You’re going to hear us talking a lot about One Book, One Watertown here, so we thought we’d tempt you to get reading by telling you about the book The Namesake. The Namesake was written by Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer Prize with her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies. The Namesake is a family history, encompassing two generations of an immigrant family that gains and loses more than they expect in their pursuit of the American Dream. The book is primarily concerned with the son, Gogol, son of Ashoke Ganguli, who left Calcutta with his wife Ashima to settle in Central Square, and his struggle to define his own values against the two warring cultures. The New York Times called the book, “that rare thing: an intimate, closely observed family portrait that effortlessly and discreetly unfolds to disclose a capacious social vision.”
Jhumpa Lahiri was born 1967 in London, England, and raised in Rhode Island. She is a graduate of Barnard College, where she received a B.A. in English literature, and of Boston University, where she received an M.A. in English, M.A. in Creative Writing and M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies, won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was translated into twenty-nine languages and became a bestseller both in the United States and abroad. In addition to the Pulitzer, it received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New Yorker Debut of the Year award, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Addison Metcalf Award, and a nomination for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Lahiri was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. The Namesake is Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel. She lives in New York with her husband and son.