Yes, it's a blog about reading.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Jhumpa Lahiri

I just read the Jhumpa Lahiri story ("Once in a Lifetime") in the May 8th New Yorker. It was a bit like her novel, "The Namesake" in that it portrayed an Indian family transplanted to Cambridge, Massachusetts and the society of fellow-expatriots that they join. As in the novel, the family moves out to a generic Boston suburb and the children experience a very Americanized upbringing, except for being dragged off to visit India every now and then. I was trying to decide why I dislike her writing, and maybe, I'm sorry to say, it is because what she writes about isn't exotic enough and what she describes in such numbing detail is my own childhood - the orange and brown decorating scheme, the Christmas cards taped up around the door, the inane TV shows, like 'Gilligan's Island', the homogeneous school system where everyone strives to conform. Anyway, this story at least had a center, the very well realized young girl narrator, which was lacking in "The Namesake" and that makes a huge difference.


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