Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Namesake

[I read this several weeks ago, and I feel even less inclined to recommend it after the mulling period.]

"Meh" is really all I have to say. I really WANTED to like this book; and, for that matter, did - to some extent. The strongest thing about it is the way Lahiri describes some of the emotions of an Indian born and raised in America. If I weren't an ABCD, myself, though, I don't know that even that would really be very meaningful to me.

Overall, the story was mildly interesting, but not thrilling or particularly deep. In fact, she tried far too much to be deep, sounding trite with some frequency. Some parts were downright cheesy (Near the end, so a slight spoiler: "Without people in the world to call him Gogol, no matter how long he himself lives, Gogol Ganguli will, once and for all, vanish from the lips of loved ones, and so, cease to exist. Yet the thought of this eventual demise provides no sense of victory, no solace. It provides no solace at all."

The writing wasn't anything about which to rave - in fact, it was overdone or underdone most of the time (there was a weird dichotomy between wanting to sound colloquial and thus using dangling participles, etc., but then using overly elaborate verbiage in other parts). The charaters weren't particularly loveable or identifiable. They also did not stay true to themselves, or to what they were written to be. The story...the story was interesting, but frustrating. It didn't seem to have a point. I was rather annoyed in a lot of places. There was a lot of unnecessary sexual escapades that while weren't graphic, seemed to just be thrown in as attention-grabbing devices.

And the whole name thing...oh, the name thing. Was. just. ridiculous. It didn't make any sense to me and seemed to be blown way out of proportion. It just seemed to be some random common strain around which to develop a book that really had no other purpose. The second half of the book strayed completely, anyway. Oh, and the second half - it was worse than the first. It meandered all over the place and was so ridiculously predictable. I was totally bored by it.

All that said, it was interesting. I kept reading. I wanted to find out what happened despite the fact that I already knew. I guess that counts for something.

Overall, a marginally-better-than-average book.


Mandy said...

Preethi- Soren and I watched the movie a couple of months ago and had the same feelings. At the end I was really confused about the name and how it played in. I am glad we were not the only ones a little confused about the story.

side note, are you guys still planning on moving down to washington DC?


TheMoncurs said...

I hadn't realized this was originally a book, but I watched the movie a few weeks ago and felt the same way. Just meh. Trying too hard to be too deep. Sad, because it really had potential.