Customer Reviews for

The Namesake

Average Rating 4
( 304 )
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(144)

4 Star

(103)

3 Star

(32)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Amazing!

I began this book simply because my cousin said she loved it. I can now see why. It captivates the heart and soul. I was in tears by the end of the novel. Being an Indian raised in American, there was also a lot I could relate to and understand. An absolute must for you...
I began this book simply because my cousin said she loved it. I can now see why. It captivates the heart and soul. I was in tears by the end of the novel. Being an Indian raised in American, there was also a lot I could relate to and understand. An absolute must for your personal library!

posted by 179730 on May 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

good plot...not so good execution of the plot

The story began well enough and I found myself emotionally invested in the lives of the young immigrant couple as they welcomed their first-born child, Gogol. However the story soon changed its focus from the parents to Gogol and that is where I lost interest in the st...
The story began well enough and I found myself emotionally invested in the lives of the young immigrant couple as they welcomed their first-born child, Gogol. However the story soon changed its focus from the parents to Gogol and that is where I lost interest in the story. It was difficult to feel emotionally invested in Gogol's life. This is because the book was at times too detailed (describing every last item visible in the room) and then at other not detailed enough (glossing over entire scenes such as when Gogol learns his wife has been cheating in the space of a paragraph). There were so many potential dramatic and moving moments in the book, but instead of creating gripping and climatic passages, these were delivered in a cold and factual way. I wanted to like the book, but I was so detatched from the main character that I could not. It was still an enjoyable read though, with a solid plot and good insight into the life of an immigrant family.

posted by barnsiefan on July 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2013

    A quality author and quality book!

    I had previously read a collection of short stories by this author and was lukewarm about it. But when I saw that she had written a novel I wanted to try it. I'm glad I did. It gave me insight into the trials and tribulations of a family which emigrated to the U.S., the parents being steeped in their Bengali traditions but giving birth to 2 children born here in the U.S. who are very "Americanized" and resent the ways of the old world. Very very good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2013

    If you are looking for a way to better understand and help you c

    If you are looking for a way to better understand and help you connect to your family and cultural then The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is the book for you. Lahiri does a wonderful job of giving you a well thought out and organized story of a young boy named Gogol who grows up into a man while searching for his identity and dealing with family relationships.
    This novel is a great fictional depiction of very real circumstances and the trials of being a first generation child in America. It shows how hard it is to be a young kid in the United States and trying to keep cultural traditions and values. The novel clearly depicts how there is always a constant struggle no matter how long one has been living in this country. This is a book about life, and life can sometimes be boring and at parts the book is slow but if you keep reading in the end you will get a great message out of it.
     I would definitely recommend this book because it is a very well written novel. It is a very moving and inspiration story that becomes very memorable. The language she uses to express her thoughts is very well crafted. Lahiri really has a way of making the reader want to keep turning the page 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Compelling Family Saga

    This book *nearly* lived up to the hype for me. I really enjoyed the look into the lives and practices of an immigrant Bangladeshi family in America; being a Caucasian American myself. Lahiri gives great descriptive passages and time seems to flow by seamlessly. My only wish is that she had let me more into the minds of the characters, instead of just telling me about what they were doing. You don't really, truly get a feel for who they are as people. Instead, it is more of an account of their activities and actions. Still a great read, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

    Highly recommended

    She gives us a look ino Indian culture while keeping your interest. Great writer!

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  • Posted October 28, 2010

    The Namesake- a must read novel!

    The book, The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri, begins as Ashoke and Ashima leave Calcutta and settle in New York City. Through a series of miscues, their son's nickname, Gogol (named after Russian author Nikolai Gogol), becomes his official birth name, an event which will shape many aspects of his life. Gogol's cross-cultural experiences and his exploration of his Indian heritage change, as the story shifts between the United States and India. Gogol eventually meets and falls in love with two women, Maxine and Moushumi, while his parents struggle to understand his modern, American perspectives on dating, marriage and love.

    This book is a great book that can relate to many immigrants around the world. When people move to different countries and have children it is difficult for the parents to teach their children that their native culture is as important as the culture that they are living in now. Therefore this book is a great example of problems that can occur between parents and children when they move to a different country with a different culture. Moreover, this book was a really enjoyable book and I really recommend reading it.

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  • Posted October 21, 2010

    Very Moving- A Great Read!

    We were asked to read this for a literacy circle in Honors Social Studies, and everyone in the group enjoyed it. The book gets you hooked to see what will happen to Gogol next. Not only does it state Gogol's life and struggles, but his mother's well, both unique and made specifically for the characters. The dilemmas and struggles never seem to cease; they keep going only getting stronger near the end. The book seemed to lack a moral or point, but all in all the book was good, it was not boring, and it keeps you reading!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Jhumpa Lahiri

    This book is a classic. You will fall a bit in love with the characters.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting read.

