Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri


Magnificent.

That is my one-word review of this book. I feel like going around telling people to grab a copy and read it – now! That is how good this book is. I can’t find the right words, so I am just going to get increasingly metaphorical and cheesy in this review! Forgive me!
Here’s why you should read this book: if all books were cloth, this book would be the richest silk. If all books were lovers, this is the one that will slow-kiss you all night long.
Do you see how smitten I am by Jhumpa Lahiri’s storytelling skills? The Lowland is the only book of hers that I have read before and while I loved it, I liked Unaccustomed Earth even more. Part 1 is a set of short stories and Part 2, titled Hema and Kaushik, is a longer story, divided into chapters. The beauty of the stories lies in the unhurried pace at which they are narrated. But by unhurried, I do not mean slow, because you effortlessly move from sentence to sentence, from paragraph to paragraph, from pages to pages. Unhurried, and yet you sort of glide comfortably through the book.

The stories are all about Indians settled in the US, about how their lives have panned out and how the second generation is more or less trying to break the mould while their Indian parents try desperately to make them stick to their Bengali roots. The stories explore human emotions and relationships. It is the story of Hema and Kaushik that I liked the most – it strangely affected me and was all I could think about for two days straight!

I must admit, I once read a quote from the book, a little over a year ago, and it struck me so much that that’s when I decided to read the book (it took me a while to get to it, I’ll say!) Ironically, of all the stories in the book, that one was the only one I did not like as much as the others. The quote is “The last two letters in her name were the first two in his – a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.”

Lovely quote isn’t it?

If you want to know what good writing is, pick this one up without delay. Reading Unaccustomed Earth is sheer joy.

Rating: 5/5

Available at: Amazon, Flipkart

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12 thoughts on “Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. I would give this one a 6 on 5. I read it years ago and have re-read it so many times till date. Each and every story in it is so magnificent. Hema and Kaushik was story telling at its best. I have never enjoyed Indian protagonists this much before.

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