I read her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, because of a writer's recommendation. I saw it in a bookshop at Singapore's Changi Airport and bought it on a whim. I loved every word of it. Its detailed chronicles on the lives of Bengali immigrants in the US are remarkable. It's always a constant struggle to discover your true identity, especially if you're living in a different country. It's no wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize for that year.
Then she released her first novel, The Namesake, about a second-generation Bengali immigrant attempts and struggles to find his personal identity as a Bengali, an American and a Bengali living in America.
And now her latest book has been released. In Unaccustomed Earth, she has gone back to what she does best: short stories. This time, she chronicles the lives of Bengali immigrants after experiencing loss in their lives. What happens when the glue that holds them together leaves them forever? How will they move on together? Or will they break apart? Some characters were able to move on successfully while others had to go through so much pains before they can even think of moving on.
It's amazing how Lahiri was able to give her readers a clear picture of what her characters were doing and feeling in her stories through the sheer power of words. You'll be wishing she continued writing the short stories after it ended because you want to know what happened to her characters. It's quite amazing how she can also change from one view point to another without losing focus on the big picture.
Try to get a copy of the book, if you can. It's a good and light read. You can read when you've got nothing much to do yet at the same time, you learn snippets about their culture.
Labels: bengali, books, jhumpa lahiri, review