Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Genre: Adult fiction--short stories
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: POC, South Asian Authors
FTC Disclosure: I either bought this one myself or received it as a gift, I don't remember which
Summary (from the back of the book): These eight stories by beloved and bestselling author Jhumpa Lahiri take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand, as they explore the secrets of family life. Unaccustomed Earth renders the most intricate workings of the heart and mind.
Review: I did not read Namesake, but saw and loved the movie so when I started hearing about Unaccustomed Earth from bloggers I knew I wanted to try it. Also, short stories worked well for me this week with the craziness at work. Somehow reading stories that lasted 60 pages seemed more manageable than one long novel. Is that strange?
These stories are beautifully written. They flow and draw the reader in with sites, smells, and emotions. My favorite story is the first one in the book, the one that shares the title of the book. In this story Ruma and her four-year-old son are home while Adam, Ruma's husband, is away on business. Her father comes for a visit. Will it go well? Should she invite him to move in with her and her family (her mother has recently died)? The relationship between Ruma and her dad is one that is revealed slowly during the story, with Ruma learning more about her dad through his interactions with his grandson. I loved the way her dad worked on her garden, was silently moving on with his life, and didn't want to be a burden.
All the stories in this book are thoughtful. As I read I felt that the author chose each word carefully, weighing how each one would help the story progress.