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Unaccustomed Earth [Anglais] [Broché]

Jhumpa Lahiri
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

1 juin 2009
Knopf Canada is proud to welcome this bestselling, Pulitzer Prize—winning author with eight dazzling stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life.

In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father who carefully tends her garden–where she later unearths evidence of a love affair he is keeping to himself. In “A Choice of Accommodations,” a couple’s romantic getaway weekend takes a dark turn at a party that lasts deep into the night. In “Only Goodness,” a woman eager to give her younger brother the perfect childhood she never had is overwhelmed by guilt, anguish and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family. And in “Hema and Kaushik,” a trio of linked stories–a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love and fate–we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one fateful winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.

Unaccustomed Earth is rich with the author’s signature gifts: exquisite prose, emotional wisdom and subtle renderings of the most intricate workings of the heart and mind. It is the work of a writer at the peak of her powers.


From the Hardcover edition.
--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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EXCERPT
Unaccustomed Earth

After her mother’s death, Ruma’s father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he’d never seen. In the past year he had visited France, Holland, and most recently Italy. They were package tours, traveling in the company of strangers, riding by bus through the countryside, each meal and museum and hotel prearranged. He was gone for two, three, sometimes four weeks at a time. When he was away Ruma did not hear from him. Each time, she kept the printout of his flight information behind a magnet on the door of the refrigerator, and on the days he was scheduled to fly she watched the news, to make sure there hadn’t been a plane crash anywhere in the world.

Occasionally a postcard would arrive in Seattle, where Ruma and Adam and their son Akash lived. The postcards showed the facades of churches, stone fountains, crowded piazzas, terra-cotta rooftops mellowed by late afternoon sun. Nearly fifteen years had passed since Ruma’s only European adventure, a month-long EuroRail holiday she’d taken with two girlfriends after college, with money saved up from her salary as a para- legal. She’d slept in shabby pensions, practicing a frugality that was foreign to her at this stage of her life, buying nothing but variations of the same postcards her father sent now. Her father wrote succinct, impersonal accounts of the things he had seen and done: “Yesterday the Uffizi Gallery. Today a walk to the other side of the Arno. A trip to Siena scheduled tomorrow.” Occasionally there was a sentence about the weather. But there was never a sense of her father’s presence in those places. Ruma was reminded of the telegrams her parents used to send to their relatives long ago, after visiting Calcutta and safely arriving back in Pennsylvania.

The postcards were the first pieces of mail Ruma had received from her father. In her thirty-eight years he’d never had any reason to write to her. It was a one-sided correspondence; his trips were brief enough so that there was no time for Ruma to write back, and besides, he was not in a position to receive mail on his end. Her father’s penmanship was small, precise, slightly feminine; her mother’s had been a jumble of capital and lowercase, as though she’d learned to make only one version of each letter. The cards were addressed to Ruma; her father never included Adam’s name, or mentioned Akash. It was only in his closing that he acknowledged any personal connection between them. “Be happy, love Baba,” he signed them, as if the attainment of happiness were as simple as that.

In August her father would be going away again, to Prague. But first he was coming to spend a week with Ruma and see the house she and Adam had bought on the Eastside of Seattle. They’d moved from Brooklyn in the spring, for Adam’s job. It was her father who suggested the visit, calling Ruma as she was making dinner in her new kitchen, surprising her. After her mother’s death it was Ruma who assumed the duty of speaking to her father every evening, asking how his day had gone. The calls were less frequent now, normally once a week on Sunday afternoons. “You’re always welcome here, Baba,” she’d told her father on the phone. “You know you don’t have to ask.” Her mother would not have asked. “We’re coming to see you in July,” she would have informed Ruma, the plane tickets already in hand. There had been a time in her life when such presumptuousness would have angered Ruma. She missed it now.

