The Namesake, Week 4

Welcome to the final discussion of The Namesake

How did you feel after reading the last chapter? The last section was really somber, wasn't it? The story didn't go the way I expected it to at all. 

Obviously, Gogol and Moushumi's relationship is the main focus of this last section. I felt like their relationship changed immediately after they were married. Why do you think that is? I think I first noticed signs of trouble when the pair went to Paris. It seemed like Moushumi didn't like sharing that part of herself with Gogol--or at least being there made her long for the life she had there before. At least Gogol gets to see interesting things, even though he doesn't seem to have an overly great time in Paris. He mentions going to The Picasso Museum, and the Luxembourg Gardens, and Musee d'Orsay. Which of those places do you think you'd like to visit? I don't know if I could choose--they all seem magnificent. 

Their relationship also seems incredibly strained when they eat with Astrid and Donald. Gogol seemed so uncomfortable with them, and they are still so connected to her former fiance. When she talks to Astrid and Donald, Moushumi acts like Gogol is not good enough for her. And, she totally betrays him when she tells everyone that he was born Gogol. I felt like she completely crossed the line by sharing that intimate detail about him with everyone. 

The chapter about Moushumi's affair and deception was really heartbreaking. I hated that Gogol had no idea what was going on. I felt like I enjoyed Moushumi as a character, but once she decided to meet Dmitri, I lost all respect for her. Were you surprised that she actually reached out to him? Did you guess that she was capable of such deception? Did you feel incredibly sad for Gogol the whole time you were reading? I think one of the most sad things was that Gogol discovered the deception after deciding to take a trip with her and after buying all of that food and the book. He really was trying, and she completely ruined everything. 

In the last chapter, Ashima is putting together the last dinner party she'll host in her home. She creates so many delicious sounding dishes, and she seemingly does it with ease. If you'd like to create some of the dishes she made, check out this recipe for lamb croquettes or this recipe for lamb korma

At the end of the book, Gogol is finally willing and able to read the book his father left him. It seems like he finally comes to terms with his namesake and the legacy of his parents. Do you think he's only able to do that after the death of his father? Don't you think his father's death really softened him? Did you wish the book ended with more concrete details about what would happen to Gogol? Do you think he'll find love again? What do you think will happen with his family? 

How did you feel when you finished reading? Were you sad to be finished with the characters? Did the book stick with you once you were finished reading? I definitely found myself thinking about the story a lot after I was finished. The book is just so deep--so many topics to consider. Do you think you might check out more of Jhumpa Lahiri's work after reading this book? If you're looking for more books with similar themes, check out this list I created. Please make sure to let me know if you check out anything on the list. 

Before you go, check out the video below in which Jhumpa Lahiri talks with the director of the movie version, Mira Nair. 

Thanks so much for following along with us this month. I can't wait to hear your final thoughts in the comments section. And, I hope you'll join us again next month as we read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.