Ed's Reviews > Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
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's review
Sep 15, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-stars, 2009, short-stories, read-on-kindle
Read in July, 2009

Jhumpa Lahiri just seems to be getting better which each new book, and that's really saying something given her debut short-story collection won a Pulitzer. My first exposure to Lahiri was her first full-length novel "The Namesake" which I absolutely loved, then backtracked to "Maladies' which I thought was quite good, but still preferred "Namesake." I chalked that up to not being a huge fan of the short-story genre, but if that is the case "Unaccustomed Earth" proved to the be the exception to my rule (though, in general, I am coming around to the genre, though society's rapidly decreasing attention span is largely to blame... btw, thank you for reading on since this has already exceeded 140 characters!).

Simply put, Lahiri is one of the finest writers out there today. I was mesmerized by the very first (and title) story and the magic continues throughout each of the 8 stories, though the linked trio that closes "Earth" certainly enters into novella territory.

My one small quibble is the recurrence in the character types (well-educated Bengalis living in the Ivy Leagues) and themes (infidelity, struggles w/ cultural identity), but again it's a tribute to Lahiri that she never makes it seem repetitive... but in the end, Lahiri beautifully the human experience of the longing for love and happiness, that is certainly not exclusive to one particular gender or race.

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