Book Reviews of The Namesake

The Namesake
The Namesake
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
ISBN-13: 9780618485222
ISBN-10: 0618485228
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Pages: 291
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 835

3.9 stars, based on 835 ratings
Publisher: Mariner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

114 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Namesake on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
I just read this book in 6 hours, the day after I received it in the mail. Very well written, excellent description but not drawn out. Not predictable. Definitely worth reading.
reviewed The Namesake on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
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!
reviewed The Namesake on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
About the experience of an immigrant family to the USA. A very good read. I read it straight through and got very little sleep. Have not seen the movie, yet!
reviewed The Namesake on + 99 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
I was unsure whether I would enjoy the book, but I found it hard to put down. The prose is effortless, wrought with detail but taut and fast paced. Not many surprises in the book - I felt I knew how it would end, but this was not disappointing. Overall, a great read, one I will remember.
reviewed The Namesake on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
very touching. read it in two days. extremely atmospheric. made me want to put on some ravi shankar, drink indian tea, and eat chicken masala all day long. :)
reviewed The Namesake on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Well-written and rich with detail. Great book!
reviewed The Namesake on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Gogol Ganguli is The Namesake of the title of this book. A first generation American, born to Bengali parents, Gogol is named after a Russian author is father admires. The name was given to him as a temporary name, while is parents await a letter from home in which a grandmother will send with his true name. The letter never arrives and Gogol becomes a name that never seems to fit, just as Gogol himself never seems completely at home in America or on his frequent trips back to his parent's home country Bangladesh.

A very good story about the difficulties of assimilation and loss of identity, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Gogol and his family's trials and tribulations in America.
reviewed The Namesake on + 27 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Written by Pulitzer Prize winner, jhumpa lahiri - straightforward telling of a story that pulls you through the book - clashing of cultures - poignant and believable. I couldn't put it down.
reviewed The Namesake on + 271 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a lovely book...beautiful prose, very well written and an interesting tale of an Indian family.
reviewed The Namesake on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Interesting account of what life is like for foreigners in this country. A great way to learn about Indian traditions.
reviewed The Namesake on + 109 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
beautifully-written, deeply moving story of an immigrant from Calcutta to the US - issues of culture, family, conflicting hopes...
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Helpful Score: 2
This one is really really good. But... it felt unfinished. There were some parts, especially in his later life, which I was frankly more interested in, that are just left out. The last 50 pages are so felt rushed. I wanted to know more.

Having said that, the author can most definitely write. The writing was superb, very well done, lyrical almost. Her descriptions of the Bengali traditions and lives in America are so well done, I felt like I was right there with them.

Overall, a good read. I hope the movie is good too :)
reviewed The Namesake on
Helpful Score: 2
A definite page turner. It made me think of my own immigrant parents and how I dealt with life. A great book for all who had a different culture other than an American life.
reviewed The Namesake on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Wonderful, insightful story! I wanted to read the book after seeing the movie (which I also loved!) - the book gave more depth to the story...
reviewed The Namesake on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I almost feel as if I should have given this book four stars, but I didn't because I dreaded reading it. It was an emotionally uncomfortable experience. However this is also part of the beauty of the book. The author so realistically portrays the conflicts that exist both within the Ganguli family and within the title character himself that the reader can't help but feel their frustrations, longings, and regrets.
reviewed The Namesake on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A beautiful coming-of-age novel that follows a first-generation Indian boy through his trials with the American culture, his desire to fit in, and his fraught, but loving relationship with his tradition-bound parents. A very real but lyrical novel.
reviewed The Namesake on + 1090 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was my first time reading Lahiri, and I did enjoy her flowing prose style. There was often too much of it, though, too many needless details and digressions. I thought the story itself was just average, brightened by the glimpses of Bengali culture but otherwise not remarkable.
reviewed The Namesake on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love how richly the charcters are developed. You really get a sense for who they are and its a beautiful glimpse into the lives of this immigrant family. A wonderful read, I really enjoyed it!
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautiful story. The Ganguli family comes to American to make their home from Calcutta. They experience culture shock and are home sick. This story will rip at your heart if you have ever been away from home for sometime. It will make you realize what one experiences in a different country, if you have not ever had to leave and try to ajust to new surroundings and people. I loved this book.
reviewed The Namesake on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked this almost as much as I did the Interpreter of Maladies. Even if you can't relate to the immigrant experience or South Asian cultural norms, she has the ability of the great writers to draw characters who are both universal and very specific. I am now an official fan.
reviewed The Namesake on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I actually found the book slow at first. Once I got in to it, maybe about 75 to 100 pages in, when Gogol got older, I really grew to like it. I liked seeing life through other character's eyes as events were moving forward. I loved the way that immigrant's lives were portrayed and how distinct their experiences were to their childrens' in the US. So many topics were covered here in such great depth. I loved the character development and the way that lives were intertwined. Great read! Definitely recommend.
reviewed The Namesake on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Fast read; wonderful for any teacher that teaches multi-culture class
reviewed The Namesake on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Surprisingly good book. Very enjoyable with likable enough characters.
reviewed The Namesake on + 85 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A friend gave this to me to check out. Really didn't think I was going to enjoy but I did. It starts out in the late 1960 in India, where Gogols' parents marriage was arranged. They move to the Boston area and raise their family. All the while missing their families and customs of India. Gogol and his sister Sonia did not embrace the Indian customs and family ideas while growing up. That started to change when their father passed away. A movie was made from this novel. I have not seen it. This was a good read.
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Helpful Score: 1
I could picture Gogol as I read this book. It is a great story on how foreigners re-invent their lives in a new country.
reviewed The Namesake on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book! I highly recommend this one for anyone looking for something different.
reviewed The Namesake on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Despite some of the sad and depressing moments, I enjoyed this book, learning about Indian and Bengali culture, and observing both American and Indian culture through the eyes of natives and non-natives. Being familiar with at least the basic themes from Nikolai Gogol's "The Overcoat" will help with understanding some of the issues at hand. Not always cheerful, but a good view of human nature from several cultural standpoints. Recommended.
reviewed The Namesake on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they bestow on their firstborn, Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honoring tradition in a new world -- conflicts that will haunt Gogon on his own winding path through divided loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.

