Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri, a review--and the film

Okay, I almost never go to the movies any more--and I live in Hollywood--it's expected of me! But with three kids, who has the time? And with the cost of the babysitter, the tickets, and the popcorn, who has the cash?

But I might make the effort and see director Mira Nair's newest, an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's first novel The Namesake: A Novel.

The Namesake is a drama about an Indian family in America, focusing on the son, Gogol Ganguli, who is saddled with the neither Indian nor American name of Gogol, after the writer. Lahiri tells the tale of Gogol's growing up straddling American and Bengali culture with wit and sensitivity. The Namesake is a satisfying follow-up after Lahiri's Pulitzer-prize-winning book of stories, Interpreter of Maladies.

And the earlier work of film director Mira Nair, who has tackled The Namesake, is worth checking out on Netflix. I couldn't bring myself to see her version of Thackeray's Vanity Fair (2004), which starred Reese Witherspoon, but I have always loved her earlier movie Mississippi Masala (1991), a romance about the adventures of an Indian family transplanted to the American south, with a hunky, young Denzel Washington in the lead. Also great are her films Salaam Bombay (1988), and Monsoon Wedding (2001).


Trish said...

I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while, but somehow I always come away from the bookstore with something else instead. Hmmm...?

Marlene Detierro said...

The movie's arc is also well done. It ends just as it begins, with the focus on understanding family and what it means to move on when the time comes, but to never forget where you've come from.

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You won't believe this Belden Automation Cable said...

I have read several of Ms. Lahiri's works and I love them, also. There's nothing I could, nor would presume to think unworthy in this captivating novel. I am even more of a fan of her books after having read this one. I encourage all to read it, as well. I am beyond pleased with this wonderful addition to my library.

Zia Joaquin said...

This novel places the reader in the lives of the characters. When Ms. Lahiri describes a person, you know her or him. When she writes about a place or a situation, you have been there or experienced it. Her work is interesting and soothing. Jhumpa Lahiri is a wonderful writer.

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