Adam would be away that week, on another business trip. He worked for a hedge fund and since the move had yet to spend two consecutive weeks at home. Tagging along with him wasn’t an option. He never went anywhere interesting—usually towns in the Northwest or Canada where there was nothing special for her and Akash to do. In a few months, Adam assured her, the trips would diminish. He hated stranding Ruma with Akash so often, he said, especially now that she was pregnant again. He encouraged her to hire a babysitter, even a live-in if that would be helpful. But Ruma knew no one in Seattle, and the prospect of finding someone to care for her child in a strange place seemed more daunting than looking after him on her own. It was just a matter of getting through the summer—in September, Akash would start at a preschool. Besides, Ruma wasn’t working and couldn’t justify paying for something she now had the freedom to do.

In New York, after Akash was born, she’d negotiated a part-time schedule at her law firm, spending Thursdays and Fridays at home in Park Slope, and this had seemed like the perfect balance. The firm had been tolerant at first, but it had not been so easy, dealing with her mother’s death just as an important case was about to go to trial. She had died on the operating table, of heart failure; anesthesia for routine gallstone surgery had triggered anaphylactic shock.

After the two weeks Ruma received for bereavement, she couldn’t face going back. Overseeing her clients’ futures, preparing their wills and refinancing their mortgages, felt ridiculous to her, and all she wanted was to stay home with Akash, not just Thursdays and Fridays but every day. And then, miraculously, Adam’s new job came through, with a salary generous enough for her to give notice. It was the house that was her work now: leafing through the piles of catalogues that came in the mail, marking them with Post-its, ordering sheets covered with dragons for Akash’s room.

“Perfect,” Adam said, when Ruma told him about her father’s visit. “He’ll be able to help you out while I’m gone.” But Ruma disagreed. It was her mother who would have been the helpful one, taking over the kitchen, singing songs to Akash and teaching him Bengali nursery rhymes, throwing loads of laundry into the machine. Ruma had never spent a week alone with her father. When her parents visited her in Brooklyn, after Akash was born, her father claimed an armchair in the living room, quietly combing through the Times, occasionally tucking a finger under the baby’s chin but behaving as if he were waiting for the time to pass.

Her father lived alone now, made his own meals. She could not picture his surroundings when they spoke on the phone. He’d moved into a one-bedroom condominium in a part of Pennsylvania Ruma did not know well. He had pared down his possessions and sold the house where Ruma and her younger brother Romi had spent their childhood, informing them only after he and the buyer went into contract. It hadn’t made a difference to Romi, who’d been living in New Zealand for the past two years, working on the crew of a German documentary filmmaker. Ruma knew that the house, with the rooms her mother had decorated and the bed in which she liked to sit up doing crossword puzzles and the stove on which she’d cooked, was too big for her father now. Still, the news had been shocking, wiping out her mother’s presence just as the surgeon had.

She knew her father did not need taking care of, and yet this very fact caused her to feel guilty; in India, there would have been no question of his not moving in with her. Her father had never mentioned the possibility, and after her mother’s death it hadn’t been feasible; their old apartment was too small. But in Seattle there were rooms to spare, rooms that stood empty and without purpose.

Ruma feared that her father would become a responsibility, an added demand, continuously present in a way she was no longer used to. It would mean an end to the family she’d created on her own: herself and Adam and Akash, and the second child that would come in January, conceived just before the move. She couldn’t imagine tending to her father as her mother had, serving the meals her mother used to prepare. Still, not offering him a place in her home made her feel worse. It was a dilemma Adam didn’t understand. Whenever she brought up the issue, he pointed out the obvious, that she already had a small child to care for, another on the way. He reminded her that her father was in good health for his age, content where he was. But he didn’t object to the idea of her father living with them. His willingness was meant kindly, generously, an example of why she loved Adam, and yet it worried her. Did it not make a difference to him? She knew he was trying to help, but at the same time she sensed that his patience was wearing thin. By allowing her to leave her job, splurging on a beautiful house, agreeing to having a second baby, Adam was doing everything in his power to make Ruma happy. But nothing was making her happy; recently, in the course of conversation, he’d pointed that out, too.


