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Unaccustomed Earth (Vintage Contemporaries)

by

Unaccustomed Earth (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Unaccustomed Earth is in many ways a deeply and authentically sad book. I would not advise reading the stories too quickly; they will each haunt you for days afterward (and, unusually in a collection like this, they are all equally strong). But Lahiri's prose is worth it; her work is masterful, confident, and timeless, and this gorgeously written collection of stories is her strongest fiction yet.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

These eight stories by beloved and bestselling author Jhumpa Lahiri take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand, as they explore the secrets at the heart of family life. Here they enter the worlds of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers. Rich with the signature gifts that have established Jhumpa Lahiri as one of our most essential writers, Unaccustomed Earth exquisitely renders the most intricate workings of the heart and mind.

Review:

"Four stars. Beautifully rendered...Unaccustomed Earth explores the dilemmas faced by Bengali immigrants in the west, yet its appeal is universal. Lahiri takes the reader from Massachusetts to Italy to London to Thailand as her characters discover love, freedom and the heartbreak of leaving one family to create another. In the standout title story, a lawyer on maternity leave struggles with her mother's death and her own ambivalence toward motherhood. 'Only Goodness,' about the complexity of loving an addict, contains a darkness that proves the author capable of leaving her usual realm, quiet domestic tragedy, for rougher waters. Reading her stories is hypnotizing — like falling into a dream where colors are brighter, smells sharper and time moves more slowly than in real life." Danielle Trussoni, People

Review:

"Emotionally intricate and exquisitely crafted, Unaccustomed Earth's descriptions of love and conflict are rendered through the lives of people whose traditions include arranged marriages and cultural cohesion. Much of the older generation seeks to honor tradition, and the younger seeks to explore personal choices....One of Lahiri's great strengths is to concentrate myriad conflicts into individual scenes where cultural, romantic and family betrayal coalesce. Like Jane Austen, Lahiri is brilliant at describing ambivalent emotions....Stories of star-crossed lovers are not new, but when handled by Lahiri in the book's second section, 'Hema and Kaushik' becomes a nearly perfect example of the linked story form. The stories are so richly detailed in their accounting of time, and so socially layered, that the meeting feels convincingly like destiny....Masterful." John Holman, Paste

Review:

"Powerful....Lahiri is a genius of the miniature stroke and the great arc." Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Pulitzer Prize winning Lahiri returns with her highly anticipated second collection exploring the inevitable tension brought on by family life. The title story takes on a young mother nervously hosting her widowed father, who is visiting between trips he takes with a lover he has kept secret from his family. What could have easily been a melodramatic soap opera is instead a meticulously crafted piece that accurately depicts the intricacies of the father-daughter relationship. In a departure from Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri divides this book into two parts, devoting the second half to 'Hema and Kaushik,' three stories that together tell the story of a young man and woman who meet as children and reunite years later halfway around the world. The author's ability to flesh out completely even minor characters in every story, and especially in this trio of stories, is what will keep readers invested in the work until its heartbreaking conclusion. Recommended for all public libraries."Sybil Kollappallil, Library Journal

Review:

"Lahiri's finely drawn prose makes [Unaccustomed Earth] feel less like reading and more like peering into the most raw, intimate moments of people's lives." Marie Claire

Review:

"Jhumpa Lahiri already has carved out a distinctive literary niche...her tales of Indians encountering contemporary American lives have resonated with a wide swath of readers. Unaccustomed Earth will only burnish that estimable reputation. It's an emotionally astute, character-driven assortment of stories that carry forward and deepen the themes she's explored in her previous works....Her prose style is graceful, elegant, understated. Like Alice Munro, Lahiri is adept at handling chronology, ranging backward and forward in time, compressing lifetimes into a single artfully crafted paragraph. Relish this gorgeous collection." Harvey Freedenberg, Bookpage

Review:

"Ferociously good...acutely observed....In exquisitely attuned prose, Lahiri notes the clash between generations....She is emotionally precise about her characters and the way the world appears to them, especially in the superb "Hema and Kaushik" [trilogy], which achingly reveals how two very unlikely families end up under one suburban roof, and how destiny entwines them forever. These are unforgettable people, their stories unforgettably well told." Elaina Richardson, O, The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"[Lahiri] explores with her modulated prose a full range of relationships among her subjects. So thoroughly and judiciously does she use detail that she easily presents entire lives with each story. These are tales of careful observation and adjustment....Most moving is the final trio of intertwined stories about loss and connection." The Atlantic

Review:

"Dazzling...[Lahiri's] comparisons with literary masters such as Alice Munro are well-earned. In these eight exquisitely detailed stories, Lahiri is less interested in painful family conflicts than in the private moments of sadness that come in their aftermath. In the outstanding title story, a woman struggles to reconnect with her father and to accept how he has changed since her mother's death. In 'A Choice of Accommodations,' Lahiri writes refreshingly about an aging body....Subtle and wise, Lahiri captures a universal yearning." Carmela Ciuraru, More

Review:

"Lahiri has boasted an enviable literary career since nabbing the Pulitzer for Interpreter of Maladies. Her new story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, should have no problem upholding her reputation....Lahiri delves into the souls of indelible characters struggling with displacement, guilt, and fear as they try to find a balance between the solace and suffocation of tradition and the terror and excitement of the future into which they're being thrust....[Unaccustomed Earth] further establishes her as an important American writer." Kera Bolonik, Bookforum

Review:

"Stunning....Gorgeous....Never before has Lahiri mined so perfectly the secrets of the human heart." USA Today

