HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Loading...

The Namesake (2003)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,117234328 (3.91)398
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 398 mentions

English (230)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (234)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Fiction
Lahiri writes with a poetic clarity that makes the act of reading akin to being born again. Her style is such a pleasure to read that it almost relegates the story she is telling superfluous -- almost. Instead, you are softly carried along and privileged to be present as a gentle Bengali couple adjust to life in the Northeast with their two children. The cultures involved loom large and create tension without overshadowing the characters or derailing our sympathy for them. Hopefully, Lahiri will be a prolific author so that when other authors exhaust, there will always be a place to go to be refreshed.
Recommended by Geo, August 2004
  dawsong | Jun 12, 2015 |
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel “The Namesake” is a beautifully narrated family saga of the Gangulis, Bengali immigrants in the United States. An arranged marriage brings Ashima from Calcutta to Cambridge, Massachusetts where her husband Ashoke is studying engineering at MIT. Unlike Ashoke, Ashima has a hard time assimilating into the new culture and desperately longs for her family. However, the Gangulis fail to bring the old tradition to the new world when they name their firstborn, Gogol, after the great Russian writer. An unusual name, which is neither Bengali nor American, together with the expectations that come from his heritage, set Gogol on a path of identity struggle and divided loyalties.

THUMBS UP:

1) Eloquent prose.
Lahiri’s writing is gorgeous: her language is simple and flows effortlessly yet every emotion, every single detail is captured with a remarkable precision.

2) Insightful.
Lahiri not only offers the readers a compelling firsthand account of Bengali immigrants’ lives, relationships between generations and their struggle with cultural differences but also explores a more universal conflict of identity.

COULD BE BETTER:

1) Weak plot.
Despite the fact that “The Namesake” spans over three decades, there are very few memorable events. The rest of the story kind of blurs together and seems to be little less than a realistic and quite ordinary as well as occasionally dull and even depressing chronological account of immigrants and their children’s lives.

2) Underdeveloped.
Since the whole Ganguli family saga is told in under 300 pages, some parts seem quite rushed, especially so towards the end. Although I was glad to reach the end relatively fast, I believe that the story could be so much more compelling if only certain events were elaborated upon.

3) Dull protagonist.
The main character, Gogol, is somewhat dislikable. However, the problem is not the fact that I didn’t love him - I simply didn’t care about him. In fact, Gogol is extremely passive and rather boring character, I would much rather read the story from the perspective of his sister, Sonia.

VERDICT: 3 out of 5

“The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri is an elegantly written and insightful family saga of cultural assimilation and identity. Unfortunately, the plot is rather underdeveloped and the main character is a bore.

POST SCRIPTUM:

I also listened to “The Namesake” read by Sarita Choudhury. Her narration is beautiful, and it’s very entertaining to hear the characters speak with an Indian accent.

POST POST SCRIPTUM:

Last year I read (and reviewed) the latest Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, “The Lowland,” and liked it much more than “The Namesake.” You see, “The Lowland” has more of a story which has affected me deeply, whereas “The Namesake” hardly stirred any emotions in me. By the way, although in both books Lahiri’s prose is superb, the writing in “The Lowland” is VERY different from the writing in “The Namesake.” ( )
2 vote AgneJakubauskaite | Jun 12, 2015 |
The ending of this book left me feeling really sad. Gogol's reading the book his dad gave him before he passed away...and I was reading a book that used to belong to my Grammie Ruth before she passed away. I wonder what she thought of the book. I wish I could ask her. ( )
  brleach | Jan 26, 2015 |
A gentle saga about the lives, loves, personal tragedies and triumphs of an Indian family migrating to America - 1968 - 2000. Thought provoking sections on how names can impact people's attitudes toward themselves and their relationships. ( )
  siri51 | Jan 12, 2015 |
The story follows two immigrants from India who end up in NE USA. Their son, born in the US, is given the temporary name of "Gogol" but which becomes much more than his nickname. Well written. ( )
  addunn3 | Jan 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (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.
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
First words
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
225 avail.
142 wanted
5 pay6 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.91)
0.5 1
1 22
1.5 6
2 95
2.5 24
3 555
3.5 156
4 1066
4.5 135
5 643

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 97,933,428 books! | Top bar: Always visible