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Where Jhumpa Lahiri finds herself linguistically

Jhumpa Lahiri wrote her latest novel in Italian. Afterwards she translated it into English herself. The deliberate shift in her own language focus invites me to question several things: the linguistic pressure to conform that migrants of Colour often experience. And the common idea that people can only express themselves well in one language – their mother tongue.

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Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut novel tells the story of the Ganguli family: Ashoke and Ashima, originally from Bengal, migrate to the North-eastern United States in the 1960s. They have two children there, and the novel follows the experiences of their firstborn son. It’s a novel about living in between places, cultures and assigned identities.

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