The Namesake: 12/17/12
The Namesake is Jhumpa Lahiri's second novel and was adapted for film in 2006. It's about the Ganguli family, newly wed immigrants from India. They settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts and begin the slow, painful process of adjusting to their new home with the birth of their son, Gogol.
It doesn't take thousands of miles to isolate a family. Even a hundred or so miles can be enough to cut off children from their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. Toss in new customs, new laws and things become even more frustrating and depressing.
Most of the book, though, is about Gogol Ganguli coming to terms with his name and eventually learning about his namesake. His parents, hoping for enough time to hear from India to help with naming him rang true to me.
Although the plot felt real, the narration has a detachment to it that made it hard to get into any of the characters' heads. There was no major emotional investment by Gogol or anyone else. Things happen. Time passes. The book eventually ends.
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