Friday, March 20, 2009

Unaccustomed Earth: A Simple Question

It's "Featured Book Friday," which means it's time to talk about this month's featured book Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri.

So far, I'm loving this book. As I mentioned last week, I'm impressed with Lahiri's handling of strained and delicate family relationships. Her sensitivity to these kinds of relationships, whether they exist between husband and wife, parents and children, or even traditional and "adopted" family members (as is the case in "Hell-Heaven"), is acute and reveals Lahiri's gift as a careful observer of human relationships.

I'm hoping those who are reading along have finished the five stories in part one, because I'd like to ask a fairly generic question about them. Here it is:

Which of the stories in part one is your favorite and why?

As for me, I like "Hell-Heaven" because I think the narrator's mother is fascinating. She's desperately lonely (and we don't learn just how lonely she is until the very end), and yet she maintains her image of a dutiful wife. Her pent-up sadness is so endearing and so disturbingly real.

Anyone else?

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