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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
I loved this in-depth look at the challenges of living in two cultures. The stort begins with a young Bengali couple that moves to the United States, and their difficulties in adjusting to life away from the families and familiar surroundings. They raise two children, and the story goes on to focus on the life of the oldest child, their son Gogol. It's a rare and beautifully written story, worth passing around to your friends when you finish it.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.