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Unaccustomed earth
Jhumpa Lahiri
Adult Fiction LAHIRI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The gulf that separates expatriate Bengali parents from their American-raised children-and that separates the children from India-remains Lahiri's subject for this follow-up to Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake. In this set of eight stories, the results are again stunning. In the title story, Brooklyn-to-Seattle transplant Ruma frets about a presumed obligation to bring her widower father into her home, a stressful decision taken out of her hands by his unexpected independence. The alcoholism of Rahul is described by his elder sister, Sudha; her disappointment and bewilderment pack a particularly powerful punch. And in the loosely linked trio of stories closing the collection, the lives of Hema and Kaushik intersect over the years, first in 1974 when she is six and he is nine; then a few years later when, at 13, she swoons at the now-handsome 16-year-old teen's reappearance; and again in Italy, when she is a 37-year-old academic about to enter an arranged marriage, and he is a 40-year-old photojournalist. An inchoate grief for mothers lost at different stages of life enters many tales and, as the book progresses, takes on enormous resonance. Lahiri's stories of exile, identity, disappointment and maturation evince a spare and subtle mastery that has few contemporary equals. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

All eight of the longish stories in Lahiri's third book deal with various male/female relationships--father/daughter, husband/wife, brother/sister, roommates, step-family, childhood friends--in the context of the immigrant experience. Specifically, Lahiri examines the gulf between first- and second-generation Bengali immigrants--the expectations, often unmet, about, for instance, dress, achievement, and marriage. Lahiri's strengths are her characterizations and knack for universalizing the particular. The last three stories feature characters who meet as children, when Hema's parents share their house with Kaushik's family. Kaushik finds himself sharing more than just his house when, after his mother's death (a recurring theme), his father remarries a woman with two younger daughters. Sarita Choudhury and Ajay Naidu alternate reading the female and male voices, with accents waxing and waning as the story demands. Lahiri won a Pulitzer Prize for her 1999 collection The Namesake. Unaccustomed Earth earned a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review and debuted at the top of the best sellers list, making it a no-brainer for all library collections.--John Hiett, Iowa City P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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