The Namesake

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003 - Fiction - 291 pages
1979 Reviews
Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works -- and only a handful of collections -- to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Among the many other awards and honors it received were the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the highest critical praise for its grace, acuity, and compassion in detailing lives transported from India to America. In The Namesake, Lahiri enriches the themes that made her collection an international bestseller: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. Here again Lahiri displays her deft touch for the perfect detail -- the fleeting moment, the turn of phrase -- that opens whole worlds of emotion.
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves. The New York Times has praised Lahiri as "a writer of uncommon elegance and poise." The Namesake is a fine-tuned, intimate, and deeply felt novel of identity.
 

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Great writer, with a thought provoking great story. - Goodreads
A pretty sad story altogether with a sad ending. - Goodreads
Loved the character development. - Goodreads
The prose is simple. - Goodreads
The Namesake doesn't have a fast-paced plot. - Goodreads
Easy to read, but not at all memorable... - Goodreads

Review: The Namesake

User Review  - Janet - Goodreads

Loved the character development. The end needed to be stronger. I would like to have had some idea what was next for Nikhil/Gogol. Read full review

Review: The Namesake

User Review  - Jihan Bok - Goodreads

This is a tale of diaspora, of immigrants and their generations trying to find not just physical place, but emotional and cultural as well in new territory. There is a lyrical, haunting melancholy to ... Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
22
Chapter 3
48
Chapter 4
72
Chapter 5
97
Chapter 6
125
Chapter 7
159
Chapter 8
188
Chapter 9
219
Chapter 1O
246
Chapter 11
268
Chapter 12
274
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Jhumpa Lahiri was born 1967 in London, England, and raised in Rhode Island. She is a graduate of Barnard College, where she received a B.A. in English literature, and of Boston University, where she received an M.A. in English, M.A. in Creative Writing and M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was translated into twenty-nine languages and became a bestseller both in the United States and abroad. In addition to the Pulitzer, it received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Addison Metcalf Award, and a nomination for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Lahiri was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. The Namesake is Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

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