What readers think of The Namesake, plus links to write your own review.

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The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri X
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2004, 304 pages

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There are currently 14 reader reviews for The Namesake
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sona gill

This novel is very well writen; it is beautifully crafted. Readers who, like the narrator, are American-Born East Indians (hopefully, not confused!) will be able to realte very well, as this is a novel writen about the identity crisis faced by this category of individuals.
Hena Karim


I think Jhumpa is a very good writer, I have read both her books. I was disappointed in the namesake. I, too have a similar background to Jhumpa. My parents moved here from Pakistan in the early 1970's, I grew up in New York, went to a woman's college in Massachusetts. It depressed me to learn that Gogol did not have any morals and values that our culture instills on us. This is what makes us different. I have never met someone like Mousoumi. She seemed too bizarrre to be raised by Indian parents. Maybe, I am living in a hole someone, maybe Indians have become so infiltered into this culture that they are having affairs and hold none of our parents traditions and values. I wish I could discuss this with Jhumpa myself.
shubhamvada mathur

Unfortunately this book does not live up to the standards set by "Interpreter of maladies" but it is a decent read. The storyline is very cliched and stereotypical, of a second generation Indian-American who evolves between two cultures and then gets stuck somewhere in between. I liked the concept of parallels between Gogol finding his identity in his name and identity in his environment, sadly the climax is a let down, the book starts better than it ends. Hope to read something better from this author.
LA ( aka Loriann)

I began this book with much anticipation. It starts out with an attention getting beginning and it is well written and enganging BUT it has a flaw,
it begins to drag, at about the middle and unfortunately becomes a little bit predictable.
It isnt a bad book at all, it just aimed high, and fell short......
Just my $.02
Preety

I can certainly understand how Americans of non-Indian descent can praise The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I am a Indian American and I saw many similarities between the characters and their experiences and my own family, however I do not think that it adequately describes the experiences of most of us (Indian Americans). Gogol and Moushumi seem too disconnected from their heritage, almost to the point of alienation. This may be a true depiction of some Indian Americans who have sought to create an identity apart from their parents, however I felt almost as if the narration is overly critical and offensive towards the Indian side and too exalting towards American culture, especially high-class society. The ending was a let down and overall the book left me feeling depressed in the end.
M Mukherjee

The novel deals with only the shallower aspects of cultural conflict. Lahiri does not have enough knowledge of India to deal with more profound issues. As I read the novel, all the while I felt that Ashoke and Ashima were too passive - even when they were 'talking' they had a borrowed voice. I do not think this was intentional on the author's part, but her ideas seemed to pervade their thoughts. Ashima and Ashoke seemed to mainly yearn for Indian food; if there was any mention of subjects such as religion or literature, this was skimmed over.

I appreciate that an American audience might think they are learning a great deal about Bengali people, but Bengalis themselves can see the gaping holes in Lahiri's understanding. Bengalis like to think they are artistic and religious - these are the sorts of things that bring immigrant Bengalis together - and communities are usually formed for these reasons. The Bengalis in 'The Namesake' are one-dimensional - Bengali identity to them is only about the superficial things they have lost.

Lahiri should have written the novel from the viewpoints of Gogol and Maushumi, as these are the two characters she herself would relate to. They would visualise India in its superficial state, noting all the customs without trying to discover it in detail. Interestingly, despite my Bengali origin and UK upbringing, I cannot identify with Lahiri's work. Maybe that is because it lacks any universal thought or moral depth.

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