Book Review – Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri, whenever I hear this name, it reminds me of The Namesake. What a book and what a brilliant movie. When I was given an option to pick up books of my choice from a list, I saw her Unaccustomed Earth and then and there decided to pick it up. The book is already a best seller and comprises of short stories, which is not a genre that I prefer, but still I picked it  and gave it a shot and I am glad I did that.

Unaccustomed Earth is divided into two parts, in total 8 shorts stories, 5 belonging to first part and 3 involving same characters in different situations in the second part of the book. In all the stories, the characters are Bengali Indians living in America and their relationships with people around them. Each story is presented in a different light and stirs up a lot of things in your mind. The first five stories are as follows

  • Unaccustomed Earth is a story about a married woman’s uncomfortable relationship with her father after her mother passes away.
  • Hell-Heaven is about a married woman in an arranged marriage who has a crush on another man.
  • A Choice of Accommodation is about a mixed-marriage couple rediscovering romance on a getaway.
  • Only Goodness is about a woman who introduces her brother to alcohol and then guiltily realizes that she may have helped him on the road to alcoholism.
  • Nobody’s Business is about a young woman in a doomed romance that is observed by her sympathetic male American housemate.

And second part of the book has Hema and Kaushik as the central characters. It is a sort of trilogy of short stories about Hema and Kaushik and their lives. Once in a lifetime, Year’s End and Going Ashore, all three stories are interesting in their own way and push you to turn the pages faster.

I would again say, I am not really fond of short stories. I just can’t connect with them but Unaccustomed Earth’s stories are quite long and I could make out what exactly is happening. Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing has got a flair and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. If you are fond of short stories, you might want to pick this book up.

Book Source : Publisher
Publisher : Random House India
Genre : Short Stories, Fiction
ISBN : 978-8-184-00060-3

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