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Unaccustomed Earth Paperback – 1 Jun 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074759659X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747596592
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am not usually a reader of short stories, but this book defied many of my prejudices. I loved it. Jhumpa Lahiri's writing is beautiful. With just a few paragraphs, she can immerse you in a story so that you end up feeling as satisfied as if you've read an entire novel. She also has a wonderful eye for detail and a way of describing everyday events or objects so you feel that you've never really thought about them in that way before.

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!
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Format: Hardcover
As a Third Culture Kid (TCK) myself, from India, I could completely relate to the characters, their feelings, behaviour, thoughts and relationship dynamics with others. There were traces of my father in Ruma's father; of both my parents in Sudha's parents. The most captivating sotires to me were Nobody's Business because of the simplicity and complexity of love reltaionships and Part Two - Hema and Kaushik's sotry.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read Jhumpa Lahiri's book before and this was a second read after some years. As is not unusual books by Indian authors are not generally stocked in English bookshops in UK....few English people know what masterly prose comes out of Indian authors including Amitav Ghosh, Kunal Basu and in a bygone era books by Tagore, Mulk Raj Anand, RK Narayan, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee to recollect a few....in the days before TV came to India there was nothing better than to slouch and read these books especially when the monsoons came with boiled monkey peaniuts in between the chapters! I first came across Jhumpa Lahiri whilst walking along the pavements of India where a pavement bookseller persuaded me to read this book....it was a bad print probably pirate and since I had all her books from Amazon.....and each is a treasure to read. Unaccustomed Earth is an apt title as first generation Indians try and fit into a completely different Western culture whilst clinging to their own customs and values and even imposing it on their western born and educated children. Such conflicts have been depicted by late Saed Jaffery in East is East rather hilariously! Most Indian people came to the West with the feeling of returning to India but eventually become a uncomfortable in either country always longing for home elsewhere! Thank you Jhumpa,
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am so pleased I found this author, originally discovered with another title as a Kindle deal of the day. Of course, I had heard of her previously, just never got round to reading anything. Interesting characters, global challenges, good observations, and the combination of background academia, New England (okay, Seattle gets a nod too), India and London keep my interest as they are all areas with which I have some connection.
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......
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Format: Paperback
Jhumpa Lahiri, winner of the Pulitzer Prize with her book The Interpreter of Maladies, continues to have one of modern fiction's most powerful voices.
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)
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