The Namesake Author:Jhumpa Lahiri Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home... Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli arrive in America at the end of the 1960s, shortly after their arranged marriage in Calcutta, in order for Ashoke to finish his engineering degree at MIT. Ashoke is forward-th... more »inking, ready to enter into American culture if not fully at least with an open mind.
His young bride is far less malleable. Isolated, desperately missing her large family back in India, she will never be at peace with this new world.
Soon after they arrive in Cambridge, their first child is born, a boy.
According to Indian custom, the child will be given two names: an official name, to be bestowed by the great-grandmother, and a pet name to be used only by family. But the letter from India with the child's official name never arrives, and so the baby's parents decide on a pet name to use for the time being.
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.« 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!
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.
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?
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.
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.