The Namesake Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake' is the story of a young American Indian , Gogol.Gogol hates the name given to him by his parents , his 'good name' as they call it. He particularly hates the comparison to his namesake , Nikolai Gogol and is embarrassed by it . Gogol grows to be a handsome young architect , falls in love with an American girl and is happy for a while living with her and her family.Later,Gogol meets an Indian girl and marries her but feels lonely in the relationship.
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Gogol is not proud of his origins , in fact he has been shown to hate them .He is shown growing more sensitive to his family , particularly his mother as time passes . His reactions to his father's death are especially touching . Jhuma Lahiri has managed to portray beautifully how Gogol's mother Ashima adjusts to her life in a foreign country , how she evolves from being a homesick housewife to a confident woman comfortable in her surroundings..

The narrative is simple and lucid, a lot of attention as been paid to the details. The novel manages to highlight the confusion, the homesickness and the loneliness of the first generation Indians in a foreign country.The triumph of the novel is when Ashima ,who misses India all her life comes to think of Boston as home.

The review of this Book prepared by Vani Nair

The book is about Gogol, born to immigrant Indian parents in Boston. He is brought-up in a suburb of Boston with a name he hates- Gogol. What frustrates him most is that it is not even an Indian name. As the years roll by he attempts to fid himself and even officially goes to change his name to a more Indian one.
He moves from Boston to go to college at Yale. He becomes an architecht and moves to live in New York City where he becomes involved with a very rich and attractive non-Indian girl. Her family is rich, broad-minded and obviously belong to the US. He feels the grating difference in their backgrounds and finally breaks it off when his father dies. Something changes in him and he cannot continue the relationship. Later he meets a girl his mother recommends, very American just like him, she turns out to be very interesting. They marry but she is not like him. Her own confused needs lead to further conflict.
The review of this Book prepared by Shaleen

This is the story of an Indian family who moves to America for better opportunities, focusing mainly on the only son, Gogol. Although the whole family struggles to conform to the American way of life, it is Gogol who experiences the most difficulty, starting with the problem of his name which is changed in his teens. Jhumpa Lahiri does a wonderful job getting the reader into this character's head and feeling for him as he grows up in a culture entirely new to his parents and their attempts to keep the Indian culture true to their children.
The review of this Book prepared by Abby Sominski

Chapter Analysis of The Namesake

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Plot & Themes

Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Indian from India Other aspects:    -   immigrant story Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   engineer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Indian Indian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Jhumpa Lahiri Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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