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Jhumpa Lahiri Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Namesake (2003)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lowland (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Whereabouts (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Hell-Heaven (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

Interpreter of Maladies (1999)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Unaccustomed Earth (2008)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

In Other Words (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Clothing of Books (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

One World: A Global Anthology of Short Stories(2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories(2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London, England on July 11, 1967, and is the daughter of Indian immigrants from the Indian state of West Bengal. When she was three, her family moved to the United States; Lahiri now considers herself an American, feeling that even though she wasn’t born here, she may as well have been. She grew up in Kingston, Rhode Island, where her dad (Amar Lahiri) worked at the University of Rhode Island as a librarian.

When she started kindergarten in Kingston, Rhode Island, Lahiri’s teacher chose to call by her pet name, Jhumpa, because it was much easier to pronounce than her “proper name”.

She graduated from South Kingstown High School and got her BA in English literature from Barnard College of Columbia University in the year 1989. then she received multiple degrees from Boston University: an MFA in Creative Writing, an MA in English, an MA in Comparative Literature, and a PhD in Renaissance Studies. Jhumpa has also taught creative writing at the Rhode Island School of Design and Boston University.

Jhumpa’s early short fiction faced rejection from publishers for years. Her first short story collection “Interpreter of Maladies” was finally released in the year 1999. These stories address sensitive dilemmas in the lives of different Indians or Indian immigrants, with themes like the bereavement over a stillborn child, marital difficulties, and the disconnection between first and second generation United States immigrants.

What drew her to the craft of writing was the desire to force the two worlds she occupied to mingle on the page since she wasn’t brave enough or mature enough to allow in her life.

Her short story collection, “Interpreter of Maladies” received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the year 2000, making it only the seventh time that a story collection has won this award. The book also won a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best Fiction Debut of the Year. The story “Interpreter of Maladies” won an O. Henry.

The theme and plot of “The Namesake” was influenced in part by a family tale she heard while growing up. Her dad’s cousin was involved in a train wreck and only was saved when the workers saw a beam of light reflected off a watch that he wore.

In the year 2007, a film adaptation of “The Namesake” was released, and was directed by Mira Nair and starred Kal Penn as Gogol.

“The Namesake” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2003. This novel follows the Ganguli family through its journey from Calcutta off to Cambridge then to the Boston suburbs. Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli show up in America at the end of the sixties, just after their arranged marriage in Calcutta, in order for Ashoke to attend MIT to complete his engineering degree. Ashoke is forward-thinking, ready to enter into American culture if not fully, then at least with an open mind. His young bride is much less malleable. Isolated and desperately missing her gigantic family back in India, she’s never going to be at peace with this new world.

Their first child is born, shortly after they arrive in Cambridge, and it is a boy. According to Indian custom, the boy is to be given two names: one an official name, to be given by the great-grandmother, and a pet name that is to be used by the family only. However the letter from India with the child’s official name never shows up, and so the baby’s parents decide on a pet name to use in the meantime.

Ashoke picks a name that has particular significance for him: during a train trip back in India several years previously. He was reading a short story collection by Nikolai Gogol (one of his most beloved Russian writers) when the train derailed in the dead of night, killing almost all of the sleeping passengers on board. Ashoke stayed up to read his Gogol, and believes that the book saved his life. His child is going to be known, then, as Gogol.

“Unaccustomed Earth” is the second short story collection, released in the year 2008. These eight stories take the reader from Seattle and Cambridge to Thailand and India while they enter into the lives of brothers and sisters, moms and dads, lovers and friends, sons and daughters.

In the startling title story, a young mom in a new city, named Ruma, is visited by her dad, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. However he harbors a secret from his daughter, a love affair he keeps to himself. In “A Choice of Accommodations”, a husband’s attempt to turn an old buddy’s wedding into a romantic getaway weekend with his wife takes on a revealing and dark turn while the party lasts deep into the night.

In “Only Goodness”, one sister that is eager to give her little brother the perfect childhood that she never had is overwhelmed by anguish, guilt, and anger when his alcoholism threatens her family.

“The Lowland” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2013. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. Two brothers bound by tragedy. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death.

Born only fifteen months apart, Udayan and Subhash Mitra are inseparable brothers, one is often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. However they are also opposites, with gravely different futures. It is the sixties, and Udayan, impulsive and charismatic, finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion that is waged to eradicate poverty and inequity. He will give everything and risk it all for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, doesn’t share in his brother’s political passion, and leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a peaceful, coastal corner of America.

However when Subhash finds out what happened to his brother in the lowland outside of their family’s home, he returns to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a ruined family, and heal the wounds that Udayan left behind. Including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife.

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