July 7, 2009

Unaccustomed Earth

I recently read Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth, a compilation of short stories about transplanting and reseeding yourself into new families, countries, jobs, and relationships. The New York Times Book Review has a beautiful description:

...America is still a place where the rest of the world comes to reinvent itself — accepting with excitement and anxiety the necessity of leaving behind the constrictions and comforts of distant customs — is the underlying theme of Jhumpa Lahiri’s sensitive new collection of stories, “Unaccustomed Earth.” Here, as in her first collection, “Interpreter of Maladies,” and her novel, “The Namesake,” Lahiri, who is of Bengali descent but was born in London, raised in Rhode Island and today makes her home in Brooklyn, shows that the place to which you feel the strongest attachment isn’t necessarily the country you’re tied to by blood or birth: it’s the place that allows you to become yourself. This place, she quietly indicates, may not lie on any map.