Aishwarya Rao
Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's work(s) have become an obsession of late. Her latest novel, Unaccustomed Earth is rich with thoughts and stories that cannot be quickly forgotten! A rather (brutally) honest reflection of the lives of Bengalis in The United States. The following are her words from the novel (that I am deeply fond of for apparent reasons).

Sudha had no fondness for her younger self, no sentimental affection for the way she had looked or the things she had done. She had looked of course, perfectly ordinary, her black hair worn in pigtails or braids, grown to her waist...And she had done ordinary things: played clarinet in the school band...And yet she could not forgive herself. Even as an adult, she wished only that she could go back and change things: the ungainly things she'd worn, the insecurity she'd felt, all the innocent mistakes she'd made. 137/ Unaccustomed Earth/ Lahiri, Jhumpa
9 Responses

  1. Ruchi Mann Says:

    Just where are u!!!!


  2. Ramji Says:

    I am still on Jhumpa's first book, Interpreter. I did not like the first story. It lacks the essential feature of Indian art -- resolution. It is OK for an Englishman to write A Passage to India, no real resolution. But R K Narayan's Guide represents the best of Indian writing.

    The quote you have is disturbing for obvious reasons.


  3. Sesh - I was looking at some of our pics from school and how well do you think i connected to this post ;-)


  4. Ruch - Just sent you a reply! I am here..in the lovely city of Madras!


  5. Ramji,

    I havent had the opportunity to read 'The Interpreter'. I loved what I read of her first and Pulitzer prize winning novel Namesake and decided to go for The Unaccustomed Earth. The book has been on the nytimes best seller list for a while and I think she has done a fairly decent job of her narration of Bengali lives...I will definitely pick up a copy of the Guide though!


  6. Ramya Says:

    Unaccustomed Earth strikes a discordant note from within. Whereas, there were parts in the Namesake where I felt like screaming-"get over it". Somehow I like the short stories of UA better than the Namesake.

    Been following your blog for a long while, never quite got to commenting then.

    ~Ramya
    Yet another PSBB'ian! :)


  7. Great blog Ash! I will have to check out Unaccustomed Earth. I find myself relating to that passage at a very personal level. How does Jhumpa know the interstices of the young desi (including ABCDs like me) heart so well? Strange.


  8. @Sidd - Sidd!!! So good to see you here :-)

    Isn't it odd how many or most of us relate to that paragraph...And I think the answer to your question is simple. Jhumpa ws born to Bengali immigrants in London and then moved to the United States when she was still 3. I think writing from one's experience makes it more authentic!