Pulitzer-prize winning Jhumpa Lahiri's novel spans the first three decades of a young man's life. Born in the late 1960s to Indian immigrants living in the American suburbs, Gogol – the protagonist – tries to distance himself from his parents' life of doggedly maintained Bengali rituals. At the same time he often feels like an outsider among his American friends. Eventually he learns to live with his ambivalence about his cultural heritage. Lahiri has written an engrossing story which explores concepts of rootlessness, tradition and cultural identity, of what is acquired and lost by immigrants and their children in pursuit of the American Dream.
Participants are requested to read parts of the text at home as preparation for the discussion in class.