Tuesday, May 24

Book Review: The Namesake

Title: The Namesake

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Pages: 291

Summary: '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'.

My Rating: 5.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this book, as I'm fairly indifferent about it. I liked the writing style and the general idea behind the story but I didn't like the characters that much, and found that aspects of the story dragged a bit. There were parts of it I just didn't care for.

The author is good at storytelling, and there were parts I found touching, but I think there were aspects, such as characterization, that could have been improved to make this a better readign experience. I think that that this was my major problem - a story on self discovery/ finding one's identify, but I couldn't care enough about the main character to really get into the book like I'd like to have.

The book is just one of those books that I didn't dislike, but I didn't like either.

Would I recommend it to read: I'm not sure. I've heard great things about her other works, but I'm not sure I'd recommended this one. There was just something missing from the book, and I'm still not sure where I stand on it.

What to read next: I'd read the Interpreter of Maladies

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, New Author Challenge, Take a Chance Challenge


  1. Though I liked this book a lot, I think Lahiri does her best work in the short stories she writes. I would recommend The Interpreter of Maladies to you highly, as it was a great book.

  2. Zibilee - I was actually hoping to read that one first, but this one was available from the library first. I'll try to read it some time soon.