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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
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Unaccustomed Earth (2008)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,756None1,386 (4.15)297
  1. 70
    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (reenum)
  2. 40
    The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (reenum)
  3. 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
  4. 10
    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.
  5. 10
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (chrisharpe)
  6. 00
    Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays by Eula Biss (Maiasaura)
  7. 00
    A Person of Interest: A Novel by Susan Choi (tangentialine)
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» See also 297 mentions

English (148)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (156)
Showing 1-5 of 148 (next | show all)
Short stories are just not my thing. Oh well... ( )
  patsaintsfan | Apr 15, 2014 |
Short stories are just not my thing. Oh well... ( )
  patsaintsfan | Apr 15, 2014 |
Note: if you intend to read this book, you may not want to read this review beforehand.

Jhumpa Lahiri writes crushing stories of disaffected first-generation Indian immigrant children and their often dysfunctional families. There are no happy endings here. Even when you think you see one coming, Lahiri yanks it violently away and leaves you wallowing in the muck of real life. The best you can hope for is an ending where even though something bad happens, at least two people are supporting each other through the bad thing. All of this is not meant as criticism, per se (note 4-star rating); however, Lahiri's endings do threaten to make her storytelling appear one-dimensional. What I mean is that a reader can quickly come to expect that not much good is going to happen to any character in any story, which therefore limits the number of possible outcomes to a given story, thus rendering a potentially predictable ending to that story. Although I enjoyed the collection, by the end of the last story I needed a double dose of B vitamins. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
from the R5 OBCZ; Another good book of stories by this author. Again, she uses at least one Indian living in America in each story. I particularly liked part two, which was 3 short stories that belonged together - in the first, the life of Hema when an Indian family moves in with them, the second is the life of KD, and the third intermingles the lives of KD and Hema, which ends sadly. ( )
  nancynova | Mar 29, 2014 |
I only read the story Years End which has Aunt Jane's name in it. Character bears no relation to Aunt Jane, but her name is unique. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 148 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:07 -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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