I am not generally a short story reader, but a book group I’m in chose to read Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, and I am very glad they did. I picked the book up and read it straight through in just a couple of days. The stories are lengthy — only eight in the book, and three of them create an ongoing saga that spans over thirty years. The characters are all Bengali immigrants, or children of Bengali immigrants, to the United States. The tension of cultural identify and loyalty intensifies the typical tensions of families. A daughter frets that she must ask her aging father to come and live with her in her new home, a sister trying to give her brother the “normal” childhood she feels she never had must instead deal with his alcoholism, a husband’s plans for a romantic weekend go awry. The writing is superb, the storytelling exceptional. Don’t wait until someone makes you read this book!
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by Susan on July 15th, 2009