Reviews

द नेमसेक, by Jhumpa Lahiri

asquared92's review against another edition

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3.0

I found this book very thought provoking and intriguing. The author weaved an incredible story about what it meant and how it felt to be both a first generation American and an immigrant in a country and culture vastly different from the one in which they were raised. Jhumpa introduced compelling and moving characters who grappled with their identity for much of the book. I loved how the author portrayed each perspective so authentically and understandably. While my family is of Italian descent, I can imagine some of the feelings and reactions to America mirrored that of Gogol and his families. I connected with the characters and the story on a personal level because of that. Gogol’s journey to find himself and the way in which that journey and those emotions stirred him affected his relationships in an incredibly flawed and human way. The ending did feel a bit abrupt. I didn’t like how Gogol’s story felt unfinished.

shivi_m's review against another edition

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emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.75

emma_monicaa's review against another edition

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emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

bookyenta's review against another edition

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One of my favorite books of all time.

rebeccabateman's review against another edition

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4.0

The Namesake is beautifully and quietly written. Ms. Lahiri weaves motifs such as independence, freedom, train rides, books and food as well as the running theme of the novel ("What's in a name?") with sophistication and subtlety.

Her characters are full of depth and life and, though their thoughtless choices left me frustrated, they are real. This book has a [b:Crossing to Safety|9820|Crossing to Safety|Wallace Stegner|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166065576s/9820.jpg|1488871] vibe. It stays with you.

starcrunch's review against another edition

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4.0

I really liked this story. I read "Interpreter of Maladies" and I can barely remember any of those stories (although I enjoyed them). I feel like Gogol's story will stay with me longer.

aaalias's review against another edition

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slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

1.0

Subtle casteism was very present, and the characters were frequently upheld for their light skin and better means. There seemed to be no discernible plot.

infinitejoe's review against another edition

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5.0

4.5

I put off reading this one for a while because I thought going to the same well too many times (Indian immigrants making a new life in a strange land - America) would get tiring.

I'm not sure if the time off helped, or if I would have liked the book just the same had I read it on the heels of Interpereter of Maladies, The Lowland, and Unaccustomed Earth, but I enjoyed the book a lot. My guess, however, is that it is Jhumpa's writing itself, and the vulnerable characters she creates, that would make me like anything she publishes.

Complex characters, a simple story, and captivating writing. Turns out that's all you need.

etches's review against another edition

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4.0

I found myself wondering what happened *between* the chapters of this book. It's a lovely story, couldn't put it down, didn't want it to end.

thebongbaba's review against another edition

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3.0

'The Namesake' steers through themes of immigration, alienation, identity and filial relationships. Lahiri is deft at creating cultural crisis through her descriptions of mundane aspects of life - food, clothes and social interactions. Alienation and loss of identity are manifested in many forms. Aashima constantly reminisces her life in Kolkata, as tries to adapt to the American lifestyle; Ashok deals with his own dilemma, and his life thematically connected to the works of Nikolai Gogal; Gogol deals with his very name, his literal identity; and juggles between the "outwardly" style of American life and traditional one of India. However, the issue I found was the disjointed nature of storytelling. Lahiri creates a strong bond between the characters and the reader, but the ties are cut through the sudden jump in timelines. Jump in timelines is a quite common narrative style, but in 'The Namesake', the jump breaks the illusion of character growth. One of the glaring examples of this is Ashoke's death. The author writes intricately how Gogol reacts to his father's death. His demise is unanticipated, and Lahiri brilliantly writes it in the physical form of Gogol's reaction to it. However, the story moves on and there is little mention of how death has affected their lives.