Day 471: Unaccustomed Earth

Cover for Unaccustomed EarthBest Book of the Week!

Although all of the stories in Unaccustomed Earth feature characters who are immigrants and first-generation Americans of Indian descent, they are about a lot more than that. They are about the common problems of all people.

In the story “Unaccustomed Earth,” Ruma grieves over the loss of her mother while her father fears she is making the same life for herself that embittered his marriage to her mother. In “Hell-Heaven,” a girl observes her traditional mother’s infatuation with a young graduate student in light of her mother’s detached marriage with her father. Amit and his wife Megan try to create a romantic weekend while attending the wedding of a woman Amit once had a crush on in “A Choice of Accommodations.” The best of the stories are the last three, interlinked, about two people who meet each other several times at significant junctures of their lives.

Lahiri’s stories speak to us deeply. With details of life and human behavior so finely observed, they become stories about characters for whom we care.

I am generally a novel reader, because short stories often feel to me as if a lot is missing. But Lahiri’s gift is for saying so much in so few words. You find yourself pondering her stories and characters long after you stop reading. They reveal a profound insight into the human heart.

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7 thoughts on “Day 471: Unaccustomed Earth

  1. Emily J. February 14, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    I love this collection. You just can’t go wrong with Lahiri.

    • whatmeread February 14, 2014 / 12:00 pm

      I am new to her. I really love her stories. I liked her last novel, but this is even better.

  2. literaryvittles February 14, 2014 / 12:10 pm

    My favorite short story collection is “Delicate Edible Birds” by Lauren Groff. Perhaps you’d enjoy it as well.

  3. Carolyn O February 14, 2014 / 2:26 pm

    Interpreter of Maladies is great too. I think Cecilia reviewed it recently.

    • whatmeread February 14, 2014 / 2:28 pm

      I haven’t read that yet, just The Lowland. Something to look forward to!

      • Cecilia February 14, 2014 / 4:02 pm

        Yes, I finally got around to reading Interpreter of Maladies last year and loved it. I have Unaccustomed Earth on my shelves and look forward to that one as well. I liked her 2 novels but so far feel that I enjoy her short stories even better.

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