Thursday, June 26, 2008
I was so excited to see that Jhumpa Lahiri (author of the The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies) was coming out with a new book, and, despite my commitment to the public library, I couldn't wait for them to get it, so I ordered it right away. I'm so glad I did because I want a copy to have forever and to share with whomever wants to share my love for Lahiri's work. (But you better give it back when you're done!)
Most of Lahiri's writing focuses on families experiencing different versions of the Indian - American culture clash. She tells stories of immigrants and their children, and allows those of us who are not Indian to imagine how such a monumental move can impact and change us. Her stories also invite those who have experienced such culturally-conflicted/combined/compounded lives to celebrate and at times commiserate with her characters as they go through life torn in pieces by different homelands.
Unaccustomed Earth does not disappoint those who have read her stories faithfully. Her writing is beautiful, her characters complicated, and the settings she creates are so familiar. (I especially enjoyed driving down Rt. 128 from Beverly to the Dunkin Donuts by Liberty Tree Mall with one of her characters!)
The main theme, introduced by a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote, is that we do so much for ourselves and our children when, instead of replanting ourselves over and over again in the same place, we "strike our roots into unaccustomed earth." I know Ben and I are living a life very much in tribute to and as a result of our own parents' bold steps to go where God has called them, and not just assume their assigned roles in life. Thanks Moms and Dads!
Read this book - I'll lend it to you if you want - and let me know what you think!