Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review - Unaccustomed Earth

Whenever I go about selecting books I intend to read, I take my time selecting. Taking it slow, judging the cover, taking in the jest at the back of the book. Opening the first page and analyzing the style. Thinking whether or not I will enjoy reading it. Then and only then my friends I invest my hard-earned money into that book.

However as they say sometimes "Naam he kafi hai" (The name only is enough). I picked up this book called Unaccustomed Earth even before properly read its title. The only thing that caught my eye and attention was the author's name "Jhumpa Lahiri". It was immediately decided that this book will be bought, in any case. So I quickly and randomly shuffled the pages here and there, just to explain to myself that I have not cheated and I follow my book-buying rituals religiously.

This was not the first time I was smitten by the name Jhumpa Lahiri. The first time was for The Namesake, this time it was Unaccustomed Earth. But masterpieces in their own rights. While Namesake was a story spanning generations, Unaccustomed Earth provides you the joy of 8 stories in one book. It has the typical style of Jhumpa, very subtle, in a way that will leave you wounded (with a heavy heart) without you even realizing it in a conscious sort of a way.

I found myself devouring the book, savouring it, inhaling it, deeply involved in it. Each story teaching me a little something. The simplest of the human emotions and lives bringing out a radical change in the way I see things. Feeling the pain yet I never felt it to be a overtly emotional book, like say a Thousand Splendid Suns. As much as I love that book. It had me settling it aside at regular interval while I cried my heart out at miserable lifes of Mariam and Laila. Not able to get the horrible images out of my mind even after days of finishing it.

I especially loved the end of last story. It was very touching and indirectly telling you many a things.

Can't wait to start another Jhumpa Lahiri soon enough. Till then it's Three Cups of tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

*Some Quotes*

“She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things.”

 “There were times Ruma felt closer to her mother in death than she had in life, an intimacy born simply of thinking of her so often, of missing her. But she knew that this was an illusion, a mirage, and that the distance between them was now infinite, unyielding. ” “He still had the power to stagger her at timessimply the fact that he was breathing that all his organs were in their proper places that blood flowed quietly and effectively through his small sturdy limbs. He was her flesh and blood her mother had told her in the hospital the day Akash was born.” 

 “The sky was different, without color, taut and unforgiving. But the water was the most unforgiving thing, nearly black at times, cold enough, I knew, to kill me, violent enough to break me apart. The waves were immense, battering rocky beaches without sand. The farther I went, the more desolate it became, more than any place I'd been, but for this very reason the landscape drew me, claimed me as nothing had in a long time.” 

 “He owned an expensive camera that required thought before you pressed the shutter, and I quickly became his favorite subject, round-faced, missing teeth, my thick bangs in need of a trim. They are still the pictures of myself I like best, for they convey that confidence of youth I no longer possess, especially in front of a camera.”

 "Soon, likewise, my old native town will loom upon me through the haze of memory, a mist brooding over and around it; as if it were no portion of the real earth, but an overgrown village in cloud-land, …. Henceforth, it ceases to be a reality of my life. I am a citizen of somewhere else." 


  1. I saw this on my last visit to crossword.. i'll pick it up next time!


  2. hey good post as usual yar..and i have run out of thanks to u..wish u d very best sneha:)

  3. I havent read this book but I totally fell in love with The Namesake.. There is something really peculiar (in a good way) about that book. I loved reading it.

    And about this book. I still haven't read it though it is right there on my book shelf. I will read it for sure.

  4. Seems interesting but these days main hindi books jyada padh raha hun...
    jab bhi english fir se shuru karunga, i will buy this one..

  5. No comments... not much of a novel person.. :(

  6. boy in stryped pyjamasFebruary 3, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    they say naam hee kaafi hai = sometimes name is only enough ... padke thdi hassi aa gayee.. ptaani kyun

  7. boy in stryped pyjamasFebruary 3, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    this post needs sme real time editing.. i know its not important here... but the meaning of ur sentences fail to make the sort of impact dat they are capable of transferring.. pls dun mind .. its just a suggestion.. u must have posted it while half asleep... nd i knw u av a stong hold on d language too.. but fir hamaare liye bhi toh easy hna chahiye smjhne mein... loved ur early posts..

  8. I love Jhumpa Lahiri and I love her books and I love this book too. There's something different in her style of writing, she talks about everyday things in such gripping detail. Nice blog you've got here. :)