by Lahiri, Jhumpa

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A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladiesu2014her first in nearly a decade. *A Most Anticipated Novel of 2021 from Buzzfeed; O, The Oprah Magazine; TIME; Vulture; Vogue; LitHub; and Harper's Bazaar* Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. Lahiri’s narrator, a woman questioning her place in the world, wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone.We follow her to the pool she frequents, and to the train station that leads to her mother, who is mired in her own solitude after her husband’s untimely death. Among those who appear on this woman’s path are colleagues with whom she feels ill at ease, casual acquaintances, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change. This is the first novel Lahiri has written in Italian and translated into English. The reader will find the qualities that make Lahiri’s work so beloved: deep intelligence and feeling, richly textured physical and emotional landscapes, and a poetics of dislocation. But Whereabouts, brimming with the impulse to cross barriers, also signals a bold shift of style and sensibility. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.  
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Lahiri's passion for Italian inspired her to write In Other Words (2016), her first nonfiction book, in that language; to translate two novels by Italian writer Domenico Starnone, and to write this novel in Italian, then translate it into English. The result of this process is language that seems to have been sieved through a fine mesh, each word a gleaming gemstone. Such expressive refinement perfectly embodies Lahiri's unnamed, solitary narrator, a woman in her forties who teaches at a university and lives alone in an unnamed Italian city. Declaring, "Solitude: it's become my trade," she examines her life in first person vignettes, each yoked to her whereabouts in chapters with such titles as "In the Piazza," "In My Head," and "On the Couch." There is melancholy here, but these concentrated, exquisitely detailed, poignant, and rueful episodes also pulse with the narrator's devotion to observation and her pushing through depression to live on her terms. She muses over her "unhappy origins" and recounts her disappointing love life, but she also exalts in her lively neighborhood, in the country beneath skies as moody as she is, and by the tempestuous sea, all while recording her stealthy battle against her tendency to burrow into her shell. With a painterly interplay of light and shadows, Lahiri creates an incisive and captivating evocation of the nature and nexus of place and self.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lahiri's acclaim and literary intrepidness will lure fiction lovers to her first novel since The Lowland (2013), a Man Booker finalist."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The latest from Pulitzer winner Lahiri (The Interpreter of Maladies) is a meditative and aching snapshot of a life in suspension. The unnamed narrator, a single, middle-aged woman, lives a quiet life in an unnamed Italian city, ambling between cafes and storefronts, dinner parties with friends, and a leisurely career as a writer and teacher. The tranquil surface of her life belies a deeper unrest: a frayed, distant relationship with her widowed mother, romantic longings projected onto unavailable friends, and constant second-guessing of the paths her life has taken. The novel is told in short vignettes introducing a new scene and characters whose relationships are fertile ground for Lahiri's impressive powers of observation. In a museum, for instance, sunlight refracted through the glass roof "brightens and darkens the room in turns. It's a panorama that makes me think of the sea, of swimming in a clear blue patch underwater." Throughout, Lahiri's poetic flourishes and spare, conversational prose are on full display. This beautifully written portrait of a life in passage captures the hopes, frustrations, and longings of solitude and remembrance. (May)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Literature
Publisher Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group2021
Language English
ISBN 9780593318324