the author brilliantly illuminates the immmigrant experience and tangled ties between generations.
reviewed The Namesake on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Lahiri describes very vividly the experiences of growing up American with immigrant parents. Gogol's stuggle to come to terms with his heritage and discover his identity are realistically poignant. Lahiri's writing is descriptive but easy to read - each sentence just flows into the next. As someone considering an intercultural marriage, it brought to light a lot of issues I hadn't considered before.

This book is a keeper for me!
reviewed The Namesake on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good writing, but main character passive and boring
reviewed The Namesake on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What a surprise this book was. I was not expecting to like this book at all, it took me a couple of years to actually sit down and read it. I LOVED it! This has to be one of the best books I've read in a long time. I enjoyed every page from cover to cover. I would recommend everyone to read this book. Jhumpa Lahiri does a beautiful job describing a Bengali/American heritage. She is a beautifully talented author.
reviewed The Namesake on
Helpful Score: 1
I found the first 100 pages of this book to be a little slow and while it did a good job of setting up the story, there were times that I felt like the story had no direction. The middle and up until the last three pages, I became extremely engaged in the book - not wanting to put it down. The end was satisfying but not exciting. Overall, it's worth the read but not one that will find a permanent space in my bookcase.
reviewed The Namesake on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I was pleasantly surprised at how very much I enjoyed this book. It is a very well written and compelling story of a family experiencing the trials of leaving their families and establishing roots in a country with totally different traditions.
reviewed The Namesake on + 64 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a rich book with complex characters. The level of detail in their lives brings the reader to appreciate the environment as yet another character in the book.
reviewed The Namesake on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the best books I have read in the past few years. The details of daily life and the emotions and actions of the characters are great. She has really captured the "inbetween" life of the characters. Also it is beautifully written.
reviewed The Namesake on
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It was interesting to see the main character grow from an immature boy who pretty much turned his back on his heritage to a man who embraced it.
reviewed The Namesake on + 33 more book reviews
This story follows the Ganguli family as the transition from Calcutta to America. How each one copes with the culture here and how it affects the next generation.
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This book really captured the Indian-in-America story, the expectations, disappointments, heartaches and triumphs. The author and fantastic reader evoked colors, textures, smells, moods and emotions woven seamlessly through the story. Nothing earth-moving or life-changing; just a pleasant journey. I would happily listen to this book again to hear the delicious reader share the author's descriptions. Highly recommended.
reviewed The Namesake on + 10 more book reviews
The author craftfully takes the reader on an amazing journey through the MC finding himself and his heritage.
reviewed The Namesake on + 5 more book reviews
Excellent insight into a culture that has always fasinatied me....
reviewed The Namesake on
One of my favorite books by a wonderful author. So well written with interesting details about Indian culture. Highly recommend!
reviewed The Namesake on + 281 more book reviews
I read this book about a month ago and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I have read more than 20 books since then and I cannot remember a thing about the novel -- this is probably more an indictment of me than of the book, however. I do recall that it was a short, fast, fun read.
reviewed The Namesake on + 181 more book reviews
This book was beautifully written, just like everything I've read by Lahiri.

