I have to say that this is a great stories collection by my favorite author, Jhumpa Lahiri. Since her first book, she already caught my attention. Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of 8 stories written by her. She always uses the same topic, immigrant from India who live in the US or England, but she keeps on surprising the readers on how deep the experiences affect each person in the stories.
The background of each family told in the stories is common. Those young Indian people who are living in the US or England is the offspring of the first generation who migrated from India in late 60s or 70s. Most of the parents had their chance to finish their PhD in the US, got a proper job, married with Indian women and raised their children there. The conflict came when their children became the next young generation who had, not just age gap, but also cultural gap with the older generation.
Most of the children end up marrying western woman or man and stay in the US, separated from their parents. This is a simple difference between Asian (namely Indian) and Western cultures. In Asia, it is common to live near parents’ house or even live with them in the same house. Because after a marriage, the two family become one… not just the two persons become one. The reluctancy of a father who wanted to stay together with his married daughter was drawn so deep in one the story. Or a story about a married woman who fell in love with a younger man, whose later in his life disregard his identity as an Indian living in the US. Family conflict and personal feeling is deeply explored by Lahiri in this book.
What I love the most about Lahiri is her ability to draw the details of the story beautifully. She offers every detail of the conflicts, the happiness (vs emptiness) and the situation around the happenings. I can imagine the struggling between those two generations who are trying to balance their lives upon each other.
Anyway, as a closing … buy and read this book! It’s worth a reading…
Also click on this review.