marginalized if not discriminated or alienated because we are different from most of the people we find ourselves with. I am living in the country where I was born but I have two siblings who are now living in the West (older brother in California and older sist
...more
Tatiana
Sep 13, 2011 Tatiana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: 1001 List
This appears to be written specifically for Western readers with no knowledge of Indian culture. You know, a commercial, populist work aimed to give you a flavor of India, shock you with arranged marriages, Indian family dynamics, struggles of Indian immigrants, etc., which at the same time gives you no real insight into the foreign mentality that isn't superficial or obvious.

Nothing new for me here. I say read In Other Rooms, Other Wonders instead if you are looking for something less trite.
Barbara
Apr 04, 2011 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, immigration
It was so good to immerse myself in another of Jhumpa Lahiri's books. As with her other novels, I felt totally enrapt with the ebb and flow of her narrative. Her writing is lyrical and elegant, yet simple and warmly descriptive.

The focus of the immigration experience is clearly defined. One can easily sense the feelings of alienation of Lahiri's characters. Despite the attempts to become a part of American society, the older generation clings to their ethnic and national practises and shuns newe
...more
Shamik
Dec 06, 2008 Shamik rated it it was amazing
I could write a book about how this book affected me. I am an American Bengali and, for much of my life, I have taken my cultural background for granted, if not lost sight of it completely. "The Namesake" takes the little efforts and rituals in my family that I have always thought to be "weird", and weaves them into something utterly beautiful. Amazing novel.
Diane
Sep 14, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
I was inspired to read this book after watching the movie. The prose is lovely; her descriptions are so personal and detailed that it makes it seem as if you have known these characters all your life. I was completely absorbed in this book and sad when it ended -- I wanted to stay with these characters, see how the rest of their lives turned out.
Paul
Jun 28, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian-novels
This is a diaspora novel; the story of a Bengali family moving to America; the intermingling of cultures, the way different generations adapt and change. It is really well written and is very easy to read and I enjoyed this more than the collection of short stories by the same author. The plot itself is fairly thin and revolves around the main protagonist Gogol Ganguli, his parents (who move to America from India and his various doomed love interests. There are some good food descriptions, and f ...more
لیلی
Nov 24, 2015 لیلی rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: دارمشان
فوق العاده! جدا فوق العاده!
جومپا لاهیری میتونه یکی از - تا نویسنده ای باشه که تا آخر عمر هرچیزی که ازشون منتشر بشه رو سعی میکنم بخونم...
انقدر که این زن بلده خوب بنویسه! انقدرررر که بلده واقعی بنویسه! جوری که سر فوت پدر گوگول آدم واقعا یه جور حس خلاء بدی تو خودش حس کنه، و سر تنهایی های آشیما حس کنه خودشم چقدر تنهاست، و زمان تنفر گوگول از فرهنگی که بهش تعلق داره اما نمیخوادش، حس کنه چقدر حق داره، و بعد از اون وقتی دوباره بر میگرده به فرهنگ خودش و میپذیردش، باز هم حس کنه که حق داره:)) و چقدررر قشنگ
...more
Caris
Feb 17, 2010 Caris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
I really should have finished this book a few days ago but, instead, focused my time on doing anything else. Continuing on would mean that I’d have to face the book’s concluding chapters, the ones I was most scared of. See, since I started, I’ve loved this book. It wasn’t that I was opposed to its ending, it’s that I didn’t want it to go where I knew it was going. The predictability wasn’t the problem. The plot, following rather typical relationships, moved along rather typically. That was the p ...more
Meredith
Oct 24, 2007 Meredith rated it it was ok
2.5/5
This book is a family saga from the initial immigration of a wife and husband from India to The States which goes on to talk about the life of their son. Their son, Gogol, appears to be confused as to what his identity is and is conflicted over honoring tradition and the culture of a new world. This book is somewhat entertaining and interesting, but really did not leave any profound marks. Most of the book is light and almost reads like a soap opera at times (going from one meaningless rela
...more
Kandice
Feb 26, 2015 Kandice rated it really liked it
Lahiri tells us Gogol’s story beginning with his mother’s. She is newly married and brought to America by her Indian husband. During her pregnancy with Gogol she feels very alone and isolated, at times even depressed. This depression seems to continue until after Gogol is born and his parents are able to foster an Indian Family of sorts out of the other Bengali’s they meet in America. These Bengali friends allow Gogol’s mother, Ashima, to still feel Indian. This is the balm to her soul.