The title refers to the main character who was named after Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol a Russian writer with a tumultuous, unhappy life. The fictional Gogol grows up caught between two worlds as the American child of Indian immigrants.

The characters were completely three-dimensional and sympathetic, while still decidedly flawed. The plot flowed lyrically as Gogol grows up, searching for his identity through education, relationships, and trips to his motherland.

I haven't seen the 2006 film adaptation and I'm a bit afraid to. I'm usually disappointed by film versions of great novels like this one.
reviewed The Namesake on
This was an excellent book, very well written!! My bookclub found we wanted to learn more about the Indian culture. As a child growing up as a first generation American, I could relate to the story and the same with many friends of different cultures. I am excited to read more by the author!!!
reviewed The Namesake on + 117 more book reviews
This was my first time reading this author and it was a wonderful story.You really felt for the characters in this story.You learned a lot about the father and why he chose the name he did when his son was born.I also liked how the father and son become closer near the end of the story.They finally had a special bond only father and son could have.You could also feel for the mother and what she went through leaving her home in India to come to America to live and raise a family.I thought the ending was sad but bittersweet.I found I could not put this book down.
reviewed The Namesake on + 19 more book reviews
I loved this book. I really enjoyed learning about another culture and the family's journey of acceptance into America. The author's style of writing is very beautiful. I also enjoyed the film, but not as much as the book.
reviewed The Namesake on + 3 more book reviews
This story about the Ganguli family completely expresses the family's Indian immigrant experience and the cultural conflicts between the parents and their children.
reviewed The Namesake on
Loved this book! It was easy to read and so interesting learning about the lives of people living outside their home country. I would highly recommend this book.
reviewed The Namesake on + 41 more book reviews
This was a wonderful book. A glimpse into the Indian culture. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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I read this after seeing the movie. Soooo Good! Easy to get caught up with Gogol's whole family. I missed it when it was done.
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Loved this book. If you love experiencing different cultures and opening your mind to understanding different way of life. This book is perfect. Lahiri shows outsiders how his culture influences their decisions in life and how American culture can be a strong pull to forgetting about his heritage.
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Wonderful book!
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Amazing, amazing, amazing. The story, the characters, the gorgeous, lyrical, thoroughly relatable but always unexpected tone and style of this justly feted author... I can't even put into words how much I loved this book and what a powerful writer Jhumpa Lahiri is. Just... read it.
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I did not like how the book started off nor the ending. Ok story line but did have a couple of beautiful moments. To much dreaming whining and lack of respect.
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Very well written. Great story. Long chapters.
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Pulitzer prize winning author tells a story of new arrivals from Calcutta trying their best to become Americans even as they long for home; divided loyalities; immigrant experiences and the tangled ties between generations.
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It was a decent story of adjusting to life in America. I found the story of the parents far more interesting than that of Gogol/Nikhail. I would have preferred the story having been centered on the adult characters. A worthwhile read, but certainly not my favorite book about Asian Indians (that would be "A Suitable Boy," by Vikram Seth.).
reviewed The Namesake on + 33 more book reviews
5 Stars - wonderful story, deep and powerful reading. Jhumpa Lahiri knows the heart of Gogol and makes it bleed, right onto the page. I loved this book and will read it again and maybe again.
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This book was an excellent read. It was very narrative so it takes a while to get through. But it is worth it! It is a real life feel to a different culture.
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I really enjoyed this book. I wanted to read before seeing the movie, and the movie was disappointing. The actors were great, but it just wasn't as descriptive and insightful. I liked the author's style of writing, I was really drawn in from the very beginning.
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This book is phenomenal. I can understand why the movie's director put her other two projects on hold to turn this novel into a movie. Though I haven't seen the movie, and it's been a while since I read the novel, the characters stay with you for a long time! Truly a memorable read.
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I picked this for my book club (we've been meeting for almost 8 years). I think most of the ladies enjoyed reading it, although you can't please everybody.
I enjoyed how Jhumpa got us "into the heads" of all the characters. Her style of prose draws you into the story.
I would like to know more... isn't that the sign of an engaging story?
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I agree with CandyB's review; the last third of the book was extremely rushed. One of the more interesting characters, Gogol's wife, doesn't get nearly enough time in the book. It is interesting how the parents remain a huge influence in the book, even though they remain "off-screen" for half the book. Overall a good read.
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I'm partial to loving anything by this author, particularly her short stories. This novel did not disappoint. And it's much better than the movie, of course.
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Well-written and intriguing.
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A beautifully written book with characters you can really care about.
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Lahiri is wonderful writer. Her stories in "Interpreter of Maladies" led me to recommend "The Namesake" to my book club. The characters are so well-drawn and human. An unforgettable family saga.
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This book is about an Indian family adjusting to life in America. It especially documents the son's struggles as he grows up and becomes an adult. While I enjoyed the book, it did drag somewhat in parts.
