Between the Lines Book Club: A Brief Biography of Jhumpa Lahiri

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club, where we are discussing The Lowland every Friday in June. We’ll be meeting in person at Arden Dimick Library in Sacramento, CA at 10:30 AM on June 27 at 10:30AM. Meet us there, or hang out with us in the comments!

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in 1967 with the name “Nilanjana Sudeshna”. Jhumpa is her nickname, and the name she uses publicly. Her parents moved from West Bengal to London before she was born. Lahiri was born in London, but the family moved to Rhode Island when she was two and she identifies as American as opposed to British. She travelled often to India with her mother as a child. Today she lives in Rome, Italy, with her husband, who is Guatemalan-American, and their children. Many of her books and stories involve migration and identity.

Lahiri’s first book was a short story anthology called The Interpreter of Maladies, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000. In a 2006 interview in Newsweek, Lahiri said:

“When I first started writing I was not conscious that my subject was the Indian-American experience. What drew me to my craft was the desire to force the two worlds I occupied to mingle on the page as I was not brave enough, or mature enough, to allow in life.”

Lahiri’s second book, The Namesake, was made into a critically acclaimed movie. The book describes the tensions between a couple that moves to the US from India, and their son who wishes to be fully Americanized. Here’s a trailer for the film:

Her next book, another short story collection, was titled The Unaccustomed Earth. Like The Lowland, this book follows not only first generation immigrants but second and third generation immigrants.

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