    I enjoyed this book because it gave me more insight into the lives of Indian immigrants. Good book for those that just want to learn more about those from cultures different than their own.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Ineteresting family saga

    I found this book interesting as it follows a family's life. I do not think everyone would enjoy this book because it really is just about the events in their lives from their marriage through the adulthood of their children. I liked her writing style and found the inner an outer conflict of two children who are born in America being raised by their parents who are from India very interesting. The parents struggle with raising their children in America, while maintining their culture. The children struggle with being American, but still having parents who are from India.

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  • Posted July 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended Reading

    This was a very honest story and I loved it. For anyone who has tried to "fit into" something - esp. a new culture and/or country - would understand the pull of the old and new worlds as they demand different loyalties.
    Great read. Also gives a sincere flavor of East Indian culture as its people try to carve a niche, a belonging, in America.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Namesake

    Very thought provoking - and I did not want to put it down once I started reading. The book is much better than the movie. It makes you ponder relationships and their significance, also it makes you wonder about your relationship with your parents and your children.

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  • Posted March 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    To touch your heart.

    Have U ever wondered how immigrants "see" America? This novel will touch your heart. It will make U cheer during the triumphs and cry during the sadness. U will relate to this family on many levels. Enjoy, the experience. This is heart-warming and filled with love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2007

    Two Generations Battling Their Own Identities

    A simple yet rich story of identity as well as a small lesson on Bengali culture is conveyed through author Jhumpa Lahiri¿s profound and reflective way of writing, allowing readers to see life realistically through the eyes of two generations struggling to preserve their Bengali culture in the melting pot of New York City. The novel opens with the newlyweds of the Ganguli family freshly arriving from Calcutta and continues to narrate about the life of their son Gogol as he matures and fights upstream to the painful battle of identity, a war of man vs. self. As the parents age and learn to establish themselves in the fast paced city, Gogol¿s realization that he is different from the average Joes of America hits him hard one day at school when reading a book written by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, the author of whom Gogol Ganguli is named after. The story of the origin of Gogol¿s name was his father¿s own inspirational story. It occurred in the middle of the night while riding a train in Calcutta. He had been reading about the Russian author Gogol would be named after in the future. Suddenly, the train violently runs off the train track killing hundreds but leaving Gogol¿s father underneath the rubble with a page of the book in his nearly lifeless hand saving his life by attracting rescue. It was always embedded in Gogol¿s mind that his father named him after the Russian author but he never knew the true reason why nor did he care. He felt no relation to the author anyway, and thought the name lacked sophistication. To quickly resolve this problem, Gogol changes his name, symbolic of his conformity to American culture by waving goodbye to the Bengali culture he once knew. Gogol, now legally named Nikolai, conforms to contemporary American culture. He interacts with Americans, and eats American food without the spicy curries. His life seems ideal. He excels in his work and has a pleasant social life. He keeps in touch with his parents, but not as much as they would like. Nonetheless, everything in his life is perfectly acceptable while keeping the idea of his abandonment of his roots and culture in the back of his mind. He continues to walk and live his consistent lifestyle until one day, a particular event causes him to have a rude awakening which flips his life upside down causing him to face the harsh reality of his neglect in keeping his Bengali traditions which he¿s ignored for three decades. It is through this emotional setback where Gogol does intensive soul searching to return to the mentality his parents once had with a peaceful Bengali- influenced state of mind. Chosen with an interest in a mini cultural lesson and inspirational read, this novel succeeds in delivering both standards with poise and personal reflections given by the character. This novel is not only highly recommended to read, but also suggested to be read multiple times as reminder to appreciate and welcome one¿s own culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    Much better than I expected it to be -- very enjoyable read. Love Lahiri's writing style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2007

    Wonderful read

    As a first generation American, I could relate to this story. It is a wonderful read, written in Lahiri's succinct style that is rich with details. Very enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    I enjoyed that Lahari allows the reader into the minds of Ashima as well as Gogol. I would have loved to have been able to get into the mind of Ashoke and Sonia. Ashoke would have been a great character to explore. I can't wait to see the movie!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    Addicting.

    An interesting story, but I absolutely hated Gogol Ganguli and many of the other characters. But it was fun to read about these people's lives anyway. I recommend it for the insight into people's characters and the sheer enjoyment of the writing, which is the best I've read of contemporary fiction in a while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    Great Read!

    I thought this book was great! Couldn't put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    A Father's Love

    This is a brilliant novel about a family from India and their life in America. The journey that Gogul takes in his life is never predictable. Jhumpa Lahiri writes prose as if it were poetry. The love of Gogul's father for his often distant son is so touching and heartbreaking. I recommend this novel to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Beautifully Written

    This is an enchanting tale of an Indian family who emigrated from India to america, it tells the story of a traditional indian couple who stick to their indian values & issure dealt with in america. It then describes the life of their son, who was born in america and the different lives they share. I found it to ba an extraordinary tale that really looks itno the characters persona in depth! It's a great book!

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