Because I enjoyed reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collection, I was looking forward to reading her novel “The Namesake”. I was not disappointed! This novel tells the story of two generations of the Ganguli family. The parents, Ashoke and Ashima, travel from Calcutta to America and settle in Massachusetts to start their lives as Americans. They make every effort to conform to American life and customs while still maintaining their Bengali heritage, and the author embellishes the story with lots of cultural details.
When their son is born, they struggle with naming him because correspondence from India containing a name choice is lost. They ultimately decide to make the baby a namesake of a Russian writer who is very important in Ashoke’s life. This name of Gogol is considered to be his “pet name”, and when Gogol starts school, he is also given a “good name”. The Russian writer’s name once again serves as inspiration. From an early age, Gogol struggles with having two names, with how his names define him, with his Bengali heritage, and with his parents’ expectations of him.
I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book. I especially liked the way the author draws you into her character’s lives. The author took me on a journey with her characters and brought their story to a very satisfying conclusion. I am very much looking forward to reading this author’s newest book, “The Lowland”. I’ll let you know what I think!
Please stop by the Circulation Desk and share your thoughts about “The Namesake” if you’ve already read it, and if not, take a copy home to enjoy.
Hope to see you soon -