My Thoughts:Unaccustomed Earth-Jhumpa Lahiri

Monday, October 20, 2008 | |

I always believed that each person out here possess dual personality. One which is just hidden in side which always unaccustomed to the world. I realized it once again when I read this book by Award Winning Author Jhumpa Lahiri's 'Unaccustomed Earth’.She is one of my favorite authors and I have been following her writing since her first attempt of short stories on print,’ Interpreter of Maladies’. I loved her first novel The Namesake' both at paper version and on big screen when Mira Nair adopted it.Now she is back with collection of short stories.

Unaccustomed Earth:

Story of self-interested father and his equally selfish daughter. The way the deal with their own life after the death of their life's common factor,’his wife' and 'her mother'.Strange and unaccustomed natures of characters are well depicted in this story. The way characters opt their tomorrows unknowingly and started getting used to it without going away from their own relationship to each other is what I liked in this part.


Dreams of foregone times are what you feel after reading this story. An ordinary love triangle, meticulously spiced up by authors writing style of course,in which narrator Uma recalls her mother’s one-sided love affair with a younger man. Bengali family, Bengali food, young Bengali man and his Marriage with an American girl are major part of the story.The way young man change with time and the impressions he creates on a married woman's mind is exceptionally well written here. The bond between a mother and her child runs strong throughout the narration.

A Choice of Accommodations:

A story about the gradual decay of a marriage between a Bengali underachiever, Amit and a successful surgeon, Megan. Amit, medical school dropout and writer for a medical journal, enters the pages as an over-anxious parent, his anxiety ,his paranoid parenthood to prove his parents that he is a better parent than they were.

Megan,is a hard working surgeon, pragmatic mother of two, and a faithful wife. Amit and Megan go up to his old school using a wedding invitation as an excuse to take some time off to relax. They come together in an attempt to convince themselves that their wedding is going to survive.

Only Goodness:

Author comes up with deeply elaborated characters here. Sudha, the elder sister who feels guilty for having first introduced her little brother to alcohol.Rahul, the younger brother, who graduates to alcoholism. Defeatist parents who close their eyes to their son’s lapses, and try to maintain the fa├žade of being successful parents of successful children for as long as they can. Rahul's relationship and the way he deal with his life as his sister starts ignoring him completely is what keeps readers hope on character Rahul.

Nobody’s Business:

Author deviating from her usual style, this one is a story about a Bengali girl, from the point of view of her American housemate. Her deliberate distance from her conventional parents and finally falling into the same vicious cycle of the typical Indian housewife. A very well written and well finished story by Lahiri, where the reader sees the shortcomings of each character, and yet sympathizes with characters.

Once in a Lifetime:

The story of Kaushik Choudhuri and Hema as narrated by later one. A moody young guy’s mental situation with things happening around him.His parents and their relationship with Hema’s parents, Reason being moving back to Hema and her family. The way Kaushik's parent live their lifestyle and indulgence shown by Dr Choudhuri towards his wife, where every act of theirs was now a once in a lifetime event.

-Years End:
Kaushik's mothers death, His father Dr. Chaoudhri, no longer able to face life on his own, marries a widow nearly twenty years younger to him. Kaushik returns from university on his vacation and it was hard to adjust to a step mother and two young step sisters. Unable to digest the changes happening at home and in his father, frustrated Kaushik drives away from house. He had become stranger to his own father.

-Going Ashore:
Author talks about series of coincidences which bring Kaushik and Hema face to face at a party. Hema's falling in and falling out of relationship was finally ended up with her engagement to a conservative man of her parents’ choosing.But Kaushik and Hema embark on an impulsive and short term affair, each wanting more than the other could give.

Once again, Kaushik at wrong end finds himself drawn to Hema initially because of shared childhood memories and later because of a budding need for growing roots after a itinerant like existence.

Author tells you the stories in extreme beauty, emotional wisdom, and elusive renderings which is like watching different plants in your backyard, each with has its own growth cycle, breaking through the soil,growing up to touch sky, spreading into bloom or falling back to earth. Its pleasure reading and re-inventing yourself in each character.


Pallavi said...

Hey ! Its been a long time I visited your blog.. like the fresh new look !

ManojVasanth said...


Yeah..long time.. thanks for visiting :)

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