Category: Contemporary Fiction, Immigration
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
I had high expectation for my first Jhumpa Lahiri pick, ‘The Namesake’.
My opinion seems to be that of a minority (compared to Goodreads ratings and reviews),
but I really didn’t enjoy this book. Starting with what I liked, there are a few passages that capture the immigrant experience very well with
a raw, stripped back honesty, the identity confusion in being associated with 2 contrasting cultures, and in balancing expectations between family and society. The language is accessible without being overbearing and the book is a quick read that you could finish in 2 sittings. I felt the book started strong and then went downhill, quarter into the story.
Besides that, every aspect of the book didn’t work for me at all. The characters felt two dimensional and completely presumptuous and couldn’t connect even remotely with their experiences. After a while, I found their messed up lives, their endless affairs, complete lack of judgement, painfully tedious and annoying to read. And it’s not that I don’t like flawed characters, but these characters seemed to have no depth, their decisions completely baseless, the story just meanders without any direction and plot completely predictable. And I literally finished this book because it was too short a read to set aside midway.
Sadly, I’d rate it as a 2 star read.