Lahiri pu
...more
Masumeh

خب فکر کنم یک چیزی که تمام مدت خواندن کتاب ذهن مرا مشغول کرده بود اسم کتاب بود"هم نام". راستش این اسم و تقارن اسم شخصیت اول کتاب با گوگول نویسنده بیش از هر چیزی مرا در انتظار یک جادوی شرقی نگه داشت که جایی این هم نامی قرار است به گره خوردن سرنوشتها بینجامد و چنین چیزهایی. ولی از این خبرها نبود.به نظرم نویسنده بیش از حد روی اسم گوگول مانور داده بود و میشد شخصیت داستان را با همین زندگی با اسمی خودمانی عجیب و غریب تری تصور کرد و تغییری در داستان نداد. بهرحال سوای اسم،کتاب نثر روان و خوش دستی داشت و
...more
Jeff
Jul 07, 2015 Jeff rated it it was amazing
I'd read a few of Lahiri's short stories, and had seen the movie of The Namesake, but I put off reading it for a while.
It's definitely a worthwhile read. I gave it five stars, not because it's the greatest book I've ever read, but because it was the right book for me to read right now--there's something about where I am in my life that makes Gogol Ganguli's story resonate with me in a way that it probably wouldn't have when the book was first published.
Lahiri has a gift for capturing the emotio
...more
Agne Jakubauskaite
Feb 06, 2016 Agne Jakubauskaite rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Jhumpa Lahiri
Recommended to Agne by: Read and Meet Book Group
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel “The Namesake” is a beautifully narrated family saga of the Gangulis, Bengali immigrants in the United States. An arranged marriage brings Ashima from Calcutta to Cambridge, Massachusetts where her husband Ashoke is studying engineering at MIT. Unlike Ashoke, Ashima has a hard time assimilating into the new culture and desperately longs for her family. However, the Gangulis fail to bring the old tradition to the new world when they name their firstbor
...more
Grace Tjan
Jun 07, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis) and others who are similarly confused about their identity
Reading this book, I can’t help to be reminded of an Asian-American friend that I knew when I was a graduate student in an upstate New York university. I lived with several other foreign students from Asia in an off campus apartment, and by the end of my first semester, we found ourselves a nucleus for a small circle of variously hyphenated Asian Americans. Perhaps some of them were simply drawn to people who look like them, regardless of the differences in our backgrounds --- we were Indonesian ...more
Rachel
Dec 13, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I came into this book figuring that I would like it, and I was not disappointed in the least. I took the book to work this week and spent my entire lunch hour on just one chapter, pouring over the exquisite descriptions of each scene exposited upon and the flow of the narration. I especially admire how Jhumpa, who covered decades in less than 300 pages, knew exactly which scenes to center on, and which to let roll by.

Not that this is overly important, but I found that the movie was more or less
...more
Ayunda
Jan 11, 2016 Ayunda rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, i-cried
Read my full review of this book @ Tea and Paperbacks.

The beginning of the story was great. It was focused more on the mother and on her point of view, how she felt suddenly moving from her hometown in India to a foreign country just to follow her husband’s work, even though she doesn’t really know her husband because their marriage was arranged. Then it follows how she adjusted to living independently in America and how she gave birth to Gogol, and how Gogol got his name.

I liked how then the
...more
Cher
Apr 24, 2014 Cher rated it really liked it
4 stars - It was great. I loved it.

About 1/2 way through my first Jhumpa Lahiri novel, I had already become a fan. Her prose is warm and effortless, making it easy to keep turning the pages without the need for gimmicky plot twists or outlandish happenings. She tells a fairly simple story in a very beautiful way.

The Namesake is a family drama that spans about 40 years. The author competently explores intermingling of cultures, family relationships, coming of age, and assimilation struggles. The
...more
Y
Feb 15, 2008 Y rated it liked it
a disclaimer: i didnt like the movie.

lahiris brilliant ability to keep all of the various narratives flowing smoothly, to capture the nuances of immigrant life, to portray the absolute difficulty of living one life in front of friends, and one of life in front of parents, shielded a very matter-of-fact part of this book that i missed until i saw the film.

dude, gogol is an asshole.

and i dont mean in that, im trying to find my way kind of naivete; i mean he genuinely is a jerk, and treats the p
...more
Skylar Burris
Aug 09, 2014 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Not normally a reader of contemporary literary fiction, I was hesitant to tackle The Namesake. It was, however, recommended by multiple friends. Finding it to be written in present tense, something I normally detest in fiction, I hesitated once again. After a page or two, I ceased to notice and became lost in the story of one Indian family's struggle to assimilate to America, of generational differences, and of a young man's desire to pull away from his heritage and then back again.

I was impres
...more
Madeline
Feb 12, 2011 Madeline rated it really liked it
"On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl. She adds salt, lemon juice, thin slices of green chil pepper, wishing there were mustard oil to pour into the mix. Ashima has been consuming this concoction throughout her pregnancy, a humble approximation of the snack sold for pennies on Calcutta sidewalks and on railway platforms throughout I ...more
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NEA curricular resources for The Namesake 1 4 Oct 11, 2015 08:28PM  
  • How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well
  • Queen of Dreams
  • Dear Diary
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • The Meaning of Consuelo
  • The Space Between Us
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  • Oh the Glory of it All
  • The Collected Poems
  • What She Saw...
  • Lucy
  • Such a Long Journey
  • The Glass Palace
  • The Inheritance of Loss
  • Red Earth and Pouring Rain
  • The Death of Vishnu (The Hindu Gods, #1)
  • The Rachel Papers
  • The Group
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Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and brought up in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Brought up in America by a mother who wanted to raise her children to be Indian, she learned about her Bengali heritage from an early age.

Lahiri graduated from South Kingstown High School and later received her B.A. in English literature from Barnard College in 1989. She then received multiple degrees from Boston Un
...more
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“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” 5438 likes
“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.” 211 likes
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