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Monday, May 25, 2015

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri: First Page Mondays


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If you have read my previous posts on the blog, you would know that I am not a fan of short stories and do not enjoy reading them at all, no matter how popular the book. But all that changes with Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is not surprising that Jhumpa has been called the 'thinking man's poster woman' and I find nothing offensive in that. In fact, I feel she is one of the most amazing and talented writers I have come across, male or female.

I have only just begun reading this book of hers and am now on the third story....till now the read has been beautiful, and it continues to keep alive my belief in her as a writer who can bring out different stories and human windows each time she comes up with a new book...I am absolutely loving it...

For now, here is the first page from the book....the first story is called Unaccustomed Earth

UNACCUSTOMED EARTH

After her mother's death, Ruma's father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he'd never seen. In the past year he had visited France, Holland and most recently Italy. They were package tours, traveling in the company of strangers, riding by bus through the countryside, each meal and museum and hotel
prearranged. He was gone for two, three, sometimes four weeks at a time. When he was away, Ruma did not hear from him. Each time, she kept the printout of his flight information behind a magnet on the door of the refrigerator, and on the days he was scheduled to fly she watched the news, to make sure there hadn't been a plane crash anywhere in the world.

Occasionally a postcard would arrive in Seattle, where Ruma and Adam and their son Akash lived. The postcards showed the facades of churches, stone fountains, crowded piazzas, terracotta rooftops mellowed by late afternoon sun. Nearly fifteen years had passed since Ruma's only European adventure, a month-long EuroRail holiday she'd taken with two girlfriends after college, with money saved up from her salary as a paralegal. She'd slept in shabby pensions, practicing a frugality that......


- Debolina Raja Gupta