Review: The Namesake (Jhumpa Lahiri)


Synopsis by Nathania Regina

Jhumpa Lahiri always pulls the best story of Asian-American culture. This time, is about Gogol Ganguli, a boy who was trapped in Bengali and American culture. The name was so embarrassing for Gogol and he would refuse to be called that way. Therefore, in order to appease him, his father approved his request to be called Nikhil or Nick or short.  His family raised him to be a Bengali, but he prefers to be an American. Live the American life, date American girls. So this dual-culture and the concept of trying-to-fit-in is what I think is interesting. Apart from that, his mother (who was match-made by her parents) had to move to United States to follow her husband she barely even knew. In Michigan, she learned about the American culture, learning to be an American wife and also learning to love and devote her husband. This is an easy book to read if you really put your heart into it. It was originally a novella published in The New Yorker and was later expanded to a full length novel. Lahiri has always written a beautiful piece concerning old and new or east and west. If you enjoy this book, I would also suggest reading her latest book, Unaccustomed Earth. 

(The same-titled film based on this book was released in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and India in March 2007. It is directed by Mira Nair and is based upon an adapted screenplay by Sooni Taraporevala.)

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