Thoughts on The Namesake

the namesake










I recently finished reading The Namesake. I was first drawn to the book after watching about 20 minutes of the movie on a plane (the movie stars Kal Penn and it has received good reviews). I became more interested in picking it up when the book became a topic of conversation at a friend’s Brooklyn house party.  While the main character Gogol’s experience is not one that is shared by all progeny of immigrant parents, it is definitely one with which many identify.  Raised by Indian parents in New England, Gogol changes his name to Nikhil upon his acceptance to Yale. The novel is about how he grapples with his identity as he becomes an American adult, and his struggles to reconcile it with his past as a son of immigrant parents.  I was particularly touched by how characters attempt to define themselves in realms in which they can be born anew. For Gogol, that realm might be architecture, and for Moushumi that realm is the study of french literature and life in Paris. Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the novel, but it was a good read. I might pick up Jhumpa Lahiri’s (the author) Interpreter of Maladies at some point.