Unaccustomed Earth by jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed Earth is the collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. There are total eight stories among which five are distant and last three are inter-related. All the stories are about Bengali Indian migrated to America for a better life and opportunity.  

The author explores various kind of relationship one develops in course of journey. In the first story a widower father gives more preference to a complete stranger to live rest of his life than her daughter.

In second story a woman develops soft feelings for a stranger and started enjoying his company. But ultimately she finds solace in her husband who ignored her during initial years of their marriage but became soul-mates in later years of life.

Then the third story is about a couple with perfect life yet past crush brings weird distances in their relationship. And almost under weird circumstances they again come close to each other.

Fourth story carry’s a message that parents never give up on their children how disappointing they grew up to be but the same thing cannot be true for other relations be it a blood tie.

Fifth and the last story was about two women who had been cheated by the same guy but kept on falling for him.

Last three stories were inter-related. It is about Hema and Kaushik who meets in their teenagers day when Kaushik’s family shifts back to America from India latter’s family stayed with former for few weeks. They met again as grown up and fell for each other but fate has some other plans for them.

Personally I am not a big fan of short stories but Jhumpa Lahiri’s seamless writing style kept me hooked to the book. She always took her sweet time to develop the story and open up slowly. The story goes on at the specific pace in specific direction but when readers almost predict the ending, a twist comes and the climax of the stories are completely unexpected. All the stories used to come to an abrupt end leaving on readers to guess what exactly happened.

Stories are not dark nor are the characters. All are just normal characters with their good and bad traits and react to the situations just like any normal human being will react in real life. This is the stunning USP of the book which connects a cord with the readers and one could find their own stories in them.

These short stories are written in the trademark style of Jhumpa Lahiri. She adds so much depth to the story giving minutest and intricate details about the past and present of all the characters it feels like living with them and knowing them inside out. 

Together these short stories has covered many aspect of relationship like that of parents and children both good and bad. Relation of siblings and husband-wife. There are plethora of various kinds of emotions in the book like jealousy and outrage to sorrow, regret and desperation, anger and understanding. 

The Verdict:

It could be a good read for anyone who loves reading Short Stories which has depth, richness and resonance in the stories and characters. There are layers of mystery in the stories which keeps one guessing about the climax of the story but the author always has the last laugh as the ending are always out of the box.


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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.

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