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Unaccustomed Earth Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the first book I have read of hers, and it simply does not disappoint. Eight stories are so intricately woven with their words and themes that each in itself is a beautiful work of art, and yet together, form the basis of a masterpiece. Former author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake (movie tie-in edition), Lahiri's carrying on her success with this new bunch. The book starts with the story named after the book, a story about a Bengali woman named Ruma and her father who comes to visit her from Pennsylvania. Cultures and expectations collide as these two virtual strangers learn to exist with each other without the familiar glue of her mother, who passed away only months before. A garden, her mixed race son, and a secret love, permeate the layers of this opening story that literally leave you breathless by stories end. Similar themes are woven through the other seven stories, some which I liked more than others, but all of them written with such scope and craft.Read more ›
UNACCUSTOMED EARTH is eight stories, divided into two sections. The first section contains five distinct short stories, beginning with the near-novella length title story that is certainly the collection's finest. In that piece, a daughter of Indian descent, Ruma, welcomes her unexpectedly widowered father with trepidation to her new home in Seattle. Ruma is married to a Caucasian named Adam, and they have a young son named Akash. In every respect the young family is a model of mixed marriage and, in Ruma's case, full cultural assimilation. Nevertheless, her father's visit promises to force Ruma to confront the inevitable fissures that appear between first and second generation immigrant families. Travel to new countries or settling into new lands, postcards of foreign places, the soil in gardening, and measurement of distances all serve in symbolic support to the story's title, but it is a simple misplaced and unmailed postcard that pulls everything together into a poignant ending.
Lahiri's other four stories in the first section have similar themes.Read more ›
Ms Lahiri's writing is mostly quite pleasant, skilled and at times a brilliantly put together prose, yet it lacks luster or humor. The characters, like the story lines are always on the verge of exploding, on the verge of something meaningful happing to them, yet they always stop short and the endings inevitably seem underwhelming.
The emotions that she tries so hard to elicit in the reader feel contrived. Having read numerous comparisons to Alice Munro, I was expecting much more, but if you are looking for an enjoyable read on the plane, I'd whole heartedly recommend it.
Two things are remarkable about these stories. One is the way she moves around from one point of view to another quite easily so that we see a situation from the standpoints of several characters. Lahiri switches smoothly in and out of various perspectives until she has rendered a little gem of a tale.
The second remarkable characteristic is the way she ends a story. It's not the classic O Henry ending where there's a twist that catches you by surprise and may not make sense entirely but what I think of now as a Lahiri ending, a devastating insight that takes your breath away. There's not an unsatisfying conclusion in any of the eight stories that make up this collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting reading. This is my third book from this author. I read this because I was very impressed with "the Lowland". Read morePublished 11 days ago by rapipan trail
Lahiri has a way with words that few have mastered. Her metaphors are fresh and her stories arc in ways that are delightful. Read morePublished 15 days ago by divya
I've enjoyed both of Jhumpa Lahiri's collections of short stories now. This book is highly recommended. You can feel the emotions of the characters through the authors words.Published 16 days ago by AmandaW
This is a collection of short stories. The second part consists of connected stories about Hema and Kaushik, as they make their ways through life. Moving writing. Read morePublished 16 days ago by NBReader
Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of complex and subtly woven short stories. Ever the master of bringing to light the elusive complexity of the family bond, Lahiri reveals the... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Elise Hadden
Lahiri has a lilting pretty prose style. Her detail and everything is wonderful, but sometimes the melancholy gets to you. Read morePublished 21 days ago by ireadfiction