Book Review: The Namesake

Hello fellow book worms, it’s time for another Book Review. I recently read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, so lets take a peek at it.

The Namesake

The story follows the life of a boy named Gogol. Gogol’s parents are from India, living in the United States while his dad is in grad school and then later works for the university. His name Gogol was not supposed to be his real name but as he grows up in a westernized world with trips to his parent’s hometown in India he struggles to find identity as Gogol. You can find out more here at Goodreads (current website/app obsession).

You will enjoy the prose of this book if you choose to read it. It is very well written but I had a hard time connecting with most of the characters that I didn’t get all that much out of it at first. There was little insight from his parent’s view about their emotional depth of being so far from home and then being reunited with their families and a very shallow perception of Gogol’s identity crisis basically as he battles with which name to identify with, what culture to relate to and so on. And very little character development outside of Gogol. It wasn’t until after discussing the book at wine club er book club that I began to realize that maybe we are supposed to view it from a distance because that’s how we, in general, view other cultures and their significance on certain things, like names. The more I think about the structure of the book the more I begin to grasp it. It was a bit of a frustrating read but picking it apart helps. I recommend giving it a shot. If anything then you got to read lovely writing a glimpse into another culture so maybe you learned something?

Has anyone else read The Namesake and have any commentary to add?

You can read my other book reviews on Girls in White Dresses and Little Bee here.

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