The Namesake

By Jhumpa Lahiri,

Book cover of The Namesake

Book description

'The Namesake' is the story of a boy brought up Indian in America.

'When her grandmother learned of Ashima's pregnancy, she was particularly thrilled at the prospect of naming the family's first sahib. And so Ashima and Ashoke have agreed to put off the decision of what to name the…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Namesake as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I loved this book because it wrestles with accepting and loving your family, your culture, and, ultimately, yourself. It’s the story of Gogol Ganguli and two generations of the Ganguli family. I could relate to Gogol’s struggles as someone who constantly feels in-between.

Throughout the book, Gogol straddles names, families, and cultures in his journey to find himself. As a child of immigrants myself, I was moved by how Gogol’s parents became more “American” while also deeply missing their family and home country on the other side of the world. Full of intimate character interiority, this book brims with insightful…

This beautifully written story centers around an immigrant family, but TCKs will find they have a lot in common with Gogol, an Indian American with a Russian name, who tries to define his cultural identity in opposition to his parents'. This book beautifully expressed something important for me, and discussing the movie with my brother and my parents provided a rich opportunity to process our own experiences.

From Christine's list on the third-culture kid experience.

The Asian immigrant experience in America has been the topic of many great recent novels. Lahiri examines two generations of an academically gifted family who make both an intellectual and emotional journey to a new land. As a geophysics professor, I taught many students like those in Lahiri’s novel. As a geophysics graduate student, I went to school and became friends with foreign students who eventually settled in the United States. This novel offers me a window into the interior lives of both my former students and current friends.

From Stuart's list on the immigrant experience.

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