The Namesake

I came to Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake by watching the movie first and then having the book be my only available reading material when I had to stay in the car while the baby sleeps.* Now that I’ve finished it, I wish I’d read it much earlier.

*He wakes up when we take him out of the car seat. Is much better on everyone to let a sleeping baby lie.

It’s somewhat rare for me to read a book where I find myself really identifying with elements of the story. In this case, there were large portions of the book which I could relate to. Only with an unexpected twist. Rather than relating to the protagonists, I found myself relating to the white/educated establishment that Gogol and his family find themselves interacting with. And I found myself seeing elements of my in-laws in Gogol’s family.

My wife agrees with my reaction. As a result, we’ve had many interesting conversations about the way families change through the generations. She found herself relating a lot to Gogol and his place in life at the end of the book. I found myself thinking about the future and how the next generation will be.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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