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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri

I expected more of this novel; certainly the topic is of interest to me: the immigrant experience. But the actual telling of this story was a bit lacklustre. The main character's parents move from Calcutta to New England at the start of their marriage in the 1960s. The story begins just before the birth of the main character, named Gogol in honor of the Russian author. The story follows Gogol's life into his 30s. It examines how his parents, his sister, and he integrate, or don't, with American customs and culture. I thought the idea held great promise, but the book as it is reminds me of nothing so much as of notes for a novel, instead of a novel proper. And I could have done without the casual attitude toward sex displayed by many of the American characters (and Gogol himself, for that matter). I can't recommend it.

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