Title/Author: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Publisher/Year: Knopf, 2008
How I Got This: From my public library
Why I Read It: I've heard she was an excellent author, and I felt like I should give her a try!
Rating: 4 Stars
Quick Synopsis (from Goodreads):
These eight stories by beloved and bestselling author Jhumpa Lahiri take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand, as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life. Here they enter the worlds of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers. Rich with the signature gifts that have established Jhumpa Lahiri as one of our most essential writers, Unaccustomed Earth exquisitely renders the most intricate workings of the heart and mind.
Wow. When I finished this book of short stories, that was my foremost thought. I am not a big fan of short stories. Usually, I prefer novels so that I can follow the antics of my favorite characters for an extended period of time. But Jhumpa Lahiri has an exquisite talent for writing short stories. My favorite part about them was the fact that they were not predictable at all. It takes a skilled author to keep her readers guessing to the point that upon reaching the ending, the reader has a whole new train of thought to contemplate and oftentimes new emotions to experience. Her language was so rich and real, and so were her characters. One of my favorite things about Stephen King applies to Jhumpa Lahiri, too. She has such a handle on the way that people work and feel that her characters could very easily be someone you know. Their thoughts and emotions are so human that I felt as if I were there in the stories with them. I know I keep repeating this, but I can't express enough how real they were. Although all of the stories are poignant in a way that I haven't experienced with short stories for years, my favorites were "Only Goodness" and the three intertwining stories at the end--"Once in a Lifetime," "Year's End," and "Going Ashore." I would highly recommend this to lovers of short stories or people interested in the immigrant experience (which Jhumpa Lahiri does a splendid job detailing).