I just finished reading a book by Jhumpa Lahari -“Unaccustomed Earth”. Her language might be good but her narrating the story has something missing. It seems as if she is not involved in the story – she simply narrates what she sees.
Most of the stories were sad, unhappy ending – death and illness. Fine – the tittle suggest that life is not what you always want but it doesn’t mean it has to be deppressing. It can be unexpected but still pleasing.
First half had 5 stories – from which the first story (also the tittle story) and the second story “Hell Heaven” was good. The rest three were so-s0 ; even story wise they didn’t tell much. Some wise men said “short stories are difficult to write” – so true.
Second half was a sort of novalla – written in 3 parts. At first it seemed 3 different stories – but as i read the last part (story) – i realised its the same story. First part by a girl (Hema) and next narrated by a third person as from the view point of a young man – Kaushik. In the end part – they meet each other – spend some days together and seperate again. The story so far was good – even Hema gets married to some one else (to whom she was engaged) – that fine too. But ms. Lahari wasn’t satisfied – she wanted it to be the ultimate sad. Kaushik died in Thailand in Sunami – (he had the worse life one can imagine – in childhood mother died , father remarry, had a unsettled teenage and adulthood.) Hema is pregnant with his husband’s child. It seemed she was happy in life.
Her idea of writing a novella in this way was good – but why do people have to be so deppressing. May be she read to many of Sarat chandra Chattopadhyay (but he was a legend). For me if the story is bad – there is no point of having her uncomman elegance and poise.
Her second book “The Namesake” was good. I have read another writer “Bharti Mukherjee” (Desireable Daughters) base in United States. I have not read a worse book than that.
I have come to a conclusion – the writers who are Indian by origin but settled in the States lack the ability to tell story or create a story. They lack the plot – creativeness, atmosphere, involvement in the story – something is missing. By reading the book it seems, they are simply narrating some incident or facts.
I would really prefer to read another book by Anita Nair – she seems to be far much better.