How freeing it was, these days, to travel alone, with only a single suitcase to check. He had never visited the Pacific Northwest, never appreciated the staggering breadth of his adopted land. He had flown across America only once before, the time his wife booked tickets to Calcutta on Royal Thai Airlines, via Los Angeles, rather than traveling east as they normally did. That journey was endless, four seats, he still remembered, among the smokers at the very back of the plane. None of them had the energy to visit any sights in Bangkok during their layover, sleeping instead in the hotel provided by the airline. His wife, who had been most excited to see the Floating Market, slept even through dinner, for he remembered a meal in the hotel with only Romi and Ruma, in a solarium overlooking a garden, tasting the spiciest food he’d ever had in his life as mosquitoes swarmed angrily behind his children’s faces. No matter how they went, those trips to India were always epic, and he still recalled the anxiety they provoked in him, having to pack so much luggag... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

“The kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person you see and say, ‘Read this!’” – Amy Tan

“Wonderfully distinctive . . . a writer of uncommon poise.” – The New York Times

“Lahiri’s enormous gifts as a storyteller are on full display in this collection: the gorgeous, effortless prose; the characters haunted by regret, isolation, loss, and tragedies big and small; and most of all, a quiet, emerging sense of humanity.” – Khaled Hosseini, author of A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner

"Jhumpa Lahiri's new collection of stories overflows with insights about the secrets we can hide. While these stories examine the crossing and commingling of Indian and Western cultures, the feelings of pride, love, and loneliness ring true in any society. They are jewels." – Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

“Lahiri extends her mastery of the short-story in a collection that has a novel’s thematic cohesion, narrative momentum and depth of character. . . . Some of her most compelling fiction to date. An eye for detail, ear for dialogue and command of family dynamics distinguish this uncommonly rich collection.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Stunning . . . The gulf that separates expatriate Bengali parents from their American–raised children — and that separates the children from India — remains Lahiri’s subject for this follow-up to Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake. . . . Lahiri’s stories of exile, identity, disappointment and maturation evince a spare and subtle mastery that has few contemporary equals.” – Publishers Weekly

“Pulitzer Prize—winning Lahiri returns with her highly anticipated second collection exploring the inevitable tension brought on by family life. . . . [Lahiri’s] ability to flesh out completely even minor characters in every story . . . is what will keep readers invested in the work until its heartbreaking conclusion.” – Library Journal

“The tight arc of a story is perfect for Lahiri’s keen sense of life’s abrupt and powerful changes, and her avid eye for telling details. This collection’s five powerful stories and haunting triptych of tales about the fates of two Bengali families in America map the perplexing hidden forces that pull families asunder and undermine marriages. . . . Lahiri’s emotionally and culturally astute short stories (ideal for people with limited time for pleasure reading and a hunger for serious literature) are surprising, aesthetically marvelous, and shaped by a sure and provocative sense of inevitability.” – Booklist

“Ferociously good . . . acutely observed . . . In exquisitely attuned prose, Lahiri notes the clash between generations . . . She is emotionally precise about her characters and the way the world appears to them . . . These are unforgettable people, their stories unforgettably well told.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“A great book . . . to move you. Whether American or Bengali by birth, Lahiri’s protagonists valiantly walk a tightrope between personal choice and family expectation. Faltering or triumphant, each tugs at the heart.” – Good Housekeeping

“[Lahiri] explores with her modulated prose a full range of relationships among her subjects. So thoroughly and judiciously does she use detail that she easily presents entire lives with each story. These are tales of careful observation and adjustment.” – The Atlantic

“Dazzling . . . [Lahiri’s] comparisons with literary masters such as Alice Munro are well-earned. In these eight exquisitely detailed stories, Lahiri is less interested in painful family conflicts than in the private moments of sadness that come in their aftermath.” – More

“Lahiri’s finely drawn prose makes [Unaccustomed Earth] feel less like reading and more like peering into the most raw, intimate moments of people’s lives.” – Marie Claire

“Lahiri delves into the souls of indelible characters struggling with displacement, guilt, and fear as they try to find a balance between the solace and suffocation of tradition and the terror and excitement of the future into which they’re being thrust. . . . [Unaccustomed Earth] further establishes her as an important American writer.” – Bookforum

