Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: UNACCUSTOMED EARTH BY JHUMPA LAHIRI

I must say I do not enjoy reading short stories. Especially, a collection of short stories, otherwise if they are properly dramatic and structured, I would read only one or two stories from it. Rarely do I finish a whole book of short stories and this time I did. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri is the collection of eight stories which proves that she indeed is a better writer than the other Indian Authors I have read in my lifetime. She understands the experience she wants a reader to enjoy while reading her words. Her writing style is very natural and effortless and the way she care about each and every character she makes is one thing to be learn from her writing. A reader without much effort can indulge him/her-self into the imaginary world she weaves with her words and the experience in that neverland will be unforgettable.

My favorite story from the book is Year’s End which in itself is a part of trilogy of three short stories. You can also say they make a novella. But that’s not for me to decide. Year’s End is a first person narrative and the second part in the trio. All three stories revolve around two characters: Hema and Kaushik. The essence of this particular story, Year’s End, The emotional touch Lahiri has given in the story. On reading, some might find the story a bit too emotional but I say that a bit too emotions are necessary to continue the story forward, thus a big part of the plot. It is good to read emotional stories sometimes, only if they are properly written as Lahiri has done. This story in which Kaushik tells his part of the story. The way he and his father’s awkward relationship is portrayed  as after one incident is the way of showing how can vulnerable and sensitive is human life. One whole incident can make the surrounding change so fast and you’ll end up fighting a paradoxical war with yourself.

It is still one of the best collections of short stories I have read. Lahiri credits William Trevor with being one of her inspiration. This is quality stuff. It is a book you will keep on your shelves and return to time and time again.

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12 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: UNACCUSTOMED EARTH BY JHUMPA LAHIRI”

  1. A great review! I quite enjoy reading anthologies, providing the stories are well written and have something to say rather than just light entertainment; will definitely be taking a look at this book.

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  2. Great review! I particularly like this one sentence you wrote: “One whole incident can make the surrounding change so fast and you’ll end up fighting a paradoxical war with yourself.” It describes what I feel about Hema and Kaushik.

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