Meredith's Reviews > The Namesake

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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Oct 24, 07

Read in January, 2006

2.5/5
This book is a family saga from the initial immigration of a wife and husband from India to The States which goes on to talk about the life of their son. Their son, Gogol, appears to be confused as to what his identity is and is conflicted over honoring tradition and the culture of a new world. This book is somewhat entertaining and interesting, but really did not leave any profound marks. Most of the book is light and almost reads like a soap opera at times (going from one meaningless relationship to the next). Although his relationships are supposed to show his dividing loyalties and tell who he is, I just thought of them as fluff (not committed loving relationships). It is interesting that one relationship is everything his parents’ life is not and is disconnected from his old life. This is what I think appeals to him. Whereas the next relationship is one that gives his parents honor and somewhat sustains his old life (as she knew him when he was a child). But, that’s about as far as it goes, as he doesn’t take anything from either of these relationships. The book is FAR too detailed, includes many irrelevant parts, and drove me crazy at times stating everything they were eating at the meal, what the garbage man was wearing that day, or describing the flavor of the wine. It got to be ridiculous (to me). Also, his life with Moushumi (as well as their friends) seems so shallow and meaningless. All they do is get together, talk about their dietary restrictions and dissertations, do drugs, and just go day by day. This book had the potential to get more in depth, but failed me in that area.
Quotes:
“Living with a pet name and a good name, in a place where such distinctions do not exist-surely that was emblematic of the greatest confusion of all.”
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