Christine's Reviews > The Namesake

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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's review
Jan 08, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: bookclub, 2010-reads
Read in February, 2010

Author Lahiri really illuminates the experience of the main characters being adrift in the modern world, Bengali Indians in suburban America, not being able to feel at home even after more than a quarter century. Gogol Ganguli, the book's central character, struggles so much with the oddness of his name, that he even changes it as soon as he is off to college, reinventing himself anew. I love how naming people and things is a central metaphor throughout the book, about culturally belonging, or not, about transforming ourselves, or not. Lahiri's gentle handling of Gogol's mother and father's perspectives, as well as Moushimi, a character in the later part of the book, and their development really added to the story for me. The person who was kind of faceless and missing from the story was Gogol's sister, who was always there, but never really described. I haven't read such a good fictional account about being an immigrant to a western nation in a long time.

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