Kate's Reviews > The Namesake

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1296744
's review
Mar 13, 09

bookshelves: 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 characters. I also got bored with the second half that focused on lots of rich, young New Yorkers sitting around drinking wine.

I haven't read her two story collections, but I've heard she's a phenomenal short story writer--so I'll definitely give those a try. Seems like some fantastic short story writers (like Aimee Bender and Alice Munro) are pressured to write novels when in fact they are brilliant at the story. It's like asking a surgeon to be an attorney.
38 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Namesake.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Ruth Seeley I found both Gogol's and Sonia's about-face after their father's death rather unconvincing - we needed more for that to be believable. I would have liked to see less expository exploration of the mother's character - and more depth to the portrayal of the father - the glimpses we got of him once Gogol became the main character were tantalizing. I found it a rather frustrating read.


Susan I have read 150 pages if the novel and I agree with you. She does write in summary form. The reader has no genuine sense of being in this book. Eight months in Calcutta I should have felt I was there. Not so!


Ramesh Kurup I read your review partly through reading The Namesake and immediately put my finger on what I didn't like. I liked the book more than you did probably only because I'm a second generation Indian who went through pretty much the same childhood as Gogol (but i don't hate my name).


Ajay True. This is an overrated book that got the attention it got because the writer is of Indian heritage. The movie is far better as the director had the good sense to turn it into Ashima's story rather than Gogol's.


message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Ajay wrote: "True. This is an overrated book that got the attention it got because the writer is of Indian heritage. The movie is far better as the director had the good sense to turn it into Ashima's story rat..."

I think your comment is really offensive and borderline racist. Lahiri got praise for the Namesake because the book is excellent! Lahiri's novel is specifically about the struggle a young Indian American man Gogol struggles with trying to fit into American culture yet maintain his ties to his Indian roots.


message 6: by Geraldine (new)

Geraldine Awosanya i so agree with your review. it's hard for me to get through this book because of how flat it is so far.


Kate I finally saw the film and agree with Ajay that it's better than the book. I think that's because the visual genre of film incorporates the details I craved in the book. I truly enjoyed and was engaged in the story in film form.


Kate Ajay wrote: "True. This is an overrated book that got the attention it got because the writer is of Indian heritage. The movie is far better as the director had the good sense to turn it into Ashima's story rat..."

I agree that the movie was MUCH better than the book.


Victoria AGree, Kate. I'm struggling to finish, but I will because I dont like to leave a book unfinished. Certainly is 'flat'.


Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) YES. This is exactly why I bailed on the book. I just couldn't care about these people and their angsts, even though they are the same issues in a different context that have deeply scarred my own life.


back to top