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Fashion Book–The Namesake

2010 September 16

A few years after the hype, I am finally reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. I’m a little more than halfway in, and I really love it. I read Unaccustomed Earth last year as my first book club pick and enjoyed that, but I’m liking this one more–in the right novel, the characters just stay with you in a more resonant way than short stories.

The Namesake , like most of Lahiri’s writing, focuses on the dichotomy of identity that comes from being an American with a strong cultural heritage (Indian, in this case). The story’s main protaganist is Gogol, a man born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Indian parents, Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli. Their marriage was arranged and they surround themselves with Bengali friends, customs, and food, though their children rapidly adopt distinctly American ways of living. Gogol especially feels conflicted about his Indian heritage, refusing to associate himself with Bengali traditions and eventually changing his name to escape from what he feels is an overwhelming sense of “otherness.”

Though Gogol’s story is central to the book, the story begins with his mother Ashima’s journey to America from India, leaving her home and family behind to live with a man she hardly knows in Boston, a cold and foreign city. Though she gradually becomes accustomed to America, she never fully leaves her culture behind, continuing to dress in saris and wear a bindi even after her husband discards his more formal dress in favor of t-shirts and flipflops.

I’m always struck by the beauty of traditional Indian dress–the colors are so vibrant, the fabrics so rich, the shine and shimmer not gaudy. I wanted to create a look based on that feeling, and here’s what I came up with. What do you think?

The Namesake

Jason Wu silk sheath dress

Christian Dior shoes

Halston Heritage Susan clutch

Alex and Ani Kamba expandable wire bangles at Max and Chloe

Kendra Scott Bryce ring

Halleh gold stud earrings

Cole Haan London Laced Thru belt

Louis Mariette pearl embellished headband

4 Responses Post a comment
  1. September 16, 2010

    I want to have sex with those shoes.

    I mean… it is a beautiful outfit. :)

  2. Amanda permalink
    September 16, 2010

    I really liked The Namesake! The movie wasn’t bad, either, surprisingly.

    More importantly, you can buy me this outfit for Christmas :)

  3. September 19, 2010

    OMG I loved “The Namesake” and the movie. Her collection of short stories is also fantastic, although I can’t recall the name of it. Grr. Check it out though. She is a wonderful writer.

  4. meghan permalink
    September 22, 2010

    interpreter of maladies is her first short story collection that someone above mentioned; i think you’ll like it! as for the namesake i LOVE the book. the movie is good but is somewhat disappointing in my opinion. then again, movie versions of books usually are!

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