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Book Review: Unaccustomed Earth

As I expected, it was enjoyable and at parts heartbreaking.

It was broken up into 2 parts- the first made up of 5 stories and the second made out of 3 intertwining stories.

My favorites being the first the first chapter, Unaccustomed Earth, a daughter expecting her second child and her recently widower aging father. She’s worried that her father is too old to be living on his own and struggles to ask him to move in with her and her family as he struggles to tell his daughter about a woman he has met during his travels. Every now and then one of the characters, usually the daughter, would reminisce about her mother and make reference about and Indian culture she rarely used.

The other favorite was actually the second part of the book. Three stories that were about Hema and Kaushik at various parts of the their lives. The first chapter was Hema at 13yrs old and how her family had allowed old family friends stay with them for a few weeks. The story is told by Hema as if she were writing it for Kaushik, the son of the family friends who was just a few years older than her. Kaushik told the second chapter when he’s 21yrs old and going back home for the holidays to a father who had recently remarried. In the last chapter they meet again since Hema’s story and how that brief encounter changed the rest of their lives.

All the other stories were really good reads as well. I always feel like I can relate to the characters because a lot of them have been Americanized in the way their parents or grandparents haven’t. You get a glimpse of the traditions that a lot of immigrant parents want to instill into their children, but it’s the children that have the hardest time trying to respect their parents and culture and trying to live the way their peers do. I also enjoyed when it made reference to a restaurant that my boyfriend and I ate at once. These things make the stories seem believable and that’s why, although being short stories, they make you care for them and hope that their lives will be okay.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rating: 5/5 stars

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