Book Review- Unaccustomed Earth- Jhumpa Lahiri

I had read this book even before I started with this but somehow couldn't generate the time to write the review for the book. I know I am too late in probably reading and reviewing this book however, I didn't want to let those who haven't read Jhumpa Lahiri earlier, miss out on reading this one. Now, Lahiri's debut work, Interpreter of Maladies, was a poignant effort and had some really great short stories that stayed with you, long after you have finished reading the book. Unaccustomed Earth, is not really her best work but certain stories definitely remain etched in your heart forever.

The book, Unaccustomed Earth, is divided into two parts. The very first story of Part I is the title of the book. In this story, Ruma, a  young mother is visited by her father, who slowly tends to her garden in the backyard of her house. While tending to this earth, the father strikes a special bond with his grandson. Meanwhile, he hides a love affair from his daughter, keeping it all to himself, thinking it might upset her. What we see in this story is the relationship that Ruma shares with her father after her mother's death; though they are not the quintessential father and daughter, she missing her mother most of the times thinking how they had been when she was alive, there comes a thin line that separates her from her father. She does not know what it is and thus lets her relationship with her father go as it is. In "A Choice of Accommodations" a husband's attempt to turn an old friend's wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes a dark, revealing turn as the party lasts deep into the night. In "Only Goodness" a sister who is eager to give a perfect childhood to her younger brother is overcome by guilt and anguish when his alcoholism threatens her family.

In Part Two- "Hema and Kaushik"- is a trio of linked stories. In this part we follow the  lives of girl and boy who one winter share a house in Massachussetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate,  sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome. I liked this part the most. After finishing the book, it left with you an impression that remains with you for a long time until you get another fascinating book that may lift your spirits and take you to a stage where you can live on with the essence of the book and its character.

Its been a long while since I read this book. Hence, the review attempt has been half hearted actually. I feel I could have written a better review than this. However, this should not stop you from picking this off from one of the bookshelves and delving deep into its pages. Unaccustomed Earth is rich with Lahiri's usual exquisite prose, emotional wisdom, and subtle renderings of the most intricate relation between the heart and mind.

Happy Reading  :-) 

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