One of the things that sets me at odds with a piece of literature from the very beginning is the feeling that I'm missing all sorts of narratives just...moreOne of the things that sets me at odds with a piece of literature from the very beginning is the feeling that I'm missing all sorts of narratives just under the surface. This is incredibly frustrating to me, and I did struggle with this book and wonder if I was missing some major themes. When I was finished I certainly wasn't raving about it, but as time goes on I've found myself marveling over a number of this book's elements.
Overall I loved Roy's gorgeous use of language. I also really liked some of the modifications she made to words to reflect a child's way of thinking and thought it pretty brilliant. Throughout the course of the book I came to really enjoy Estha, Rahel and Ammu as characters.
Every so often she'd offer a really sharp insight into themes surrounding colonialism and politics and this was one of my favorite aspects of the book. I thought she plotted it very well to illustrate these themes and also the countless number of things that can go into the making of a single event. A few people had expressed annoyance at how she goes back and forth in time and the way it is not always evident at first. I actually thought it really appropriate, especially to the mood of the book - that the events that occurred are still very much with the 2 of them as adults, as if they are reliving them in a way.
Other times I wasn't sure if she was employing symbolism or just using an element because she felt it was a good description. I'm pondering a reread to see if I can pick up on some of the things I felt I missed.
I'd also like to highly recommend listening to the BBC's World Book Club interview with her about the book.(less)
The image that Lahiri paints on the very first page, and the one I read without a second thought when I first picked up The Namesake is now the most v...moreThe image that Lahiri paints on the very first page, and the one I read without a second thought when I first picked up The Namesake is now the most vivid one of the book for me. Ashima stands in the kitchen, trying to replicate food from home that brings her comfort and only comes up short. I've gone through the ritual more times than I can count in Peru, so it's something that really struck me. On the other hand, reading about her severe homesickness depressed me given my own. Perhaps this is a testament to the quality of the writing, but it was hard to keep coming back to this one. I finally finished it in a 2 day marathon and by the end I just wondered what the point was. Not very charitable, but I've been keeping this book around to read for years, saving it for the "perfect moment" and I guess it just didn't live up to my expectations. Not a bad book, but I probably wouldn't recommend.(less)