Somantika's Reviews > Unaccustomed Earth
by Jhumpa Lahiri
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jun 06, 08
Read in June, 2008
Like her preivous books (Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake) I loved this one as well. The stories are simple in themselves and yet there is a strong fluency that makes it difficult to stop. Every description is extremely realistic. Like the other two, this one also veers about immigrant Bengalis and their experience of adapting to a unfamiliar culture and the complex issues faced by their children while trying to cope with opposing environments at home and outside. The reason why I enjoy her stories so much is because I can identify with all the incidents and thanks to her style, can develop a strong bonding with the characters. I do have to say that I am getting slightly tired of the narrow range from which she picks her characters, only middle-class or upper middle-class Bengali people who come to the USA to go to Ivy League universities and their kids. Seems that she is not comfortable outside this zone although Lahiri herself being a Bengali descendant brought up in the USA probably understands the intricacies of the lives of this society the most and by focusing on this group can make her writing so natural and fluid. As a Bengali, another thing that bothers me is the fact that she uses Bengali terms for food, ways of addressing others and certain rituals without any description (in most places), not even putting the words in italics to distinguish them from English words. Will non-Indians or even non-Bengali Indians appreciate some of the cultural insinuations? Although, at the same time I feel that not understanding these don't come in the way of enjoying her writing. According to me, another good piece of work.
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