'The Namesake' is the story of a boy brought up Indian in America.
'When her grandmother learned of Ashima's pregnancy, she was particularly thrilled at the prospect of naming the family's first sahib. And so Ashima and Ashoke have agreed to put off the decision of what to name the baby until a letter comes.'
For now, the label on his hospital cot reads simply BABY BOY GANGULI. But as time passes and still no letter arrives from India, American bureaucracy takes over and demands that 'baby boy Ganguli' be given a name. In a panic, his father decides to nickname him 'Gogol' after his favourite writer.
Brought up as an Indian in suburban America, Gogol Ganguli soon finds himself itching to cast off his awkward name, just as he longs to leave behind the inherited values of his Bengali parents. And so he sets off on his own path through life, a path strewn with conflicting loyalties, love and loss...
Spanning three decades and crossing continents, Jhumpa Lahiri's much-anticipated first novel is a triumph of humane story-telling. Elegant, subtle and moving, 'The Namesake' is for everyone who loved the clarity, sympathy and grace of Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning debut story collection, 'Interpreter of Maladies'.
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Comments about The Namesake:
I can relate to Gogol. Grew up in a traditional bengali family abroad (Aus) and did not fully embrace the bengali culture. Funnily enough as i have become older i miss the culture which brought me to read this book. Also have more appreciation of what my folks went through.
The Namesake is a tender, moving account of an immigrant Indian family's struggle to integrate with American life, while at the same time respecting the traditions of Bengali culture. Focusing primarily on the experiences of the American-born Gogol Ganguli, the novel consists of a series of key moments - minutely observed, delicately constructed episodes that force him to address questions of loyalty and belonging. Gogol's unusual name, symbolic of parental love, provides the over-arching theme that unites the novel; it is a source of embarrassment, confusion and ultimately pride. Lahiri's Pulitzer prize-winning skill as a short-story writer is recognisable in her ability to capture atmosphere and emotion concisely and often beautifully. With humour and sympathy, she creates characters who must confront their fears and inadequacies to have a chance of happiness, against a background of three decades of American and Indian life. This is a wonderful, entertaining story, brilliantly told. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 28th July 2004
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.9 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.21