Oh, I am so happy that Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Namesake should be arriving in the mail tomorrow, because I have finished Unaccustomed Earth and I haven't nearly gotten my fill of this absolutely amazing writer. I am seriously astonished by the sheer excellence of Lahiri's writing. She is a true master of the craft of writing and of the short story genre.
Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of eight short stories that follow the similar theme of Bengali immigrants in America and their American children--the struggles and conflicts of both generations, especially for the grown children as they are caught between two radically different cultures.
Although much of the conflict centers on this theme, the characters are universal, and there is not one single stereotypical flat character here. Even the tertiary characters have well-rounded faces, wiping doughnut crumbs from their smiles. But the main characters! I truly can't even begin to express the depth of Lahiri's skill in character development--the nuances, the details, the insight and exactitude--phenomenal.
My only complaint is that this is a book of short stories. I want each story to be a novel. And I love what she does with the last three stories; read it, and you'll see what I mean.
I can't bear to be done with this book.