Victor Davis's Reviews > In Other Words

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
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's review
Sep 05, 2017

it was amazing
bookshelves: on-writing
Read 2 times. Last read December 26, 2017 to December 28, 2017.

The first thing that shocked me when I opened this book was the Italian! I read the jacket cover and assumed this was the English translation of an Italian book. I did not realize that the entire book, from title & dedication page through acknowledgements would be printed on facing pages, the left in original Italian, the right in English. As such, it is a book curated for the Italian speaker, expert or novice, of which I am neither, nor do I particularly care to be. I considered only rating this book 4/5 stars because I imagined before picking it up that it would be a technical exploration into how a writer's (a masterful writer at the top of her game) working style and technique developed as she improved her second language. But she barely touches on her creative process. This is more a memoir about identity & romance, and the emotional journey that learning a language can be. In that capacity, Lahiri delivers. She said it herself in the very beginning: Technology has expedited every aspect of our lives; we can travel more quickly and communicate across vast distances, but learning a language hinges on the natural abilities of the human brain, and tech can do little to "expedite" the process. As such, it remains to this day an atavistic, human experience. This book has motivated me to finish learning the few second languages I've always wanted to learn but never really committed to.

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Reading Progress

July 26, 2017 – Started Reading
August 9, 2017 – Finished Reading
September 5, 2017 – Shelved
September 5, 2017 – Shelved as: on-writing
December 26, 2017 – Started Reading
December 26, 2017 –
page 0
0.0% "I read this back in July, but it's just so damn good I have to read it again, this time with pen & paper & highlighter at the ready."
December 28, 2017 – Finished Reading

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