The Namesake

The Namesake

Book - 2003
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Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works -- and only a handful of collections -- to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Among the many other awards and honors it received were the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the highest critical praise for its grace, acuity, and compassion in detailing lives transported from India to America.In The Namesake, Lahiri enriches the themes that made her collection an international bestseller: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. Here again Lahiri displays her deft touch for the perfect detail -- the fleeting moment, the turn of phrase -- that opens whole worlds of emotion.
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. 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 betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named fora Russian writer by his Indian parents in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd, antic name. Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by whichwe slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves. The New York Times has praised Lahiri as "a writer of uncommon elegance and poise." The Namesake is a fine-tuned, intimate, and deeply felt novel of identity.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
ISBN: 9780395927212
Branch Call Number: LAHIRI J
Characteristics: 291 pages ; 22 cm.


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Jun 02, 2021

The author tells this story of two generations of a Bengali immigrant family in Cambridge, MA, with a plain and pellucid rendering of closely observed physical and social reality. Nothing is hidden, nothing is missed, nothing is exaggerated or inflated. Just the steady, unbroken pressure of reality itself. Partly, the book gives an account of the incongruity of Bengali and American cultures within immigrant characters who must bring them together. In a larger sense, it is about how mysterious and unknown parents are to their children -- literally so in this book since the main character does not even learn of the most important event in his father's life, the one that has given him his own name, until he is an adult himself.

May 11, 2021

The author is a good writer. The book reads easily. It was a book full of emotion about family. I think the author got the emotions accurate as it pertains to leaving home to another place and it is not ever really the same. Also how the children being raised in the new place will never really understand how you got to be the way you are. In this book that theme is throughout. Maybe a bit dramatized but it certainly is the case for many that their children do not accept and are embarrassed about their family's ways and their name. I think it is a book well worth reading.

Apr 26, 2021

Wow. I read this book for school, but man, I fell in love with it just as easily as I have with books I read on my own time. I love a good family drama, and The Namesake checks all of those boxes. Something I think is really worth noting about The Namesake is that it is about the assimilation of a Bengali family into American society but it is not explicitly about racism. The Gangulis face microaggressions and the struggles of living amongst a different country with different values, but it does not feel exploitative. The story has so much more to it than just sadness - it is about love, tradition, family, identity, and growing up. Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing is so beautifully moving; I found myself so captivated by her words I just wanted to keep reading past our assignments. Definitely my favorite school read, and one of my new favorites overall.

Apr 17, 2021

A lovely novel by the wonderful author Jhumpa Lahiri. The Namesake follows the story of a Bengali family who is transplanted to the Northeast. Instead of warmth, spices and lots of family, the Gangulis are thrust into the cold, bitter Northeast climate as Ashoke, the husband, and Ashima, the wife, attempt to navigate the U.S. Lahiri does an excellent job of letting the characters speak for themselves. Gogol Ganguli strives to achieve his idealistic life by surrounding himself with others who he admires. What does a namesake mean? How does an individual form their own identity? These are two of many questions that Lahiri explores in her magnificent, luminous novel.

Apr 01, 2021

I liked how this book had a realistic representation of what some South Asian families in the USA with immigrant parents are like. The book shows the children, first generation Indian-Americans, drifting away from their parents’/family traditions and towards more Western lifestyles. They can’t be blamed for that because they’re living in the USA, so of course they would have great Western influences in their life. I like how Jhumpa Lahiri depicted this well, and not in a cringey way, as I’ve seen some do before. Besides that, the book is written well and the plot and characters are developed amazingly. I even shed a tear at some parts. I would give this book 5 stars.

Groszerita May 26, 2019

This is a story of the immigrant experience and also a story about a father and son relationship.

Sep 15, 2018

Anglo-Indian writer Jhumpa Lahiri's first book of short stories, "Interpreter of Maladies," won the Pulitzer. "The Namesake" is her first novel and has similar themes, namely the immigrant experience in America. Made into a film. Also, "The Windfall."

Jan 15, 2018

I love this novel.

Dec 17, 2016

I downloaded the ebook to read on my nook, and it will not let me open it without entering my full name and credit card despite the fact that the book is a rental from the library. The file opens fine on my computer. Anyone know how to solve this issue?

WCLSBlaineLibrary Dec 02, 2016

Truly engaging, well written, high praise for Jhumpa Lahiri... again.
She has a gift for chronicling families struggling with the delicate balance of
being loyal to traditions of India while coming of age in America.

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Feb 10, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Veronica Martin
Sep 07, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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Feb 10, 2011

imaginethat thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Jul 25, 2012

inscribed in the book Gogol's father had given him: "For Gogol Ganguli, The man who gave you his name, from the man who gave you your name"


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