By: Jhumpa Lahiri
Setting: India, New England and New York, 1968-1999
Format: 291 pgs.
Verdict: READ IT
Rated: PG-13 (You know, adults doing adult things. Nothing graphic though!)
The Namesake is everything you'd hear it being; touching, warm and all those delicious words. However, it dosen't have a REAL conflict, a REAL suspensful plot. It's just the story about Gogol Ganguli, the son of Bengali immigrants who moved to America a year after their arranged marriage. Gogol has been named after his father's favorite author, Nikolai Gogol, because his great-grandmother couldn't fufill the job of naming her great-grandson. At first, Gogol dosen't mind his name. That is, until his teen year until he really starts to find it annoying because, who in the world would want to be named Gogol right? As Gogol matures and grows, goes to college, gets into relationships and marries, he casts off the name for Nikhil, his original birth name. The whole book goes through Gogol's maturity and thirty years of his life, and we're riding along on his journey of being accepted into American society as a new person.
Now of course, that's nothing incredibly exciting, and this is one of those books that could have been a terrible one if the execution is not properly done. But the thing is, this book is so well written, the characters so well sketched out, that it eventually was a sucess. Ashima, the mother, was the only one who got on my nerves sometimes, because in the beginning she whines and complains all the time. But she really becomes a real person on the page. I found myself relating a lot to Gogol/Nikhil, and caring for him, which is a must when you write a book like this. There is not one single character that I didn't like and didn't relate to, which is nice to see for a change.
Like always, there ARE love stories in this book. All of them very interesting. Each of Gogol/Nikhil's girlfriends are different (besides the fact that they all read and like to travel. Another reason why these characters as so relatable.) In that case, it's really hard to see who he will end up with or if he ends up with any of them. And each of them have different outcomes, so when I thought it was going to end one way, it didn't end the way I expected. Like life. :)
The writing in this book is the second best writing I've ever read in my life. It's part of what makes you hold on to the story when you have a plot such as this one. The writing style gives the book this mood that kept me holding on as the characters warm my heart. It's maybe not the BEST book I've ever read, but it is probably one of the best book I've read this year. READ IT. You'll be pleasantly surprised like I was. :)