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Unaccustomed Earth Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2008
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Everything We Keep: A Novel
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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
I will be looking for additional works by this author. She made this world come alive for me in an enjoyable way.Published 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
Beautiful and precisely written stories of Asian Indians living in America. Their experiences and emotions are specific to the human condition regardless of nationality.Published 1 month ago by Capn Jim
Descriptive, intuitive and subtle. ❤️ . It would be 5 stars but I abhor reality. A 3rd dimension is created that our limited human interactions do not provide.Published 1 month ago by M Bryant
Characters anchored in Indian Bengali culture, yet completely relatable to humans of any culture. The intertwining stories of love, life, and death moved around the world and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr Adam V Ratner
Lahiri is an exceptional author who creates believable characters, realistic dialogue and sentences that approach the beauty of Faulkner. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aran Joseph Canes
This collection of short stories pull you into the emotions and adjustments made by so many and their spawn in search of a new prosperous life yet grasping onto pieces of their... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chelsi Campbell
What an unpredictable ending! I love the way the author tied the stories together. This is beautiful writing. You will enjoy this book.Published 2 months ago by Tulsi Patel
So glad to have found this author via Bookbub. I plan to read all her work now.Published 3 months ago by SHIRLEY TORRANCE