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The Namesake
by Jhumpa Lahiri | Literature & Fiction
Registered by catsalive of Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on 4/27/2008
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Miss-Owl): to be read

3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by catsalive from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, April 27, 2008

This book has not been rated.
Any talk of The Namesake--Jhumpa Lahiri's follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning debut, Interpreter of Maladies--must begin with a name: Gogol Ganguli. Born to an Indian academic and his wife, Gogol is afflicted from birth with a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all. He is given the name by his father who, before he came to America to study at MIT, was almost killed in a train wreck in India. Rescuers caught sight of the volume of Nikolai Gogol's short stories that he held, and hauled him from the train. Ashoke gives his American-born son the name as a kind of placeholder, and the awkward thing sticks.

Awkwardness is Gogol's birthright. He grows up a bright American boy, goes to Yale, has pretty girlfriends, becomes a successful architect, but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world. There's a lovely section where he dates a wealthy, cultured young Manhattan woman who lives with her charming parents. They fold Gogol into their easy, elegant life, but even here he can find no peace and he breaks off the relationship. His mother finally sets him up on a blind date with the daughter of a Bengali friend, and Gogol thinks he has found his match. Moushumi, like Gogol, is at odds with the Indian-American world she inhabits. She has found, however, a circuitous escape: "At Brown, her rebellion had been academic ... she'd pursued a double major in French. Immersing herself in a third language, a third culture, had been her refuge--she approached French, unlike things American or Indian, without guilt, or misgiving, or expectation of any kind." Lahiri documents these quiet rebellions and random longings with great sensitivity. There's no cleverness or showing-off in The Namesake, just beautifully confident storytelling. Gogol's story is neither comedy nor tragedy; it's simply that ordinary, hard-to-get-down-on-paper commodity: real life. --Claire Dederer 

Journal Entry 2 by catsalive at A fellow BXer in Aussie Post, RABCK -- Controlled Releases on Monday, April 28, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Released 9 yrs ago (4/28/2008 UTC) at A fellow BXer in Aussie Post, RABCK -- Controlled Releases



Sent to freelunch, our May Southern Crosser

Journal Entry 3 by freelunch from Cairns, Queensland Australia on Friday, May 02, 2008

This book has not been rated.

from my wishlist! thanks very much catsalive :o) 

Journal Entry 4 by freelunch from Cairns, Queensland Australia on Monday, June 15, 2009

8 out of 10

an enjoyable read, though I'd have been happier if Gogol caught an occasional break.

to be posted this afternoon, an RABCK to Miss-Owl 

Journal Entry 5 by Miss-Owl from Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand on Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Gogol? That was unexpected. (I guess you can see I know nothing about this book!)

Thank you very much, freelunch, for your generosity. The bookplates are great, too, and I love the little comic strip bookmark.

This looks like a great plane read... thank you! 

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