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While I enjoyed this book, I don't think it holds a candle to _Interpreter of Maladies_. In fact, it kind of reminded me of a lot of things that happened in the short stories, just happening in the life of one first-generation American of Indian descent. Lahiri really shines in the short-story format, her writing style is well-paced to her first collection, and I'm eager to read _Unaccustomed Earth_ (also short stories).
reviewed The Namesake on + 35 more book reviews
Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they bestow on their firstborn, Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honouring tradition in a new world--conflicts that will haunt Gogol on his own winding path through divided loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.
LOVED THIS BOOK. MS. LAHIRI HAS A WONDERFUL TALENT.
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Story about the struggle of being an immigrant and also being the children of immigrant parents, in this case, from India. This book really allows you to feel the emotions of the characters and also learn a great deal about Indian culture. I watched the movie first and enjoyed it then had to read the book. It's one you just can't put down!
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This book was a really good look into a different culture from my own. I enjoyed reading it, and hope to read more of Lahiri's work in the future!
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Synopsis- Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they bestow on their firstborn Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honoring tradition in a new world-conflicts that will haunt Gogol on his own winding path through divided loyalties, comic detours and wrenching love affairs.
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Excellent!
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The prose in this novel is excellent, never seems forced, the story unfolds so easily and makes you care about the family. From the first page, I was hooked.
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Touching and beautifully crafted work by someone I consider one of the best contributors to literature.
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I really, really enjoyed reading this. It was just what I was wanting. Not too heavy. Just a pure joy to read.
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EXCELLENT!! Read by a woman with perfect Indian intonation. Some sexual references.
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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.
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Jhumpa Lahairi is a fantastic writer. Her short story anthology "Interperter of Maladies" is one of my favorite books.
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Beautifully told, lovely story.
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Beautifully written. This book really draws you in and makes you want to read all the time.
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Excellent book. My husband and I both enjoyed it.
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Dazzling....an intimate, closley observed family portrait...
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I loved this book about a transplanted family from Calcutta to America and all the pains of adapting to new ways and new names. Beautifully written.
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Absolutely wonderful. Very entertaining.
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The story of immigration and the complications among generations is written by a winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
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Great story, beautifully told
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New York Times Bestseller. This book is about the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The story centers around their firstborn, Gogol, and his own path through divided loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.
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Great book. I loved the chracter. Very easy read.
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Jhumpa Lahiri as a lovely writing style. I really enjoyed this book and hope u will too.
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This was a wonderful book. My daughter suggested I read it and it is now one of my favorite books.
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Great book! Orginal story about the immigrant experience! One of my favorites.
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Story of Indian immigrants to the US, their adjustment to a different culture, and their son who is born in the US and adopts American cultural norms.
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From Calcutta to Cambridge,Massachusetts...expectations of parents and how we define who we are.
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the best book ive read in a long time. GREAT story and SUPERB WRITING. i recommend this book to everybody
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This is a great book and is the movie is coming out soon. If you are a first generation of immigrant parents, this book is for you.
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I loved this book....wasn't so sure at first but it is great....movie in the works according to my sister who is in the film business
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I loved this story!
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Good read. Would recommend.
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Great Book!
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great writer, great book
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written.
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I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't put it down. It details the struggles of an Indian family and their life in America. I am dying to see the movie now.
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an excellent book!
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A wonderfull story.
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I enjoyed this book while I read it, although it didn't stick with me. Nicely written.
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very interesting and sometimes funny
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Loved this book! What a great read.
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I loved this book so much.
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One of the finest literary works I have read in a long time.

I can't wait for Jhumpa Lahiri to come out with her next book.
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Great book!
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I haven't read this one but the author won the Pultizer Prize and many other awards..
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Pulitzer prize winner, soon to be motion picture.
some cover wear