Monday, June 21, 2010

#57 The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli, Bengali emigrants, name their baby son “Gogol” when a letter from Ashima’s grandmother containing a Bengali name for the baby never arrives. It is the family tradition to have a family elder name new children, and the missing letter symbolizes the inner search that the child must undertake to find his own identity as a Bengali-American. Gogol Ganguli, a.k.a. Nikil, a.k.a. Nick, changes his name in order to shake off his Bengali culture, but soon discovers that changing one’s name does not change one’s heritage or history. Seems like a rose isn’t the only thing that by any other name would still remain the same.

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