Unaccustomed Earth Paperback – 1 Jun 2009
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'Lahiri's enormous gifts as a storyteller are on full display ... gorgeous' Khaled Hosseini 'Probably the most influential writer of fiction in America' Financial Times 'Contains some of the best, most beautiful fiction written this decade - the kind that will be read 50 years from now' New Statesman 'It's difficult to think of a contemporary writer who gives her characters so much dignity ... Fiction of matchless restraint, yet also of rich, complex lives and credible characters' The Times
About the Author
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London of Bengali parents, and grew up in Rhode Island, USA. Her stories have appeared in many American journals and her first collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize 2000 for Fiction, the New Yorker Prize for Best First Book, the PEN/Hemingway Award and was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Award. Her novel, The Namesake, was published in 2003 and is now a major motion picture from the director of Monsoon Wedding. Jhumpa Lahiri lives in New York with her husband and two children.
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Top Customer Reviews
There are eight stories in this book. The final three feature the same characters but the others stand alone. However they are all quite similar in that they feature highly educated Bengali Indians living in the US and often in mixed race relationships. There are also similar themes that repeat: learning to move on after losing a loved one or the relationships between parents and their adult children.
While I enjoyed all of the stories in this book, I was particularly moved by the first (Unaccustomed Earth) and the last (Going Ashore). They are the two in which I felt the most involved and really cared about the characters. I felt somewhat detached from the others (hence the 4 star rating). However I still enjoyed them and I recommend this book without hesitation - do not let the fact that it's short stories put you off!
H and K, unlike the characters in the other stories, are given longer to develop their love story. The reader lives through glimpses of their childhood, teen years and university life. All eventually leading to their professional lives where they come together and have a love affair. Even though one of them is living out of a suitcase and the ohter is engaged to be married.
Throughout the stories, Lahiri accurately captures the emotion and conflicts of Indian immigrants to the US and briefly to London. There is a melancholy underlying the characters and their various relationships with partners, friends, room-mates and parents as Lahiri brings out their longer to belong to someone or some place matched with their sense of detachment to people and places in different ways. In short, their book, like her first, is a must-read for every Indian immigrant and third culture kid out there.
And I have recommended her books to colleagues who also seem to have been bitten by the bug too.
This title is a series of novellas, different, but with a thread running through them about family (and extended family) tensions and observations. The characters are convincingly real and I actually feel as if I would get on with quite a few of them in real life and can see parallels in my own life (despite not experiencing the cultural intrigues of the characters).
An easy, yet thought provoking, book. Perfect for holiday reading, tube or train commuter reading: I read most of this one in unseasonably sunny London weather in my backyard, glare free on the Kindle.
Go out and buy......
The eight stories in her present book do not disappoint at all. They are wonderfully structured and are filled with acute psychological observations, eloquent writing and detailed descriptions. The main themes are about family secrets and relations. In one of them, there is the story of a widower who has a mistress and who prefers to keep it a secret from his daughter, in another, a married woman who falls platonically in love with a friend, in another, a sister who introduces her brother to alcoholism, in another, the story of a teen who cannot accept the father's new wife, etc.
Lahiri's stories of exile, identity, disappointment, bitterness, relations and maturation are brilliant and extremely realistic. Her language is aesthetically marvelous.
Joyce Åkesson, author of Love's Thrilling Dimensions and The Invitation (amazon.com)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An ok read but too repetative. Also on the same lines as her other books.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully written, Jhumpa Lahiri's usual understated style. A connected set of stories that can nonetheless be read independently. Read morePublished 3 months ago by S. Bandyopadhyay
Several novels into several short stories: utterly captivating, any immigrant can resonate with feelings here portrayed...not about nor for a closed minority.... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Gina K
Much of the same from the author. Seemed like an extension of "interpretor of maladies"Published 5 months ago by saiqa sharif
A great book from Jhumpa Lahari. I am glad I followed up a lead for this author from a book review. Well worth reading. Read morePublished 6 months ago by zanne
Very compassionate and moving. Beautifully structured, but always human and with a deep sense of sadness.Published 8 months ago by john paul moriarty
Extremely well written exploration of people in (voluntary) migration.Published 10 months ago by Grylla S. Noab