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Book Discussion of "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri

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Tottenville Branch had a book discussion last night on The Namesake. It went very well, but wasn’t quite as lively as last month’s discussion of Running With Scissors! The group liked The Namesake, and were sympathetic to the characters, by and large, and their difficulties in adapting to American culture, and being caught between India and the U.S., especially for the second generation character, Gogol, who is the main character of the book. Some of the participants thought he was a bit too laid back, even being described as disengaged. There was kind of a long discussion of arranged marriages, with some thinking they were and are horrific, but some did talk about what they felt were possible positives, and contrasted it to the problems in American marriages and the high divorce rate. I did have to bring it back to the book, but it was an interesting side discussion.

Most agreed it was a pretty fast reading book, although there were mild complaints that not much happened, especially in the first half of the book. But all agreed the book is an interesting look into the Indian-American community, and the issues and problems they have to deal with. Also, I think, a look into contemporary mores of the 20 and 30 something generation.

A good book for a book discussion.

And next month, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

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