Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth

by Jhumpa Lahiri
4.1 158


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Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307265739
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/01/2008
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1090L (what's this?)
Age Range: 16 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and author of two previous books. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel The Namesake was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

London, England


B.A., Barnard College; M.A., Ph.D., Boston University

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Unaccustomed Earth 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 158 reviews.
dke More than 1 year ago
Jhumpa Lahiri has a beautiful way of drawing the reader into her characters and their stories. I actually believed that I was reading a collection of short stories until I was half way through the book when it dawned on me that I was reading a novel. Ms. Lahiri has a marvelous gift for surprise that keeps the reader in a perpetual state of wanting to learn more about her characters and their lives. Each story holds it's own on an individual basis and yet when taken collectively they make a a breathtaking collage. I would invite anyone to appreciates the written word to pick up a copy of her book and indulge themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Call me a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri's beautiful writing. I loved her first Pulitzer prize winning book of short stories and last winter when I was reading her novel, The Namesake, I heard that this book was even better than the Pulitzer prize winning short story collection, The Interpreter of Maladies. It proved to be the truth. I loved this short story collection at least as much as the first, if not more. Reading these stories transported me to familiar, yet slightly foreign, culture where I lived for the duration of my reading experience. Ending the last story was like finishing a sad but hopeful novel because a series of interrelated stories concluded the book. From my perspective, you can't go wrong with this author. I love her writing and look forward to whatever she publishes next. Her stories are a piece of 21st century America infused with strong cultural perspectives. Her characters are universal yet highly culturally bound...a delight to experience.
ajunatnyc More than 1 year ago
I've read all three of her books - I think this might be her best. I loved The Namesake, but she tries new techniques as a writer here. And she has the power to hit you with once sentence that just kills you in the middle of a story.

The third story - Only Goodness - really hit home for me. I'm glad the Indian community has a voice like this. And if you're not Indian, I think you might enjoy her books even more because she sheds light on a new world of Indian-American fusion. Great great book. I devoured it in a weekend - I think you'll do the same!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and I was impressed with the writing style and ability to keep the reader's attention. I generally do not read short stories but this book was well worth making an exception. Each story provides a vivid image of the cultural clashes the characters experience with their traditional Indian/Bengali values upon being assimilated into the western culture through their respective journeys. I especially enjoyed the "Hema & Khausik" part that explored the lives of two lovers from their childhood and how they manage to reunite after years of separation. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in romance novels, Indian culture, classic literature, or anyone looking for a good book to have for a book club or to escape reality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't think I was a fan of short stories but these are incredible. Lahiri is an accessible yet deep writer -- Try Interpreter of Maladies too.
opinionminion More than 1 year ago
For anyone who has read Lahiri's The Namesake, you know that she is a fantastic writer. In many ways, that skill becomes detrimental in this book of short stories: you become so attached to the characters that you don't want the story to end! There is beauty in the way short stories work, but I loved each one so much that I wished she would write a book about each of them. However, be prepared for unexpected endings. And by unexpected I mean probably not what you prefer. Her stories are beautiful, but at times I wished for an over-the-top magical happy ending, but this is not her. That is not to say that there is subtle beauty and happiness in the ending of each--all the characters experience epiphanic moments that are critical to their existence. However, while the book should be read by all, you may want to pick an upbeat book to read afterward.
I_Baqai More than 1 year ago
The stories invariably bring to life immense pressure to succeed that children of first generation immigrants from Indian sub-continent face while growing up in households that straddle two cultures. While most of the characters come out of this crucible with admirable credentials and ability to balance their background and their new American identity, there are some who stumble and therein lies Jhumpa's mixture of empathy and dread of their predicament.
J-Anne More than 1 year ago
I read Interpreter of the Maladies several years ago in a literature class and fell in love with Ms. Lahiri's style of story telling. I can visualize and actually hear the voices of her characters and feel, at times, as though I know these people. The title story, Unaccustomed Earth was the most touching of the stories, but none let me down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary read. Dive in and don't worry about drowning.
ayathetiger More than 1 year ago
In Jhumpa Lahiri's newest collection of short stories, she highlights the tragedies and minute triumphs of familial relations. Throughout each story, Lahiri weaves a fairly simply web. Though most of the plats are predictable, they are crafty and imaginative because they're predictable. Lahiri seems to be aware of each ploy of family life and through this, is able to render and portray emotions in imaginative ways. her placid voice is tragic, yet evokes feeling that is not generally associated with those in our lives that we are supposed to "unconditionally" love and cherish. Lahiri even made me realize things about my own family and the ability of a writer to create a connection between the reader and the characters is a talent that many writers are not graced with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book
Been_There_Done_That More than 1 year ago
I became a Lahiri fan after seeing the movie "The Namesake" then reading "The Interpreter of Maladies". If you liked either one of those novels,you will enjoy this as well. The short story format does not allow for as much character development as the author's other books, but her talent as a story teller, and her unique voice as Indian American shine through nevertheless.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That make you care about their relationships, ideas, and struggles to choose a path. Sometimes they fool themselves but you always respect them when their intentions are good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think l mixed up parts o.o oops. Try to number it if things move a lot. Hehe. Especially in such a large search. Pretty nice chapter though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting until....the author starting new stories about different families that never tied into the original families...my final assessment...was annoyed I wasted good money on an empty story.
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hariny More than 1 year ago
i loved this book from beginning to end. her characters are so realistic and have so much nuance and depth; no sugar coating here. can't wait for her next book.
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