Life, love, dreams…

The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri

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A wonderful life story of an Indian family who moves to USA, trying to preserve its identity and integrity while becoming a part of a total different world.

The novel is written in such a simple and true way; the text just flows as a quite river making the reader so easily to empathize to characters. In general, the book can be compared to a fragment of ordinary life which, at some level, everybody can relate to, especially for those who even once have been abroad for an extended period.

The author, who actually has Indian origins, succeeded to capture all the inner and external struggles which a person can face once being removed from one type of society and then placed into entirely opposite social environment.

How somebody deals with homesickness; how she/he remains authentic when integration requires to be as majority is; how to grow roots into a soil never tasted before? How  tangled could be the ties between generations? What is that something which would help to survive the initial impact of overwhelming emotions, would be the home even in a foreign country, would be the well which water in any life moment will sooth the first for identity, acceptance, love, warmth? Lahiri finds the answers in that old type of entity represented by family. Family is emphasized as a core from where everything starts; a reference point which gives to every person an idea of affiliation, of being somebody who has a foundation that allows to build a future upon it.

“The Namesake” portraits also a family who faces the conflict between generations with a different background, conflicts of honoring traditions in a new world. The book is looking for relevance of the necessity to preserve those old traditions in a country and society which are oblivious to them. Gogol is the main character who confronts the painful situation of being an American in India and an Indian in America. He wanders between two worlds, non of them completely accepting him. He looses the track of his identity while being torn apart by this constant run from and toward himself.

The book smoothly enters and then withdraws from the life of Ganguli family, picturing just a part of it and leaving to reader the power to envisage and develop the story.

Definitely, the personal experience of Jhumpa Lahiri as a foreigner in USA, concurred to this vivid and so beautiful story which had a major success, not to mention the fact that this novel has been screened also under the same name.


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