“Brilliant . . . Vividly imagined . . . In Unaccustomed Earth, Lahiri’s preternaturally mature voice has grown even more confident. . . . Her sharp and sympathetic observations are deeply considered, using memory, dialogue, and visual detail to capture family dynamics . . . Masterful.” – India Currents
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“Once you’ve started, you have to struggle not to set aside every other obligation and distraction until you’ve reached the end. . . . Lahiri’s prose is effortlessly articulate. Her stories move from one carefully wrought scene to another, often turning on a motif that appears earlier in the story.” – National Post

“[T]he emotional impact Lahiri achieves is not only underpinned by her mastery of detail, it’s inseparable from it. . . . [W]e are left in rapt anticipation of just where this great writer might go next.” – The Gazette

“A strain of the mythic that totally engages . . . Lahiri is note-perfect.” – Toronto Star


From the Hardcover edition. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 352 pages
  • Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (1 juin 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 074759659X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747596592
  • Dimensions du produit: 2,1 x 12,9 x 19,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 45.919 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant! Moving! 20 septembre 2010
Par Linihila TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
At first I thought Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories would be like those in "Arranged Marriage" (written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni); both authors being from Bengali families, and thus mostly writing about Bengali families emigrated in the US. But it was not the case. There are common points, and particularly the bitterness and anxiety/sadness most characters feel, but "Arranged Marriage" is only good whereas "Unaccustomed Earth" is brilliant!! Short stories never moved me so much before. And there is nothing Bengali about me or my family! I guess people from every country can easily identify with the characters and feel concerned / upset by what is happening to them. Contrary to "Arranged Marriage" there are more US characters and mixed couples. Hence, it might be easier for Western readers to relate to the situations. Jhumpa Lahiri succeeds in making readers feel close to her characters in just a few pages by using simple sentences and detailed (but not boring!) descriptions. She found the ideal length for each story: they are long enough for us to perfectly understand people and situations, and at the same time they are short enough to be considered as proper short stories. Everybody should read them!
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Délicieux! 1 janvier 2013
Par Ben
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Une série de nouvelles en forme de tranches de vie qui mettent en scène avec délicatesse et sentiment, mais sans mièvrerie, quelques familles indiennes du Bengale nouvellement arrivées aux Etats-Unis. Les tensions créées par les circonstances ou les relations entre les personnages trouvent toujours une résolution à la fin de chaque histoire, parfois de manière inattendue. Des textes forts et subtils à la fois, comme la cuisine indienne...
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 breathless reading 13 mars 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I am not a fan of short stories but I thoroughly enjoyed these. The style is perfect and you really get inside the characters ' lives.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ten stars for the first story alone! 14 décembre 2013
Par Natasha
Format:Poche
I highly recommend this collection of short stories even though they are not all created equally. This first story, about a young woman trying to find her footing after the death of her mother, is perfection. Worth the price alone.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  344 commentaires
255 internautes sur 288 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Simple. Sparse. Perfection 12 avril 2008
Par James Hiller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, "Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn out soil. My children ... shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth." This quote, which was a revelation to me, so much so that I redid my work e-mail "inspiration quote" signature to put it it, is the inspiration of Jhumpa Lahiri's new collection of short stories called "Unaccustomed Earth".

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.

Reading a story written by Lahiri is like sitting in a well ordered, immaculate living room, with a rich, fragrant onion sitting in front of you. As you delve into the story, you peel back the layers of the onion, and the exactitude and preciseness of her stories marvel, and the scent of the onion, not bitter or harsh, but rich and alluring, fill that perfect room, so much so that by the end, all of yours senses are heightened, and you may possibly have tears in your eyes.

It's as if Lahiri wrote her stories, and took a literary comb and brushed out all of the extra verbs, nouns, and adjectives (most which can clutter today's fiction), leaving only the essential words behind, creating an exquisite picture. People have compared Lahiri's writing to Hemingway. I sense more of Michael Cunningham, who also strives for leximic precision. Both Cunningham and Lahiri's writing is character centered, creates worlds of inner conflict, and flows like a beautiful river.

