Mar 29, 2010

Unaccustomed Earth

Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth talks about the same homesickness of Bengalis living in the US that we have already read in Interpreter of Maladies and Namesake. I believe her characters are now becoming very predictable. The Bengali woman from Calcutta getting married to a Man in the US who is doing some research work. The woman is unable to adjust to the US lifestyle and sticks to her Bengali roots. She is always homesick and visits India every summer. her parents and in-laws dying without her being on their bedside. Then comes the children who are very American but she wants them to stick to their Bengali roots which makes her unlikeable to her kids. In all three books we come across these characters over and over again. Be it Ashima in Namesake or Mrs Sen or The female characters in Unaccustomed Earth or Hell and Heaven. The husbands are always slightly unromantic, introvert, reclusive and in most stories the couples are hardly shown bonding romantically it is more of a co inhabitance. The next generation is always inclined towards the American way of living, hating the Bengali gathering that they are forced to attend, having American Girlfriends or boyfriends at times even spouses.
Jhumpa Lahiri's own experience as a Bengali child caught in the transition of two worlds in captured in most of her stories. But after three novels she should grow as a writer and come out of her own cocoon and write something new. At least she should introduce some new characters.Although I personally still like to read about all those Bengalis living in the US but at times I would like to read something new something that has not been told before from her. She should not fall into the trap of Bollywood potboilers who repeat the same formula films again and again to get the box office ringing.

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