JhumpaLahiri and her some famous reads for all

Simple yet poignant narrations and characterization make all her work worth a read

Born as Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri, American Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri moved to Rhode Islands, the United States as a young child with her family. Finding it difficult to pronounce her real name, her teachers back then decided to call by her nick name, Jhumpa. It was her interest in literature and creative writing that led her where she is now.

This story of Gogol Ganguly, an Indian-American shows the struggle of the character who is continuously trying to find his identity. The Namesake is considered Lahiri’s masterpiece and the story unfolds showing the trials and tribulations of the Gangulis as immigrants trying to carve a space for themselves in a foreign land. What amuses and makes it relatable to Indians are the cultural conflicts experienced by the children of Indian-origin Americans.

Interpreter of Maladies
This is Lahiri’s debut book and is a collection of nine stories exploring the issues of identity and love among immigrants (mostly Indians living in Boston). Revolving around the Das family, the story transcends from the backdrops of Indian villages as the family travels across the region. The aim of the Indian origin family, coming from the USA, is to visit several places and on the way reveal new perspectives on their relations. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000.

Unaccustomed Earth
This book is also a collection, that of short stories shedding light on a variety of human emotions and the various complex relationships that will come across as relatable. Since the title is inspired by an introductory passage in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, the first story is also named the same. The author received the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award for this collection of short stories.

The Lowland
The story follows two brothers, Subhash and Udayan, born 15 months apart and lead a life often been mistaken in the Kolkata neighbourhood for the other during their childhood days. But growing up in the 1960s, while Udayan is drawn to the Naxalite movement Subhash decides to pursue research in America. The story unfolds as years later Subhash learns about Udayan’s fate and returns to India.

Lahiri’s narration is often inspired from her own life, that of Indian immigrants to America struggling to navigate between the cultural values of their homeland and their adopted home. Her writing is characterized by her plain language and her characters often a reflection of her own experiences and those of her parents, friends, and others in the Bengali communities with which she is familiar. It is her extreme sensibility of writing through her characters’ struggles, anxieties, and biases to chronicle the nuances and details of immigrant psychology and behavior.

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