Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri revisits familiar territory in her latest. The haunted land of bengali immigrants.

By now, you almost know each of the characters inside out, the pining for home first generation, the angsty rootless second and their sometimes confused, sometimes empathic partners. They meet, they talk, they think of home, they brood, they keep rediscovering each other and sometimes they take a step too far.

As always, the things to watch out for, the folk-talesque simplicity of the narrative and the curious way of presenting the case without any value judgement. So much so, that you forget all about the author and her stand. This in my opinion, is what makes Madame Lahiri so poignant as a writer. Like, come on, she's definitely no Rushdie or Amitav Ghosh. Rather, her strength is to present characters with all their typical bong educated middle-class vulnerabilities and make readers wonder what would they be doing faced with such situations.

All in all, its more of the same. In case you have liked Interpreter of Maladies or The Namesake, there's no way you are not going to like this one, even if the dish is a bit stale. But then, we all like panta-bhat, don't we?

7 comments:

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

DYK... Ms Lahiri's bhalo naam is Neelanjana Sudeshna but Americn school teachers could just about manage her simpler daak naam - Jhumpa!

Anonymous said...

actually, savita bhabhi is a much deeper study in human emotions... he heh he

monster paperbag said...

I really should buy this book.

Nilendu said...

"the pining for home first generation" -- is a worse cliché than Jagdeep's side-kick portrayals post Soorma Bhopali.

Jhoompa is just one of those chick writers who also happened to include some middle-aged characters between not-so-pink jacket covers. Horrible. Even post-90 Sunil Ganguly would be so much better even if I translate it and either Bappida or Pranabbabu reads it loud!

netfandu said...
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ContentXn Network said...
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Jean said...

I have read Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, am not sure I want to read more of hers if the stories are going to be repetitive (in style if not in content).
What do u suggest??