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16-Jul-2017 14:28

Like other groups, the Bengalis bring their own flavor to the American gallimaufry.

The central character in was supposed to be called Nikhil, but through a bureaucratic error, his pet name, Gogol, became his school name.

Lahiri demonstrates how each of these characters grows, falls in love, and suffers misfortune.

She depicts them both as members of families and communities and as individuals, with needs and wants that are particular to them.

More than a book “for” or “about” Bengali-Americans, The Namesake takes up questions salient to any American, in any cultural community. The quality of the writing is passable but the completion rate is super quick.

To the extent that The Namesake tracks the lives of Bengali-Americans living in the Northeastern United States, one might say that the novel is inspired by the facts of Lahiri’s life. Thus, there are important differences between Lahiri’s biography and the stories of the characters she portrays.

Foremost among these differences is the decision to base the novel not on one perspective, but on several.

Lahiri, throughout The Namesake, makes reference to the cultural practices not only of Bengalis and Americans, but of Britons and Europeans as well.

The Namesake is a novel of identities—and of the way people shape and change those identities over time.

More than a book “for” or “about” Bengali-Americans, The Namesake takes up questions salient to any American, in any cultural community. The quality of the writing is passable but the completion rate is super quick.

To the extent that The Namesake tracks the lives of Bengali-Americans living in the Northeastern United States, one might say that the novel is inspired by the facts of Lahiri’s life. Thus, there are important differences between Lahiri’s biography and the stories of the characters she portrays.

Foremost among these differences is the decision to base the novel not on one perspective, but on several.

Lahiri, throughout The Namesake, makes reference to the cultural practices not only of Bengalis and Americans, but of Britons and Europeans as well.

The Namesake is a novel of identities—and of the way people shape and change those identities over time.

But it would be limiting to state that this is Lahiri’s sole preoccupation.