Sunday, February 03, 2008

"The Namesake", Jhumpa Lahiri

Picked up this novel in an airport bookstore last week. I had read Jhumpa Lahiri's award winning book of short stories as well as her periodic pieces in The New Yorker. In the tradition of that magazine, perhaps, her writing is stylish, at times elegant, understated and observant. Published in 2003, "The Namesake" has the sensibility of writers like John Updike or Anne Tyler, depicting everyday life in a way that flows easily. Like good literature it opens itself up to interaction with the reader's own experience as well providing insights to culture, times and places that are unique to the story itself. This tale of a nostalgia that is an ever present force brings to mind Damon Runyon's line that "I came to the conclusion long ago that life is six to five against". Appreciation of the present and the dignity of perseverance sustain. A goal, and this book is a keeper.

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