Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The movie Namesake was released three years ago (2006). It was an excellent movie and is one of my favorites. Ever since I watched the movie, I wanted to read the book. I finally got a chance to listen to the book, and I must say that Jhumpa Lahiri has written a beautiful novel once again.

The novel Namesake is about a Bengali family settling in USA, and how there is cultural and communication gap between the parents and the kids. Parents love their homeland country, India, and do not understand the customs of USA. On the other hand, the kids feel more connected to their birth country, USA and do not understand the importance of India and its traditions and customs; thus, causing a rift between the family members. The family is together, but the desire to be separate has become part of kids. One thing that brings them closer is the passing of the father, which was shocking. I did know about it in advance due to the movie, but I was equally shocked and sad.

The novel is about inner struggle of the character Nikhil/Gogol due to his name. He feels that he does not belong. I felt he blames his parents for this struggle, because he never understood the importance of the writer Gogol in his parents' lives. He changes his name to Nikhil but for his parents, he is always Gogol. However, as he gets more and more involved in his life, the name Gogol is left behind. He is again in struggle as he likes his new name but he wants to hear his original name again too.

I would give this book 8 out of 10 and look forward to reading this book again sometime in future.


I should have picked up the movie when I had the chance. Instead, I'll try to get the audiobook.