The Namesake, Week in Books #27c

If you can believe it, here is yet another book that will make the top reads for 2010 list.  Jhumpa Lahiri’s incredible novel The Namesake is full of exquisite descriptions of the lives of Indian immigrants and their children.  The book is gorgeously written, so much so that I really want to stop everything and read every single one of her books right now.

The premise of the novel surrounds the baby boy born to Bengali parents in Boston.  His grandmother back in India was supposed to send a letter giving his name, but the letter was lost and the parents can’t leave the hospital without naming the child.  They give him a nickname, Gogol, based on the father’s love of literature and the fact that he feels that reading Gogol saved his life once.  The parents are confused by American rules, Gogol grows to hate his name and wants to be more “normal,” casting about for traction in America, never quite fitting in no matter what name he goes by.  Through it all, this is a story of family, of identity (there it is again, my favorite literary theme), of discovering what is truly important.  All wonderfully, beautifully told.  I loved this book, and recommend it highly.

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4 thoughts on “The Namesake, Week in Books #27c

  1. I enjoyed the movie, but had heard that the book was better. I will add it to my list! (And I love saying “Gogol” with a Bengali accent! There’s also a Tolstoy children’s story in which a monkey has the same name.)

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