'The Namesake' is the story of a boy brought up Indian in America.
Gogol Ganguli is headed for paradise, a place of satisfaction and fulfilment. He doesn't really know it as he travels through his life toward his destination. He is only aware that he is not quite at ease with himself, and for a long time he thinks it's all because of his name . . .
His journey begins by train. But Gogol is not on it. Rather it was a train whose fateful journey gave his father, Ashoke Ganguli - a Bengali in America, awkward in his new surroundings - both a brush with morality and the name of his firstborn son.
Brought up as an Indian in suburban America, Gogol finds himself itching to cast off the inherited values and priorities that his parents drape over him. He escapes into Education and is educated above all in new ways of living, new ways of making a family, new ways of being married. He is shown a perfect home, then - to his delight and surprise - invited into it, for good.
But still he is an Indian in America, and, once you get to the furthest point there, there's nowhere else to go but back.
In 'The Namesake', Jhumpa Lahiri presents her readers with the entirely satisfying novel that those who loved the clarity, sympathy and grace of her prize-winning debut, the story collection 'Interpreter Of Maladies', longed for and anticipated. It is a triumph of humane storytelling.