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Unaccustomed Earth: Stories | [Jhumpa Lahiri]

Unaccustomed Earth: Stories

From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he's harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he's keeping all to himself.
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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand.

In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he's harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he's keeping all to himself.

In "A Choice of Accommodations", a husband's attempt to turn an old friend's wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes a dark, revealing turn as the party lasts deep into the night.

In "Only Goodness", a sister eager to give her younger brother the perfect childhood she never had is overwhelmed by guilt, anguish, and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family.

And in "Hema and Kaushik" - a trio of linked stories and a luminous, intensely compelling elegy of life, death, love, and fate - we follow the lives of a girl and boy who, one winter, share a house in Massachusetts. They travel from innocence to experience on separate, sometimes painful paths, until destiny brings them together again years later in Rome.

©2008 Jhumpa Lahiri; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Lahiri's enormous gifts as a storyteller are on full display in this collection: the gorgeous, effortless prose; the characters haunted by regret, isolation, loss, and tragedies big and small; and most of all, a quiet, emerging sense of humanity." (Khaled Hosseini)
"The author's ability to flesh out completely even minor characters in every story...is what will keep readers invested in the work until its heartbreaking conclusion." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (501 )
5 star
 (188)
4 star
 (159)
3 star
 (94)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (25)
Overall
4.1 (109 )
5 star
 (47)
4 star
 (37)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (3)
Story
4.3 (107 )
5 star
 (51)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Bonnie N. Redington Beach, FL, USA 03-30-10
    Bonnie N. Redington Beach, FL, USA 03-30-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    I really enjoyed the stories in this book. The characters spring to life with strong human emotion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Kent, WA, USA 01-11-10
    Christian Kent, WA, USA 01-11-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "All the LONG stories tend to blend together"

    I initially enjoyed the first few stories in the book, both because they were something different, as well as getting a first glimpse into mixed Indian-American culture.

    But as other reviewers have noted, the stories eventually seem to all sound the same, and by the end I couldn't wait to be done with this book.

    I was further disappointed because most of the characters are miserable (to various degrees), and two of the tragic endings rely on completely implausible circumstances -- the resolutions come across as lazy, since the reader can imagine plausible circumstances that could have yielded the same results.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vickie Concord, CA, USA 08-22-09
    Vickie Concord, CA, USA 08-22-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Great book, highly recommended"

    Excellent book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Santa Monica, CA, United States 07-11-09
    Robin Santa Monica, CA, United States 07-11-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    92
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Real characters + truth in relationships."

    Real characters & truth in relationships connect us all. Beautifully written.
    For once, a cast of decent readers! This is a beautiful book and I only wished each character would tell me more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earlene Hacienda Heights, CA, USA 07-04-09
    Earlene Hacienda Heights, CA, USA 07-04-09 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Great book."

    Fell in love with the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zakir Ashland, OR, USA 02-02-09
    Zakir Ashland, OR, USA 02-02-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    41
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great read!"

    The book is a few short stories of second generation Bengalis in the US. Good storytelling that makes the mundane interesting.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina Kingwood, TX, USA 01-09-09
    Christina Kingwood, TX, USA 01-09-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Hated it"

    I had had enough of angst ridden Bengali's at the end of this.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sunflower USA 06-02-09
    sunflower USA 06-02-09 Member Since 2001

    sunflower

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Loved it!"

    Great read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim's Opinion Atlanta, GA United States 05-24-09
    Jim's Opinion Atlanta, GA United States 05-24-09 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "The opposite of "Couldn't put it down!""

    I wish I would have read Isabelle's review before wasting a credit:
    "It was so uninteresting to me that I hardly could go to the second story...In fact, I didn't and will not try listen to the rest of it."
    As I just did the same thing. I'll keep it on my Ipod when I run out of things to do, I just might go to book 2.




    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 05-19-09
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 05-19-09 Member Since 2008

    I Like scifi-fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Wot, Got, Pillars of Earth, Century trilogy. Last read: Maritan. luvd it

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    64
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Read it just once and forget about it....."

    This is a book of those bunch of short stories, some of them which are plain right boring and don't reach anywhere with their storyline. All stories have roots to Bengal, India and seriously it wouldn't have made any difference otherwise. Definitely overrated. Writing this review, I don't even remember some of the stories. Phew...

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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