Friday, October 3, 2008

The Namesake

"Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's hard to read."

A very wise man said that to me recently and with his permission, I'm quoting him. It's the truest statement I've heard since I started law school.

I just got back from playing flag football with some of my classmates (we lost), and I'm eating gummy tarantulas and drinking water. I feel good.

I just finished The Namesake. I really enjoyed it. It's a good story, and there are interesting characters. But the writing is magical. It's so fluid and poetic, and philosophical, and yet it's so clear and easy to read.

The story is linear, and there are no plot twists. There is nothing surprising here (especially since I've already seen the movie) - it's just life. It's obviously tough to be the first generation of your family to be born in America. It's confusing to go to American schools and have parents who don't speak English at home. This is not the point of the book, though.

The book is about growing up. It just so happens that in this example, the main person doing the growing up happens to have Bengali parents. It's about letting go of selfish, childish insecurities and learning what's important - and sometimes those lessons are learned too late.

Again, I have to stress that the reason to read this book is not for the vivid characters or to learn what it might feel like to be a foreigner at school and also at home. The reason to read this book is the language. The dreamy descriptions of trips to Calcutta, the wonderful way food tastes, and the descriptions of what it could feel like to lose a parent. The language pulled me into a kind of reading trance - I savored every word. I could be reading for two hours without looking at the clock, but not because the story was compelling. I would look at the clock guiltily knowing that I should be either sleeping or studying, but I could do nothing but go back to my alternate, ethereal world of words.

I hope you'll visit this world. Read it now!


  1. i want to read this book really badly....i love jhumpa lahiri. Unaccustomed Earth was one of the best books I've read. She has a really beautiful way of writing. I recommend that book to you. Also, the book Never Let Me Go isn't that good. I was very disappointed by it.

  2. Wish I could say I had time to pleasure read these days. I'm not sure I'm TOO into 'beautifully written' literature, unless it's both beautiful and has prodigous amouts of bloodshed at the same time.

  3. Ah, don't you love how blogs fall into decay? Me either, but it seems to be a trend for it to tend to happen.