Unaccustomed Earth

For anyone in the D.C. area interested in Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing- she is on a book tour and will be speaking at Sixth & I on Wednesday, April 23 at 7 pm.

Tickets are available at Politics & Prose for $6 or you can buy the book for $25 and get 2 free tickets with it. Contact P & P at 202. 364. 1919.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories about the Indian-American diaspora vividly evoke both the ambivalence of the older generation appreciating their adopted nation, but feeling dislocated and the freedom of the younger generation, unfettered by their South Asian origins, except for parental expectations. Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for The Interpreter of Maladies, and her second novel, The Namesake, was adapted to a film in 2007.

A little more info: Lahiri’s new collection of stories (as well as her older works) elegantly capture the way we navigate dual cultures.

Assimilation, in Lahiri’s fiction, is about coming to terms with disorientation. It is about not fitting in or settling down, not starting over from scratch and freely forging a new identity or destiny. Her characters balance precariously between two worldsnot just Asian and Western, but inner and outer…

This new collection of stories continues examining the themes Lahiri has explored in her earlier works- the 1st and 2nd generation immigrants’ search for a sense of belonging.

Well-aware of their own advantagesnot least accent-free English and freedom from the old world custom of arranged marriagethese U.S.-born young adults still can’t help feeling adrift… [Her characters’] are well-aware of profound gaps in perspective, yet where they have trouble bridging them, Lahiri excels at just that. In the title story, and in the three linked stories that close the collection, she maps the divergent angles of vision and emotion that obstruct, even as they broaden, her characters’ search for a sense of belonging.


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2 Responses to “Unaccustomed Earth”

  1. Sundari says:

    Her new novel sounds intriguing (although perhaps a little deja vu) and I do think she writes great succint short stories about couples and families being joined, being pulled apart, dealing with immigration, death, and estrangement. While I do wonder what other themes she may one day explore, I can appreciate that there are yet many untold stories about elements of this experience which I'm sure this novel will delve into.

  2. Sundari says:

    Her new novel sounds intriguing (although perhaps a little deja vu) and I do think she writes great succint short stories about couples and families being joined, being pulled apart, dealing with immigration, death, and estrangement. While I do wonder what other themes she may one day explore, I can appreciate that there are yet many untold stories about elements of this experience which I’m sure this novel will delve into.