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directed by the great Mira Nair, is now in release. In Bengali society, individuals apparently have two names: an official public name, and what Lahiri calls a pet name, but which anthropologists call a hypocoristic. My teachers couldn't always pronounce it properly, and I had to correct them, which was embarrassing for a shy youth. I would have preferred to have been named something decisive and less ethnic. In the first generation keeps the customs and the food and largely self-segregates; members of the second generation go to good colleges and become engineers and doctors, understand but don't write Bengali, eat pizza and Chinese takeout, and aren't all that keen about arranged marriages.
More than a book “for” or “about” Bengali-Americans, The Namesake takes up questions salient to any American, in any cultural community. The quality of the writing is passable but the completion rate is super quick.
The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies are perhaps Lahiri’s best-known works, although each of her publications, including the short-story collection Unaccustomed Earth (2008) and the novel The Lowland (2013), has led to significant sales and broad acclaim.
Lahiri is known as a writer of immigrant life, especially relating to the experiences of Bengalis living in the United States.
To the extent that The Namesake tracks the lives of Bengali-Americans living in the Northeastern United States, one might say that the novel is inspired by the facts of Lahiri’s life. Thus, there are important differences between Lahiri’s biography and the stories of the characters she portrays.
Foremost among these differences is the decision to base the novel not on one perspective, but on several.
Lahiri demonstrates how each of these characters grows, falls in love, and suffers misfortune.