Barbara's Reviews > The Namesake

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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Feb 11, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: immigration, asia
Read in April, 2011

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 newer experiences, including foods and styles of dress. They do not truly feel part of the society around them. Their circle of friends includes mainly others like them, their compatriots. The offspring of these people viewed themselves as being hostage to many of these ideas and venture away from the family, seeking assimilation.

The unusual series of events which have given him his name, cause Gogol, the main character, additional conflicts. Lahiri has clearly developed his feelings and actions as he matures. One can sense his yearning to shed the traditions that have bound his parents. It is easy to view each person as the story evolves.

One minor criticism that I have in each of her books is Lahiri's failure to provide some translation for Indian terminology. Although it is possible to gain understanding through the context of the situation, I often wished for a dictionary of this language.

Many have stated that they thought this was not as good as Interpreter of Maladies , orUnaccustomed Earth ;but I see it as an excellent example of well fleshed-out prose. It is a richly developed novel which stands alone.
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Reading Progress

03/09/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I am loving Unaccustomed Earth!! I'm sure eventually I'll read all of her writing.


Barbara Isn't it wonderful?
This book is not supposed to be as good as those short stories, but I am enjoying it immensely. She's a gem.
She writes a lot about Boston, Cambridge and the 'burbs.


message 3: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I've noticed Boston in the stories. It adds a certain something, doesn't it.


Barbara It's so easy to picture the places she mentions- Memorial Drive, Central and Harvard Squares, the Cape, etc.


Diane Did you like it as much as the short stories?


K.D. Absolutely Have this in my tbr for ages. Your 4 stars are motivating me to move to soon tbr.


Barbara She is such a fine, accomplished young writer!


Diane She sure is! I want you to read One Amazing Thing one of these days ;)


message 9: by Barbara (last edited Apr 05, 2011 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barbara I promise!! I have already reserved it from my library.


message 10: by Mag (new)

Mag Unaccustomed Earth was very good.


message 11: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue Nice review Barbara. I definitely will be reading this.


Diane Barbara wrote: "I promise!! I have already reserved it from my library."

Great! :)


Maria Wonderful review. Of course you know how I feel re novel v. short.


message 14: by Barbara (last edited Apr 06, 2011 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barbara Diane, I just reserved another Indian writer's book.The God of Small Things . It was recommended by a non- GR friend.

Thanks again for pushing me along with Lahiri and One Amazing Thing . :)


Diane Oh, Barbara!! The God of Small Things is one of my top 5 favorite books of all times. Warning, it is not an easy read...it is detailed, and the story goes back and forth. Also, very heavy subject matters. It's not for everyone, but I hope you are one of those that like it.


message 16: by Sue (new) - added it

Sue I found The God of Small Things to be very interesting but, as you indicated Diane, also not an easy read. Some of the writing was beautiful.


Barbara Thanks D and S. I understand that it can be very upsetting and dark.


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