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The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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The Namesake (2003)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

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10,663281422 (3.91)1 / 454
A young man born of Indian parents in America struggles with issues of identity from his teens to his thirties.
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English (276)  Norwegian (1)  Dutch (1)  Japanese (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (281)
Showing 1-5 of 276 (next | show all)
While presented as a novel, I like it better as a collection of related short stories exploring identity, alienation, change and the relationships people have with culture. Framing it that way makes all the discarded characters and abrupt chapter transitions less jarring. Written heavily in the third person and somewhat detached, it often reads more like a script than a novel.

It has it's moments of grace. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Sad and beautiful and celebratory. Makes we want to go read The Overcoat, by Gogol. Lahiri perfectly captures the reality of what it means to be the child of immigrants in America. A must read. ( )
  Gittel | Jan 7, 2020 |
Her style is so utilitarian that unless you are reading this book to learn about Indian (specifically Bengali) dispora in the US, it is a boring read. Nothing I read in the book surprised me, or made me think, or taught me anything new. But I guess I'm Indian, so... ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
The Namesake journeys with the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in India through their fraught transformation into Americans SOFT
  JRCornell | Jan 30, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 276 (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
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
For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy--a perpetual wait , a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts.
Until now it has not occurred to Gogol that names die over time, that they perish just as people do.
"Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go."
"Now I know why he went to Cleveland, " she tells people, refusing even in death, to utter her husband's name. "He was teaching me how to live alone."
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