Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth

Book - 2008
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Knopf Canada is proud to welcome this bestselling, Pulitzer Prize--winning author with eight dazzling stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life.

In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father who carefully tends her garden-where she later unearths evidence of a love affair he is keeping to himself. In "A Choice of Accommodations," a couple's romantic getaway weekend takes a dark turn at a party that lasts deep into the night. In "Only Goodness," a woman eager to give her younger brother the perfect childhood she never had is overwhelmed by guilt, anguish and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family. And in "Hema and Kaushik," a trio of linked stories-a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love and fate-we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one fateful winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.

Unaccustomed Earth is rich with the author's signature gifts: exquisite prose, emotional wisdom and subtle renderings of the most intricate workings of the heart and mind. It is the work of a writer at the peak of her powers.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2008.
ISBN: 9780676979350
Branch Call Number: LAH
Characteristics: 333 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 03, 2017

Jhumpa Lahiri breathes life into every paragraph, and deep but understated emotional content into every gesture. The characters in this collection of short stories all struggle one way or another with living in a strange and foreign place, the “unaccustomed earth” of the title. Each subtle variation on Lahiri’s theme draws us in as observers in deep sympathy, and gives a slightly different view of our shared humanity; we learn how to develop roots even in soil that is not our own.

Sep 19, 2016

A collection of short stories and one novella about the experiences of Indian immigrants to the US. Lahiri is an expert at portraying the human condition and that expertise is again on display here. That said, I found the stories somewhat uneven. Some made little impression on me, but others--a young woman's relationship with her father after the death of her mother, a promising young man's loss to alcoholism, the unexpected reunion of two young people who knew each other as children--are still with me days later.

May 23, 2016

JhumpaLahiri has done a brilliant job of exploring the collective Bengali psyche using colourful characters who are different as chalk and cheese , yet remarkably Bengali. This makes for excellent reading.

WVMLStaffPicks Oct 26, 2014

While the gulf that separates Bengali parents from their American-born children is the main theme, the stories in this collection are filled with insights into emotional connections that cross many borders as you enter the lives of friends and lovers, siblings, parents and grand parents, sons and daughters.

Jane60201 Mar 29, 2014

Excellent, as are all her books.

Violet_Lion_31 Mar 16, 2014

This book is so exquisitely written and it makes one analyze all that they really know about life and relationships.

Feb 18, 2014

After hearing Jhumpa talking about her books on a BBC book club programme I was intrigued enough to seek her writings out - and I am not disappointed. A collection of about 8 stories that all have subtle links centred around Indian immigrants experience of being in the USA. Beautifully written, understated prose, and very lyrical. A treat to read and I was totally engrossed in the lives of the characters.

Jul 06, 2013

Compelling stories about family relationships involving Indian-Americans (Bengalis) in the United States. You get involved with the characters but stories are often bittersweet.

Aug 10, 2012

This book of short stories is so beautifully written.

Jul 27, 2012

Eight US/Bengali short stories, very well written.

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The_Snow_Man Aug 05, 2014

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Jul 30, 2010

"Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth." -Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Custom-House"


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