Book Review

THE NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri

Rating: 4 / 5

THE NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri has been on my shelves since I read and loved the author’s INTERPRETER OF MALADIES last year. I picked this one up without knowing much more than that she wrote it!

THE NAMESAKE follows Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli as they move from Calcutta, India to Cambridge, Massachusetts not long after their arranged marriage. When their son is born, they rely on tradition and await the boy’s name’s arrival from relatives in India, but it never arrives. Instead he is named for his father’s favorite Russian writer, Gogol. The story moves forward following Gogol as he grows up balancing his American and Indian cultures.

I really do love Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing and was not at all disappointed on that front. I enjoyed how she focused in on Gogol as he grew up with changing tastes and frustrations with his more traditional parents and his less than traditional name. Over his years, his changes in how he wanted to be known and the way he related to family and friends really felt true to life.

I felt like the story dragged for just a little bit in the middle and I didn’t always care for Gogol’s relationship choices, but overall I really enjoyed the story and the scope of the multi-generational story Lahiri told. I have heard good things about the movie adaptation for THE NAMESAKE and it is one I will definitely check out!

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