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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
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Unaccustomed Earth (2008)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9341651,307 (4.14)327
  1. 90
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (reenum)
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    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (reenum)
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    A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies: Stories by John Murray (ShortStoryLover)
    ShortStoryLover: Murray's style of writing in this collection of short stories is similarly subtle to Jhumpa Lahiri's in her short story collections. Several of his stories feature Indian-Americans, and two are set in India.
  4. 20
    Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (Inesdelreves)
    Inesdelreves: Un incidente sin importancia desencadena una verdadera hecatombe en el seno de la familia. Una novela sobre la importancia del lugar que cada cual ocupa en el mundo
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    A Person of Interest: A Novel by Susan Choi (tangentialine)
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» See also 327 mentions

English (157)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (165)
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
I am not usually a fan of short stories, but these were amazing! At the end of each story, I kept turning the page, saying to myself, "This cannot be the end. Some pages must be missing." But that abrupt ending was what made the stories so spectacular. My open-mouthed amazement at the stories' endings made me a huge fan of this author, and I eagerly anticipate reading her other works. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Finally – a short story collection whose ending can be spoiled. I won't. Part Two is connected. I was unable to find recurring characters in Part One. Lahiri is as emotionally honest as O'Brien, but the subject matter here is family: immigrating back and forth between India, U.S. and other countries. And, hey, there's some hotness. Love, grief, generations, gender, class. ( )
  KristinAkerHowell | Aug 15, 2015 |
Finally – a short story collection whose ending can be spoiled. I won't. Part Two is connected. I was unable to find recurring characters in Part One. Lahiri is as emotionally honest as O'Brien, but the subject matter here is family: immigrating back and forth between India, U.S. and other countries. And, hey, there's some hotness. Love, grief, generations, gender, class. ( )
  KristinAkerHowell | Aug 15, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book, as I have all of Jhumpa Lahiri's books. I was wavering between 4 and 5 starts. As it is in any short story collection, some stories were better than others. The endings of some of the stories are what I struggled with a bit. When I got to the end of some of the stories, I would think, "that's it? it can't end there!" but then as i thought about it, i realized that is what i liked about the story, is that it did end there. it was more like life. conflicts aren't perfectly resolved or even resolved at all, people don't get over their own hangups, relationships are never perfect....but life goes on...and i guess that was the beauty of the book. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Jhumpa Lahiri writes beautiful stories about families straddling cultures, usually Bengali and American, that are filled with the common experience of loss and loneliness. Her writing is fluent and insightful, but, in this book at least, so sad. Even though I read this over a couple of weeks, spacing out the stories, I still found each one to be sad in some way which made the whole reading experience kind of depressing.

The collection is presented in two parts, the first five stories sort of linked thematically, but not containing repeat characters. The second part is three stories with two main characters, Hema and Kaushik. I'll avoid any plot synopses because with short stories there is just too much to give away.

Overall, I really love Lahiri's writing for its flow and insight, but I wish her stories weren't all so sad. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 157 (next | show all)
There is much cultural news in these precisely observed studies of modern-day Bengali-Americans — many of them Ivy-league strivers ensconced in prosperous suburbs who can’t quite overcome the tug of traditions nurtured in Calcutta. With quiet artistry and tender sympathy, Lahiri creates an impressive range of vivid characters — young and old, male and female, self-knowing and self-deluding — in engrossing stories that replenish the classic themes of domestic realism: loneliness, estrangement and family discord.
added by aksanil | editThe New York Times (Mar 12, 2008)
 
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Epigraph
"Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth."

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Customs House
Dedication
For my parents and for my sister

Vintage 2009 edition: For Octavio, for Noor
First words
After her mother's death, Ruma's father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he'd never seen.
Quotations
…I gathered from my parents’ talk that it was regarded as a wavering, a weakness. “They should have known its impossible to go back,” they said to their friends, condemning your parents for having failed at both ends. We had stuck it out as immigrants while you had fled; had we been the ones to go back to India, my parents seemed to suggest, we would have stuck it out there as well.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307265730, Hardcover)

From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories—longer and more emotionally complex than any she has yet written—that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they enter the lives of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers.

In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he’s harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he’s keeping all to himself. In “A Choice of Accommodations,” a husband’s attempt to turn an old friend’s wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes a dark, revealing turn as the party lasts deep into the night. In “Only Goodness,” a sister eager to give her younger brother the perfect childhood she never had is overwhelmed by guilt, anguish, and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family. And in “Hema and Kaushik,” a trio of linked stories—a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love, and fate—we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.

Unaccustomed Earth is rich with Jhumpa Lahiri’s signature gifts: exquisite prose, emotional wisdom, and subtle renderings of the most intricate workings of the heart and mind. It is a masterful, dazzling work of a writer at the peak of her powers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Exploring the secrets and complexities lying at the heart of family life and relationships, a collection of eight stories includes the title work, about a young mother in a new city whose father tends her garden while hiding a secret love affair.

» see all 4 descriptions

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