About the Author

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the author of two previous books. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel, The Namesake, was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

www.jhumpalahiri.net

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

lewistm, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by lewistm)
Jhumpa Lahiri has quickly become one of my favorite authors of all time. Her newest addition, "Unaccustomed Earth," does not l disappoint. Filled with the hope and heartache of those trying to find a place to call their own, while simultaneously finding themselves, this book will make you stop and think long after you have put it down.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
cad56, January 29, 2011 (view all comments by cad56)
Jhumpa Lahiri is one of may favorite authors - she makes the immigrant experience understandable and interesting. The stories in this book are terrific.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
mandylea6, October 17, 2009 (view all comments by mandylea6)
Truly beautiful and devastating. Jhumpa Lahiri's writing effects my heart like few authors are able to.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307278258
Author:
Lahiri, Jhumpa
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Lahiri, Jhumpa
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
Short stories
Subject:
Bengali Americans
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.92x5.30x.78 in. .56 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Featured Titles

Unaccustomed Earth (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307278258 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Unaccustomed Earth is in many ways a deeply and authentically sad book. I would not advise reading the stories too quickly; they will each haunt you for days afterward (and, unusually in a collection like this, they are all equally strong). But Lahiri's prose is worth it; her work is masterful, confident, and timeless, and this gorgeously written collection of stories is her strongest fiction yet.

"Review" by , "Four stars. Beautifully rendered...Unaccustomed Earth explores the dilemmas faced by Bengali immigrants in the west, yet its appeal is universal. Lahiri takes the reader from Massachusetts to Italy to London to Thailand as her characters discover love, freedom and the heartbreak of leaving one family to create another. In the standout title story, a lawyer on maternity leave struggles with her mother's death and her own ambivalence toward motherhood. 'Only Goodness,' about the complexity of loving an addict, contains a darkness that proves the author capable of leaving her usual realm, quiet domestic tragedy, for rougher waters. Reading her stories is hypnotizing — like falling into a dream where colors are brighter, smells sharper and time moves more slowly than in real life."
"Review" by , "Emotionally intricate and exquisitely crafted, Unaccustomed Earth's descriptions of love and conflict are rendered through the lives of people whose traditions include arranged marriages and cultural cohesion. Much of the older generation seeks to honor tradition, and the younger seeks to explore personal choices....One of Lahiri's great strengths is to concentrate myriad conflicts into individual scenes where cultural, romantic and family betrayal coalesce. Like Jane Austen, Lahiri is brilliant at describing ambivalent emotions....Stories of star-crossed lovers are not new, but when handled by Lahiri in the book's second section, 'Hema and Kaushik' becomes a nearly perfect example of the linked story form. The stories are so richly detailed in their accounting of time, and so socially layered, that the meeting feels convincingly like destiny....Masterful."
"Review" by , "Powerful....Lahiri is a genius of the miniature stroke and the great arc."
"Review" by , "Pulitzer Prize winning Lahiri returns with her highly anticipated second collection exploring the inevitable tension brought on by family life. The title story takes on a young mother nervously hosting her widowed father, who is visiting between trips he takes with a lover he has kept secret from his family. What could have easily been a melodramatic soap opera is instead a meticulously crafted piece that accurately depicts the intricacies of the father-daughter relationship. In a departure from Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri divides this book into two parts, devoting the second half to 'Hema and Kaushik,' three stories that together tell the story of a young man and woman who meet as children and reunite years later halfway around the world. The author's ability to flesh out completely even minor characters in every story, and especially in this trio of stories, is what will keep readers invested in the work until its heartbreaking conclusion. Recommended for all public libraries."
"Review" by , "Lahiri's finely drawn prose makes [Unaccustomed Earth] feel less like reading and more like peering into the most raw, intimate moments of people's lives."
"Review" by , "Jhumpa Lahiri already has carved out a distinctive literary niche...her tales of Indians encountering contemporary American lives have resonated with a wide swath of readers. Unaccustomed Earth will only burnish that estimable reputation. It's an emotionally astute, character-driven assortment of stories that carry forward and deepen the themes she's explored in her previous works....Her prose style is graceful, elegant, understated. Like Alice Munro, Lahiri is adept at handling chronology, ranging backward and forward in time, compressing lifetimes into a single artfully crafted paragraph. Relish this gorgeous collection."
"Review" by , "Ferociously good...acutely observed....In exquisitely attuned prose, Lahiri notes the clash between generations....She is emotionally precise about her characters and the way the world appears to them, especially in the superb "Hema and Kaushik" [trilogy], which achingly reveals how two very unlikely families end up under one suburban roof, and how destiny entwines them forever. These are unforgettable people, their stories unforgettably well told."
"Review" by , "[Lahiri] explores with her modulated prose a full range of relationships among her subjects. So thoroughly and judiciously does she use detail that she easily presents entire lives with each story. These are tales of careful observation and adjustment....Most moving is the final trio of intertwined stories about loss and connection."
"Review" by , "Dazzling...[Lahiri's] comparisons with literary masters such as Alice Munro are well-earned. In these eight exquisitely detailed stories, Lahiri is less interested in painful family conflicts than in the private moments of sadness that come in their aftermath. In the outstanding title story, a woman struggles to reconnect with her father and to accept how he has changed since her mother's death. In 'A Choice of Accommodations,' Lahiri writes refreshingly about an aging body....Subtle and wise, Lahiri captures a universal yearning."
"Review" by , "Lahiri has boasted an enviable literary career since nabbing the Pulitzer for Interpreter of Maladies. Her new story collection, Unaccustomed Earth, should have no problem upholding her reputation....Lahiri delves into the souls of indelible characters struggling with displacement, guilt, and fear as they try to find a balance between the solace and suffocation of tradition and the terror and excitement of the future into which they're being thrust....[Unaccustomed Earth] further establishes her as an important American writer."
"Review" by , "Stunning....Gorgeous....Never before has Lahiri mined so perfectly the secrets of the human heart."
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