Alfred A. Knopf publishers, New York; fifth printing April 2008; hardbound with ivory boards and gilt lettering on spine; decorative dust cover; very good condition of book, appears unread; clean unmarked pages; see pics.
Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of short stories from Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri. This is her second collection of stories, the first being the Pulitzer-winning Interpreter of Maladies. As with much of Lahiri's work, Unaccustomed Earth considers the lives of Bengali American characters and how they deal with their mixed cultural environment.
The title story of the book is about the family relationships between three generations: the father, his daughter, Ruma, and her son, Akash. The father, a retiree and recent widower, visits his daughter's new home in the suburbs of Seattle. Ruma has left her successful legal career to raise children, and her husband works hard to support the family. Although more traditional her father tries to persuade her to continue her legal career while being a mother. The father was somewhat unhappy with his once-traditional lifestyle and is enjoying his newly found independence in his travels and a relationship with a new female friend. The father and the daughter have limited communication, both afraid to acknowledge they have moved away from their Bengali culture and have embraced aspects of the American culture. Akash, the grandson, is completely immersed in American culture but becomes fascinated by his grandfather's habits, such as his language, that are foreign to him.
The story explores gender roles in America and family issues associated with Ruma's Bengali heritage, including her sense of obligation to care for her father and have him live with her and her immediate family. Also present is the dilemma of coming between another person's happiness, a situation Ruma encounters when she learns of her father's love interest.