The Namesake Author:Jhumpa Lahiri Jhumpa Lahiri's debut story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, took the literary world by storm when it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Fans who flocked to her stories will be captivated by her best-selling first novel, now in paperback for the first time. The Namesake is a finely wrought, deeply moving family drama that ... more »illuminates this acclaimed author's signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the tangled ties between generations.
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Ashoke does his best to adapt while his wife pines for home. When their son, Gogol, is born, the task of naming him betrays their hope of respecting old ways in a new world. And we watch as Gogol stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.
With empathy and penetrating insight, Lahiri explores the expectations bestowed on us by our parents and the means by which we come to define who we are.« less
This is one of the most moving books I have ever read. It is one of the best depictions ever of the longing for a former homeland and the sense of not yet belonging to the new one that exists. Any immigrant or descendant of one will find an echo of his/her own life in this book. A lovely story of family, tradition and pride...it makes you laugh and cry at the same time!
Lahiri is a talented writer, and her prose is smooth and readable without being oversimple. But this story was just uninteresting to me. Specifically, I didn't feel connected enough to Gogol, the main character, to really care what happened to him, and after a while the book became a chore and I seem to have stopped picking it up. I am no expert, but it would have been nice to have some tension or an unanswered question or even an ongoing conflict to make the story compelling. Without that, the book felt like chatter and like I said, I eventually just stopped reading.
I absolutely loved her story “Hell-Heaven” (in the collection Unaccustomed Earth), which makes me think the problem with this book is probably with me, not her.