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The Namesake: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
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The Namesake: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

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8,934229336 (3.91)383
Member:Boobalack
Title:The Namesake: A Novel
Authors:Jhumpa Lahiri
Info:Mariner Books (2004), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 291 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Fiction, East Indian Americans, Assimilation, Immigrants, Read

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The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)

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English (225)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (229)
Showing 1-5 of 225 (next | show all)
One of my all time favorite books!! ( )
  ShiraR | Nov 6, 2014 |
Great Story, Memorable characters
  tommolinaro | Sep 12, 2014 |
Novel discussing the movement of a family from the culture of India to America. Well written prose (little, if any dialogue) that brings up the differences between generations as well as cultures. ( )
  Pmaurer | Jul 1, 2014 |
The Namesake tells the story of the Ganguli family – parents, son, and daughter. The parents are immigrants from Calcutta to the United States. While the parents’ story is very interesting in and of itself, this is really son Gogol’s story. As a first generation Indian-American, Gogol tries to navigate his life between the old and new ways as best he can. With characters the reader cares about, The Namesake is a solid read, and I highly recommend it. ( )
  JoStARs | Jun 15, 2014 |
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their traditional life in Calcutta through their and their children’s (specifically their son Gogol) transformation into Americans. The novel moves back and forth from the perspective of the parents to those of the son. 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 relies on Indian tradition, with Ashoke and Ashima waiting for a name to be chosen by her mother who is still back in India. When the name doesn't arrive, the two new parents quickly choose the name Gogol, in tribute to one of Ashoke's favorite Russian author (and a significant character in Ashoke’s past). But Gogol hates his name, and the Bengali traditions that are forced on him since childhood. The reader follows him through adolescence into adulthood where his history and his family affect his relationships with others particularly his parents and of course women. This novel presents an exploration of the immigrant experience, but the lessons are universal... Anyone who has ever been ashamed of their parents, felt the guilty pull of duty, questioned their own identity, or fallen in love, will identify with these intermingling lives. I found this book to be beautifully written without being pretentious or overly self-aware. I found myself not wanting it to end. 4 ½ out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jun 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 225 (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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:20 -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.

(summary from another edition)

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