5.4.13

THE NAMESAKE, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Published in 2002, this gently-written book chronicles the Ganguli family, whose Calcutta origins are honored by the mother, Ashima and father, Ashoke, but find no attraction to their American-born children, Gogol and his sister Sonia. Gogol, after the Russian writer, is named to honor an incident that saved Ashoke's life. The father never tells Gogol how his name came about; he resents the odd name, and ultimately changes it. Over the decades the parents retain their many Bengali connections while the two children find their own American lifestyles, their own lovers and careers and spouses. A beautiful, evocative story that I found pleasing, touching, enlightening, and very entertaining. It's a 5, perfect for a book group.