Thursday, February 19, 2009

March's Featured Book: Unaccustomed Earth

It's been a while since I've posted about February's featured book So Brave, Young, and Handsome, so my next post (coming hopefully Friday or Saturday) will be dedicated to that.

Today, however, I need to announce the featured book for March so you'll have time to track it down and read along with us.

March's featured book will be (. . . drum roll, please) Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (big cymbal crash).

If you're not familiar with Jhumpa Lahiri, here's some background. Unaccustomed Earth was published in 2008, and it's Lahiri's third book. Her first, a collection of short stories titled Interpreter of Maladies, came out in 1999. It explores in sensitive and soft prose cultural assimilation and the impact globalization has on the individual. (Lahiri is a bit of a world traveler -- she's of Bengali Indian descent, was born in London, and currently lives in Brooklyn.) Interpreter of Maladies won a Pulitzer -- not bad for a debut book.

Her second book, a novel published in 2003 called The Namesake, was recently made into a movie. I've neither read the book, nor seen the movie, so I'll refrain from commenting on it here (but I will add it to my Netflix Queue).

The New York Times review of Unaccustomed Earth has this to say: "The fact that America is still a place where the rest of the world comes to reinvent itself — accepting with excitement and anxiety the necessity of leaving behind the constrictions and comforts of distant customs — is the underlying theme of Jhumpa Lahiri's sensitive new collection of stories, Unaccustomed Earth.” (See the complete review here).

Lahiri is brilliant, and even a few non-readers I've known discovered Interpreter of Maladies and devoured it ravenously.

We'll begin our discussion of Unaccustomed Earth the first week in March, so get your book today.

3 comments:

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

So, I'm all fed up with Half.com. I ordered the Enger book and paid for expedited shipping which apparently turns out to be on the back of a snail or something.

But I ordered Unaccustomed Earth today, so hopefully it'll arrive before St. Patrick's Day.

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Oh, and my whole point was that the biggest problem I see with contemporary fiction is that it isn't in the public domain and therefore online, or it's too new to be in my pathetic library.

What? You think writers should get paid for their works? Balderdash!

Professor Josh said...

Jane - I'm glad you're reading along with me (despite the obstacles of half.com and their "shipping by crustacean" program). I look forward to hearing your take on Lahiri's new collection.

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