Asian Writers

June is dedicated to authors with ASIAN of books in this category will be posted all month....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Unaccustomed Earth

The first time I read this book, I gave it 2 stars. The second time I read it, I gave it 4 stars.

This fact further solidifies my theory that often our liking or not liking a book is affected to a great extent by our state of mind.

Jhumpa Lahiri's book has a sad undertone in all the stories that she unfolds. They are all narrated by second generation Indian immigrants in the USA and the conflict they feel, torn between two cultures, one that they have by blood, the other by birth. And this conflict in subtle ways impacts their day to day life and emotions and how they see the world around them.

Lahiri's writing is simplistic (not in Chetan Bhagat's way) yet captures all the nuances of a person - their behavior, thoughts, actions. Brevity is not a word that i guess exists in Jhunpa Lahiri's dictionary, for all her stories are inordinately long, sequences of no importance have been given too much space, she is verbose, too detail oriented to the point of it getting very frustrating - Get to the point!  a sentiment that echoed several times while I read through the stories. Only to realize that in most stories, there really wasn't any point that she was aiming towards.

Yet, she words it well, weaves a charm around the ordinary, and for that alone she earns the distinction of being a marvelous story-teller. I spaced the stories over many days so that I could relish her work and not be hurried into finishing it, just for the heck of doing so. Also, as I mentioned before, if I hadn't her stories would have morphed into a chore because of the feeling of endlessness that it created.

The best story is the one with the same name as the book, I loved it. I think that was the only story that had a positive undercurrent to it.

The last few chapters (Hema and Kaushik) is simply beautiful. the sentiments have been captured exquisitely, subtely that left me with moist eyes and feeling overwhelmed at the fickleness of fate.

I am glad that I read this book. Again.

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