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The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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The Namesake (2003)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

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9,329252320 (3.91)404
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Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
I loved this book before it was a movie, and I loved the movie too. It was so true to the book and beautifully filmed. Both the film and the book had me feeling so much empathy, as although most of us have not immigrated to a new country, so much of the emotion is something we can relate to, without feeling foreign to the characters. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
I loved this book before it was a movie, and I loved the movie too. It was so true to the book and beautifully filmed. Both the film and the book had me feeling so much empathy, as although most of us have not immigrated to a new country, so much of the emotion is something we can relate to, without feeling foreign to the characters. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
I loved this book before it was a movie, and I loved the movie too. It was so true to the book and beautifully filmed. Both the film and the book had me feeling so much empathy, as although most of us have not immigrated to a new country, so much of the emotion is something we can relate to, without feeling foreign to the characters. ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
This novel follows a Bengali Indian family living in the U.S. with the focus on the older American-born son, Gogol Ganguli. His parents Ashok and Ashima immigrated to the U.S. after an arranged marriage. Gogol belongs to two worlds, Indian and American, but isn’t fully of both although he appears to prefer the American lifestyle. He attends Yale, becomes an architect and has white girlfriends; eventually he marries Moushumi, a fellow Bengali and daughter of a family friend. She’s as distant from their culture as he is; she has immmersed herself in French culture and language. The marriage ends when he discovers she is having an affair. A very quiet book with sometimes too minute descriptions of the littlest things...but that’s just me.
( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This book looks at identity. It follows the lives of two Bengali parents, married according to parental choice. They then make a life for themselves in America and raise two children, trying to tie their present Western life to their roots and trying to keep their children attached to those roots as well.
I found the lives of the two parents the most interesting.
The protagonist, Gogol, named after his father's favourite author and also according to a significant incident in his father's life was not entirely appealing to me. He tries to turn himself resolutely against his roots but finds himself caught, nonetheless, but seems to find himself cut adrift as well.
Thought-provoking. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 247 (next | show all)
Jhumpa Lahiri's quietly dazzling new novel, ''The Namesake,'' is that rare thing: an intimate, closely observed family portrait that effortlessly and discreetly unfolds to disclose a capacious social vision.
 
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Epigraph
The reader should realize himself that it could not have happened otherwise, and that to give him any other name was quite out of the question.
        -- Nikolai Gogol, 'The Overcoat'
Dedication
For Alberto and Octavio,
whom I call by other names
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On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618485228, Paperback)

Any talk of The Namesake--Jhumpa Lahiri's follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, Interpreter of Maladies--must begin with a name: Gogol Ganguli. Born to an Indian academic and his wife, Gogol is afflicted from birth with a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all. He is given the name by his father who, before he came to America to study at MIT, was almost killed in a train wreck in India. Rescuers caught sight of the volume of Nikolai Gogol's short stories that he held, and hauled him from the train. Ashoke gives his American-born son the name as a kind of placeholder, and the awkward thing sticks.

Awkwardness is Gogol's birthright. He grows up a bright American boy, goes to Yale, has pretty girlfriends, becomes a successful architect, but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world. There's a lovely section where he dates a wealthy, cultured young Manhattan woman who lives with her charming parents. They fold Gogol into their easy, elegant life, but even here he can find no peace and he breaks off the relationship. His mother finally sets him up on a blind date with the daughter of a Bengali friend, and Gogol thinks he has found his match. Moushumi, like Gogol, is at odds with the Indian-American world she inhabits. She has found, however, a circuitous escape: "At Brown, her rebellion had been academic ... she'd pursued a double major in French. Immersing herself in a third language, a third culture, had been her refuge--she approached French, unlike things American or Indian, without guilt, or misgiving, or expectation of any kind." Lahiri documents these quiet rebellions and random longings with great sensitivity. There's no cleverness or showing-off in The Namesake, just beautifully confident storytelling. Gogol's story is neither comedy nor tragedy; it's simply that ordinary, hard-to-get-down-on-paper commodity: real life. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:11 -0400)

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A young man born of Indian parents in America struggles with issues of identity from his teens to his thirties.

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