After just reading the first story, I told five people of this marvelous new book, and highly recommend you to that if you want to marvel in the worlds created by Lahiri, this is the perfect place to start.
85 internautes sur 96 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Accustomed to Success - A Fine Collection of Eight Short Stories 3 avril 2008
Par Steve Koss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
With UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, Jhumpa Lahiri can lay claim with good reason to being the finest short story writer in America today. This book, her second collection of short stories with the full-length novel THE NAMESAKE sandwiched between, is a masterful collection of affecting tales about family life and individual self-discovery. While Lahiri's focus is relentlessly drawn toward what might be termed the "Bengali-American experience," her stories express rich underlying elements of universality, allowing them to transcend the mere "new American immigrant" genre. She shows yet again that she is a marvelous craftswoman of the short story art form and its language (words, imagery, and symbolism).

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. In "Hell-Heaven," a young woman recalls her childhood when a fellow Bengali became a family friend and part of her (and, surprisingly, her mother's) life. In "A Choice of Accommodation," (another title laden with multiple meanings), a middle-aged, mixed marriage couple (Amit and Megan) rediscover themselves and a bit of their previously unstated history during a friend's wedding held at Amit's old boarding school. In "Only Goodness," a model Bengali daughter named Sudha, married and a new mother, tries to cope with her younger brother Rahul's alcoholic failings and her likely role in making him what he has become. Of all the characters in this book, it is Rahul who comes across most powerfully.

The second part of the book contains three intertwined stories involving two characters, one female and one male, at different stages of their lives. Hema and Kaushik are first thrown together by circumstances of the latter's parents having relocated to India and then returned to the Boston area. Hema's family agrees to put Kaushik's family up until they can find a new house of their own, turning Hema's life upside down and even tossing her from her bedroom (now occupied by the three-year-older Kaushik) and onto a cot in her parents room. Tragedy looms behind these events, but it is one which Hema's family is not aware. The first story is told from Hema's viewpoint, the second about three years later from Kaushik's, and the third about twenty years later from both viewpoints. As with her opening story "Unaccustomed Earth," Lahiri finds an ending that, while somewhat contrived, is nonetheless touching.

It is only in this final piece, "Going Ashore" (again a title with multiple meanings), that Lahiri brings her narratives into the present day. The earlier stories appear to take place mostly in about the 1980's, with references to VCR's and record players and telephones with long extension cords. They seem oddly removed from everyday reality, as if they represented a sort of wistful backward stare at a different era, to a time when America was still a shining light on a hill and India was a place to escape before the Internet age and globalization changed some of the balance in their relationship. By the time of "Going Ashore," both Hema and Kaushik are adrift in global waters, world citizens who travel freely, lack strong personal attachments, and exist without the roots of family and place and culture that those of the prior generation clearly demonstrated in the earlier stories. Even their careers are disassociative: Hema's as a researcher of the ancient Etruscan civilization, Kaushik's as a photographer of world events who stands forever outside the very events whose images he captures.

If I had one criticism of UNACCUSTOMED EARTH, it would be Lahiri's seemingly incessant focus on one group of Bengalis, the academically-striving, economically prosperous, high achievers. Story after story expresses variations on the same themes from among the same types of people. Lahiri offers repeated mixed marriages (Ruma and Adam, Pranab and Deborah, Amit and Megan, Sudha and Roger Featherstone, Rahul and Elena). Nearly everyone is a PhD - perhaps that is what makes Rahul and Kaushik seem so refreshingly real - and everyone is an academic overachiever whose alma maters would make even US News & World Report blush - Princeton, MIT, Radcliffe, Harvard Medical School, Columbia, U Penn, London School of Economics, Cornell, NYU, Bryn Mawr, Tufts, Colgate, Swarthmore. One character has actually been slumming as a physics professor at Michigan State, but thankfully he's finally on his way to the more acceptable MIT. There must be other Bengalis in America worth writing about, and there must be other stories that do not lead one to paraphrase Tolstoy with, "Every happy Bengali family is alike, and every unhappy Bengali family is also unhappy in the same way."

