2007: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri


The Namesake

“An avidly detailed and luxuriously paced first novel about an Indian-born doctoral candidate at MIT who resents his unusual name, Gogol, and tries his best to shed his Indianness.”
Booklist, Nov 15, 2003

We invite the Williams Community to join us this January in our campus’s first “Williams Reads” program, in which students, faculty, and staff read, consider, and discuss The Namesake, a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri received a Williams honorary degree in 2005 and won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for her collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies. In The Namesake, she explores issues of cultural and social identity through the experiences of a Bengali family settling in New England. Intergenerational tensions and other coming-of-age themes are richly evoked.

Beginning January 3, free copies of The Namesake will be available at Goodrich Hall, Droppers House, the Science Atrium, and the lobbies of Sawyer, Stetson, and Bronfman. Pick one up and start reading!

Please join us for our opening night event at Goodrich Hall on Wednesday, January 3 at 7:00 p.m. Community members will read from The Namesake, and the film Mississippi Masala will be shown at 8:00 p.m.

Other community events will follow in the month of January. From Tuesday, January 16 – Friday, January 19, open community book discussions will be held daily at noon and at 4:00 p.m. Locations will be posted here at a later date.

On Friday, January 19 at 4:00 p.m. there will be a free showing of The Wedding Banquet at Images Cinema, followed by a discussion.

Groups of students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to discuss the book independently of these open community events. To encourage such group discussions, modest funds for refreshments are available.

We look forward to participating in and learning from the many conversations catalyzed by “Williams Reads.” We hope you will join us.

Morton Owen Schapiro, President
Michael Reed, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity
Wendy Raymond, Chair, Committee on Diversity and Community

About the Book and the Author

About the Author Interviews Book Reviews
“My Two Lives. The Pulitzer-winning writer felt intense pressure to be at once ‘loyal to the old world and fluent in the new’”, Newsweek, March 6, 2006
Crossing Over”, New York Times, September 7, 2003 Profile from Contemporary Authors Online
Note: You must be on campus or use the proxy server to access these Williams-only links.

Charlie Rose’s interview of Jhumpa Lahiri, October 29, 2003

Jhumpa Lahiri on Fresh Air (NPR), September 4 2003

A conversation with Jhumpa Lahiri (transcript).

Jhumpa Lahiri. The Namesake.(Book Review), Ramlal Agarwal
World Literature Today, Sept-Dec 2004
Virtues of ambition.(The Namesake)(Book Review), David H. Lynn
The Kenyon Review, Summer 2004Called to account
Sunday Times (London, England,) Jan 18, 2004Born in the U.S.A. (Book Review), Sam Munson
Commentary, Nov 2003

Schedule of Events

1/16 @ 4:00 PM
Gail Bouknight-Davis and Ananda Burra ’07
Hardy House Living Room
1/17 @4:00 PM
Wendy Raymond and Auyon Mukharji ’07
LOCATION CHANGE: Dodd Living Room (NOT Stetson Lounge)
1/18 @ Noon
Molly Magavern and Carolyn Quan ’08
Hardy House Living Room
1/18 @ 4:00 PM
Kareem Khubchandani and Kiana Scott ’07
Hardy House Living Room
Lili Rodriguez and Bernie Rhie
Dodd Living Room