Sanbornton Public Library’s book group will next meet at 7pm on Wednesday, January 8th (2014!), as the customary six weeks falls on Christmas. The next selection will be The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.
The Namesake was Lahiri’s first novel, published after her debut short story collection, The Interpreter of Maladies, which received the Pulitzer Prize – one of only a few debut pieces AND one of only a few story collections to ever win the prestigious award. The Interpreter of Maladies also won The New Yorker Debut of the Year award and the PEN/Hemingway Award, and established Lahiri’s grace, acuity and compassion in detailing lives transported from India to America – a theme that is expanded upon in her novel.
In The Namesake, Lahiri explores the motifs of the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. Here again Lahiri displays her deft touch for the perfect detail — the fleeting moment, the turn of phrase — that opens whole worlds of emotion.
From the Amazon summary: The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists America and pines for family. When their son is born, the task of a name betrays the results of bringing old ways to the new world. Named for a Russian writer by in memory of a catastrophe years before, Gogol Ganguli knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd name. Lahiri brings empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With penetrating insight, she reveals not only the defining power of the names and expectations bestowed upon us by our parents, but also the means by which we slowly, sometimes painfully, come to define ourselves.
The library will begin ordering multiple copies of the book. If you would like a particular format, such as large print or an audio-book, feel free to let us know. No prior experience with the book group is necessary, and newcomers are always welcome. All that is needed is the desire to read a thought-provoking book and share in an enriching discussion with fellow readers!