Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri After Interpreter of Maladies, this is the second Jhumpa Lahiri book that I have picked up. Yes, at the risk of raising eyebrows from one and many, I have to admit that I haven’t read The Namesake yet.

The first story in the book is ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ and I was lost in this book right from the first page and there’s no use in pretending otherwise. The common theme in all these stories is that they narrate about the NRI lives and their everyday nuisance. Be it a mother daughter bonding, or the relationship between a man and his granddaughter or the unwanted helping hand of a well-wishing friend… again it may be about love or friendship or jealousy or abandonment... The stories visit different aspects of relationships and emotions with such a unique perspective that as a reader I questioned myself about a lot of it.

Vivid characters live among these pages – characters you will recognize and characters you may even empathize with. They aren’t extraordinary in their lives by any means, but it’s the author’s projection of them that make them seem extraordinary. In any other setting, I would have perhaps called for a bit more strength from some of the characters, but in these cases they were portrayed just right. Each trial and accomplishment of these characters felt like my own trials and accomplishments – such was the power of Ms.Lahiri’s prose.

I have had a couple of people telling me that they were a bit disappointed that some of the stories turned out to be depressing and so a word of advice for those who are yet to pick this book up (if there’s anyone’s left at all) -- Please do not expect the stories to be all sunshine and rainbow. The stories are closer to reality than fiction and in real life there’s often no happily ever after.