The Namesake is the story of a boy brought up Indian in America, from 'the kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person and say "Read this!"' (AMY TAN)Gogol Ganguli is headed to paradise, a place of satisfaction and fulfilment. He doesn't really know it as he travels through his life toward this destination. He is only aware that he ...
The Namesake is the story of a boy brought up Indian in America, from 'the kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person and say "Read this!"' (AMY TAN)Gogol Ganguli is headed to paradise, a place of satisfaction and fulfilment. He doesn't really know it as he travels through his life toward this destination. He is only aware that he is not quite at ease with himself, and for a long time he thinks it's all because of his name...His journey begins by train. But Gogol is not on it. Rather it was a train whose fateful journey gave his father, Ashoke Ganguli -- a Bengali in America, awkward in his new surroundings -- both a brush with mortality and the name of his firstborn son. Brought up as an Indian in suburban America, Gogol finds himself itching to cast off the inherited values and priorities that his parents drape over him. He escapes into Education and is educated above all in new ways of living, new ways of making a family, new ways of being married. He is shown a perfect home, then -- to his delight and surprise -- invited in to it, for good. But still he wears that Russian's name, still he is an Indian in America, and, once you get to the furthest point there, there's nowhere else to go but back. In The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri presents her reader with the entirely satisfying novel that those who loved the clarity, sympathy and grace of her prize-winning debut, the story collection Interpreter of Maladies, longed for and anticipated. It is a triumph of humane story-telling.
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An intelligent and empathetic look at transcultural family life, Indian values and its tensions, and the search for roots by a writer formed by such things (India, UK and US). Wonderful character portrayals, a delightful read that may broaden your cultural awareness as it did mine.
Jul 15, 2008
I loved this story for the way it portrayed both the ordinary and the extraordinary experiences of the characters' lives. The way she wove the stories of Ashoke and Ashima together with the stories of their children was also very beautiful giving you a perspective most readers will probably share - that of a child and that of a parent - having been the one and become the other. Certain parts of the story broke my heart and other parts felt like small triumphs, but all told the story just felt very real. My life, as a suburban wife and mother living 3 miles from where a grew up with a Western European background and not even possessing a passport, is continually enriched by authors such as Lahiri who share something that, to me, is a world away.
Jan 22, 2008
the way she wrote the book will make you feel how each of the characters felt in different situations there is a beautiful connection between the reader and the characters she did a wonderful job
Jun 22, 2007
Culturally Revealing and Poignant
Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Namesake is a powerfully told story of cultures merging. It is also a riveting coming-of-age story of a boy who grows into his name. Definitely a worthwhile book!
Apr 26, 2007
This book is a wonderful read! I read it for my book club in February. I would recommend this to everyone!
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