‘The Namesake’, is a triumph work by famed author Jhumpa Lahiri.

Namesake- “one who shares the name of another person”. A Bengali woman Ashima settles in Massachusetts with her husband and delivers a baby boy in abroad, away from their families back in kolkata. Ashima who was struggling to adjust in the new culture, atmosphere and language awaits a letter from her grandmother concerning her child’s name. But the letter never comes. Ashoke who has survived a fatal train derailment in the past while reading a short story by Nikolai Gogol, eventually, names his child as Gogol, by the Russian author. Gogol grows up to feel more and more embarrassed by the peculiarity of his name and yearns to change it. Amid a strong cultural Bengali background and a modern American outlook, Gogol is constantly in search for his real identity.

They say, “what’s in a name”. Albeit, your whole personality is carried by a name. Gogol changes the name by which he had been called all his school and College life, his childhood to adolescence, by which everyone called him, friends, family or acquaintances. But wherever he went, whatever he did to get rid of his name and the discomfort it brought to him wasn’t enough. Nikhil took place only as a temporary jacket to cover the shame of Gogol. Gogol understands it’s possible to retreat from the world but infeasible to hide away from himself. At the same time this novel deals with the life of immigrants in America always trying and adjusting to fit in. Furthermore, it’s about familial bonds, multi faceted meaning of love, depth of relationships, emotional turmoils, conflicting cultures, ideological differences between generations, identity crisis, self analysis and acceptance.

Lahiri’s narration is as pretty as a picture, one of the finest in my accordance. Characters are carved beautifully to seem genuine and lifelike. Actually, everything about this book is so real that you create pictures of the characters in your head, given the minute, particularized description of everything and everyone. Her language is engrossing, detailed and vivid. Reading this book is like watching an art film that induces powerful feelings in your heart. The strangely sweet melancholy that lingers throughout the novel passes by and by leaving behind room for hope.

Surbhi Islam

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