by Julie HaleSeptember 2004
In this best-selling follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri continues her insightful exploration of the immigrant experience. During the late 1960s, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli leave India and settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he works as a professor of engineering and she gives birth to their son, Gogol. Named after the famous Russian writer, Gogol grows up to become a brilliant student, graduating from Yale and embarking on a career as an architect. Yet, despite his successes, he never quite fits in. Ill at ease with his heritage, he fails to connect with anyone until his mother sets him up on a date with a young Indian-American woman who like Gogol is ambivalent about her past. Writing with a keen eye for authentic detail, Lahiri has produced a provocative novel about tradition, cultural inheritance and the burden of history. A reading group guide is available online at www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.