Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, The Namesake, speaks to how one’s character, seemingly burdened by the past, can be redefined across time, space, and culture. In this story, Gogol Ganguli, a child of Indian immigrants much like Lahiri herself, struggles to adopt an identity that satisfies both the expectations of his Bengali relatives in Calcutta and his peers in the United States. As Gogol uncovers the history behind his name, we watch him tangle with family tradition, tumble through telling love affairs, and develop a fond interest in architecture — fitting as he tries to assemble his own persona. With simple yet elegant prose rendered in page-turning fashion, Lahiri illustrates how Gogol sees and re-sees the world upon gaining clarity about his past.
Class of 2021
Molecular and Cell Biology major
This book is part of the 2021 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!