Name: Unaccustomed Earth
Recuperating from a flu, I lay reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth and was silently bowled over by her powerful and engaging style of writing. The prolific author of Namesake has come out with yet another anthology of short stories that touch you, caress you, enter your heart and mind making a permanent place within it.
Hell-Heaven reveals a story of Pranab Kaku and Aparna Boudhi through the eyes of Aparna’s daughter, a young girl who is the narrator. Pranab kaku is an inevitable house guest who finds himself spending his days, weeks and months relishing Aparna’s cooking and her growing attention on him. Young and attractive Pranab kaku continues to make his presence felt in Aparna’s world by giving her the attention her husband doesn’t, until he meets Deborah. Will Aparna be able to share Pranab kaku’s attention with Deborah? Narrated through a child’s perspective, Hell-Heaven truly leaves the reader highly entertained.
A Choice of Accomodation is about a couple of a mixed marriage who has lost out on each other in the haze of parenthood, jobs and above all, to the increasing challenges of an American way of life. It takes a friend’s wedding for them to come up close and personal with the pent up crisis in between. Will Amit and Megan be able to save their bond of matrimony?
Sang aka Sangita Biswas’ and Farouk’s clandestine affair is scrutinized and questioned by Sang’s roommate Paul in Nobody’s Business. Secretly in love with Sang, Paul finds out the truth behind why Farouk insists on keeping his relationship with Sang a secret. But will he be able to convince Sang?
In Year’s End the story, we meet Kaushik a college going adult. The story is narrated in first person perspective that belongs to Kaushik’s entirely. As he prepares to meet his step-mother and her two young daughters from a previous marriage, Kaushik is deeply agitated to return to a house full of strangers. His agitation becomes apparent when he cannot stand to see a woman other than his mother presiding over the kitchen and he hides his distaste for his new family until he discovers his step sisters slyly going through his mother’s old pictures. Will Kaushik be able to contain his dislike, his apathy for the new inmates of his house? Or will it cause him to take a wrong step?
Hema finds herself in Rome on a vacation in Going Ashore. Betrothed to Navin she least expects to meet Kaushik in the Roman city. Connected by painful memories from the past, Hema and Kaushik gets catapulted into a brief affair with no strings attached. As providence brings them together as adults, it separates them once again placing them in two different continents. Will Hema and Kaushik meet again? Narrated through Hema’s perspective, Going Ashore culminates in a beautiful union encouraged by chance but nothing in this world as we know, is permanent.
Namesake’s eminent writer delivers a collection of fantastic stories once more, with superbly crafted characters. Unaccustomed Earth goes on to prove Lahiri’s undisputed talent in the field of literary writing. The collage of characters highlight both simple and complex types, neurotic and contemplative types, romantic and practical types, blatant liars and downright honest types, whining and enduring types, interacting with each other on a daily basis, related to one another in this state of being called life.