2003 - The Namesake
Apparently all it took to get caught up on my reading was quitting my full-time job and moving out of my house. Not that I recommend anyone go to those extremes, of course, but I will say it is nice to be able to get in a few chapters during my son's nap or while my parents are playing with him. We'll see if I can keep it up after yet another transition in a couple of weeks to our new house.
The Namesake is a family saga that traces the life of an Indian-American immigrant with a particularly un-Bengali name. The dramatic irony in this book propels the emotional resonance of his decision to change his name, a decision that impacts the rest of his life. The writing in this book is superb. There were many striking passages that demonstrated Jhumpa Lahiri's talent, but this was one of my favorites:
"For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy--a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been an ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect." P. 50
I only wish more Americans viewed immigrants with more respect. If you're interested in family sagas, in particular with an Indian element, I recommend the following, especially number three which is one of my all-time favorite books.
- Family Life by Akhil Sharma
- No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Keep turning the page whenever you can,