The immigrant experience: Unaccustomed Earth

Toward the end of “Going Ashore,” the last and most panoramically all-encompassing of the eight short stories that comprise Jhumpa Lahiri’s new collection, Unaccustomed Earth, there’s a superb passage that exemplifies one of the author’s greatest strengths as a storyteller.

Hema, a 37-year-old classics professor at Wellesley, takes an impromptu sabbatical to Rome in order to have some time to herself prior to embarking on an arranged marriage with a Bengali man she scarcely knows. She spends her days sequestered in front of a laptop in a colleague’s borrowed apartment, until a chance reunion with a childhood acquaintance, Kaushik, who’s now a photojournalist with a portfolio of vivid atrocities, spirals her placid existence into fantasias of passion.

Continue reading at Northwest Asian Weekly.

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