Here's hoping that Ms. Lahiri can apply her brilliant writing skills (...clusters of swallows like giant thumbprints swiping the sky...") to a broader canvas in future works; the results promise to be stunning. In the meantime, be pleased as a reader to sit quietly and relish a master at work in these eight compelling and emotionally satisfying short stories. They are well worth the time.
206 internautes sur 242 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Pleasant, but not brilliant prose 14 avril 2008
Par Monika - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I don't want to criticize Jhumpa for always choosing the same milieu and the same class of Ivy League privileged Bengali families in the US. It's all well known and she doesn't try to deny it. But what seems most disappointing about her writing is that we have the impression she is constantly recycling the same characters, who although sometimes flawed, always seem somewhat too well planned out and not real enough. They want to live beyond the constraints of their cultural up-bringing, but they never really expand their experience beyond occasionally marrying an American. The short story that stood out the most for me was "Nobody's business" where the author finally strays from the usual plot; that of a mixed marriage, but the plot still seems to dance around marriage and education.
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.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Unaccustomed praise 27 avril 2008
Par Jigar D. Bhatt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Lahiri is a skilled storyteller. Her detailed descriptions and choreography of characters across time and place demonstrate her writing talent. At the same time, her frequent failure to develop characters we grow attached to - historically often the hallmark of great storytellers and writers - makes me question where her accolades originate from. Though, it's not as if there is no potential. I read 'Interpreter' when it first came out and was impressed. However, at that time the Indian immigrant story was a new genre, and Lahiri was a strong cut above the rest. Following the wave of the recycled 'immigrant struggle' story, I bypassed her first novel, 'Namesake', altogether and from what I heard I didn't miss much. I turned to this, her newest book, after some convincing. Unaccustomed earth was good enough to make hard to put down but still left me wanting.

I was left wondering why such a strong writer does not wish to, by her third book, use her ability to evoke emotion through her characters' personal relationships to also evoke a sense of familiarity among readers whose principal interactions are with people other than ivy-league graduates, upper class whites, white collar professionals, and globe trotters? This would bother me less, since Lahiri is probably fully concious of her character choices, if the media did not cast Lahiri as the authority on the Indian-American experience. The experience is so much larger than that which Lahiri portrays (including among Bengalis), yet her non-immigrant audience almost co-opts her writing to represent what they are comfortable with. None of the political ugliness that non-immigrant America needs to contend with is unearthed in Lahiri's work.

Strong stories in the book include 'Hell-Heaven' (which also appeared in the New Yorker around 2002) and 'Only Goodness'. 'A Choice of Accomodations' and 'Nobody's Business' much less so. The best part of this book comes in part two, the 'Hema and Kaushik' trilogy. This second part reveals what Lahiri is capable of. Her writing strength is on display here, as is her ability to build bonds between characters and readers. She connects readers to not only the immigrant experience, but complex personal emotions and contemporary events and phenomena that have shaped both immigrants' and non-immigrants' lives. It also has a stronger ending than many of the other stories in the book. Her accomplishment here leaves me wondering why she sacrifices so much in some of her other stories. The media's focus on her work actually does her harm in the end. It sets up unrealistic expectations for an otherwise solid writer. If Lahiri were to write an entire novel that captured the range of ability, emotions, and relevance as the 'Hema and Kaushik' trilogy, she could then righfully claim all that she has already been afforded.
23 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 same old song.... 25 avril 2008
Par a music fan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
From the first few words of Jhumpa's stunning first story, you know you are reading her.....the style is simple but very much hers.
I particularly loved the title story, and feel its her best yet. On the whole I liked this better than "Interpreter..."
I agree with one of the other reviewers however. As an Indian who moved here in the 90s, I'm stuck between the two generations of Indians (always refered to as Bengalis in her book...Bengalis happen to be from India but are known for a slight strain of chauvinsim, shall we say) she describes. I've adopted most of the ways of people who live here and still have ties to my home in India. I still can relate to their stories however. I just wish she would depart every once in a while and populate her stories with people who are slightly different. Maybe Indians with Blue Collar jobs or Gay Indians or whatever else. Jhumpa, you've lived here long enough to have been touched by people who didn't go to Harvard or Columbia, didn't grow up in affluent Boston suburbs and don't have perfect careers (but silent personal struggles)...
Its like I'm hearing variations of the same (albeit beautiful) song over and over again.
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